the High Performance Committee
For the last four years, I have worked with USRowing’s High Performance Committee as an Athlete Representative. My role as an Athlete Rep is to facilitate communication between USRowing athletes and administrators in the pursuit of excellence at the World Championships and Olympic Games. The HPC is tasked with developing strategies to select and support our National Team programs — from distributing Direct Athlete Support (funding) and Elite Athlete Health Insurance, to designing the selection procedures for the National, Pan-Am, and Olympic Teams, to arranging support plans and calendars for coaches and staff. We focus exclusively on the needs of the U23 and Senior Teams to win World and Olympic medals (the Junior National Team and Para Rowing Teams have separate performance committees).
Selection to the HPC
Every four years, USRowing holds elections for various Board and Committee positions. Elections for the HPC positions occur at the end of the post-Olympic year. Elections are open to the USRowing athlete pool – including any and all athletes that have represented the US on a National or Olympic Team in the past ten years. I was first elected to the HPC by my peers in 2009 and was re-elected in 2013.
Who is the HPC?
The HPC is a group of National Team alumni/-ae who are committed to supporting and improving the National Team athlete experience via their experience and expertise in the sport. We meet periodically to stay current on the progress of the Teams, and also to go over changes to procedures or strategies. We work under the direction of our co-chairs Christine Collins and Bruce Ibbetson, as well as our High Performance Director, Curtis Jordan and High Performance Manager, Matt Imes.
What I get up to:
KEEPING EVERYONE IN THE LOOP
this goes both ways. It’s my job to keep athletes updated on proposed changes to procedural or support strategies so they can submit ideas and feedback. It’s also part of my job to communicate with USRowing coaches and administrators about how current policies and structure are working with our athlete pool.
it doesn’t happen often, but sometimes conversations between coaches and athletes are not pleasant. If at any time an athlete or a coach feels it would be helpful or safer to have a third-party participant in a tough meeting, it’s my job to be there. In these cases, it is also my responsibility to have a good handle on the facts of athletes’ rights and responsibilities in order to best support their needs.
GETTING ATHLETES WHAT THEY NEED
the most important thing the HPC can do is to continue to ensure the success of our top athletes by providing them with the resources they need. From support staff, to funding, to training camps, to competent coaching staff, it’s our job to get these things to our athletes. If something is missing, it’s my job to help identify it, and then make it happen.
NEGOTIATING ATHLETE BENEFITS
the system for awarding Direct Athlete Support has been inconsistent during my years on the Team. As criteria come and go and stipend amounts change, it is my job to make sure that amounts awarded to individuals are in line with outlined standards, performance, and experience in order to create a stable and consistent system of evaluation and compensation.
FAIRNESS & RACING REP
during domestic selection regattas, USRowing requires at least one athlete representative to sit on the fairness committee which deals with the situational calamities of racing (inclement weather policy, misadventure, lane seeding, etc.). Typically I do not undertake this role as I am often racing in said regattas (which constitutes a conflict of interest).
NOTHING IS MORE IMPORTANT TO ME THAN THE RIGHTS AND NEEDS OF USROWING ATHLETES. If at any time, any athlete has any concerns regarding their selection, their benefits, or their status with USRowing coaches or staff, please contact me. If an athlete is not comfortable coming to me, there are several additional Athlete Representatives in the system on the HPC, the USOC’s Athlete Advisory Committee and the USRowing Board of Directors.