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  • 2014 Midwest Clinicians Meeting in Moline, Ill.

    The photo is of the Midwest Clinicians and the presentation of a crystal vase to Larry Tolle for becoming an Emeritus Referee. Photo courtesy of Roger Frederick.

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  • Boathouse Referee Gear

    Ladies and Gentlemen,
    Please forward the gear store Web link onto your area referees, the goal is to close it by April 7th, so we have produce and ship your gear out by the 28th of April. This store contains a very special onetime offer of a GORE-TEX Suit, which we won’t be able to offer again. So I want to have everyone in on this deal. ($199.00) It will go back to the normal combination price of $350. So please copy and paste this link and send onward.

    Thank you for your help!
    Kirk Beckman
    Rowing Business Manager
    National & International
    Boathouse Sports
    Phone  (800)875-1883 ext. 145
    Fax    (215)425-2068
    Office Hours: 8:30am to 5:00pm EST
    2013-2014 ONLINE CATALOG

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  • Megaphone Weight Loss Plan – Lose Two Pounds in 20 Minutes!

    Have you ever spent hours holding a megaphone at practice or on race day, only to wind up with sore and aching wrists? It is a problem many referees face and that many coaches face as well. Whether it is holding the megaphone for a few hours of technical work or for a whole day as a race marshal, the five or more pounds of dead weight takes its toll.

    This hack removes over two pounds of weight by swapping D batteries for AAs and doesn’t compromise performance or battery longevity. My own AA batteries lasted through 2 years and 40+ race days of heavy use before needing to be replaced. The instructions below take you step by step through making the adaptation for a megaphone purchased at Harbor Freight. As many referees and coaches can attest, this nationwide chain sells one of the cheapest megaphones available. This same battery swap can be made to other megaphone models, but some of the steps may need to be altered based on the design and circuitry of the megaphone.

    Required Supplies

    • Megaphone (Harbor Freight)
    • Small Phillips head screwdriver
    • 9-volt battery snap connector (RadioShack)
    • Electrical tape or heat shrink tubes (RadioShack)
    • Hair dryer or heat gun (if heat shrink tubing is used)
    • Electric wire; Note: red and black wire is preferred, however, having two different colors of wire is not necessary.
    • Soldering iron and solder wire (Home Depot, Harbor Freight, RadioShack, etc.)
    • 8 x AA battery clip (RadioShack)
    • 8 AA batteries
    • Tweezers (optional)

    Open the megaphone battery cover, remove any existing batteries and unscrew the single screw holding the megaphone’s battery housing in place.

    With the screwdriver, puncture a hole into the center of the battery housing. You should be able to feel a soft spot on the top of the housing. This soft spot is where there is only a sticker with no plastic housing underneath. This is where you should be able to puncture the hole.

    Remove the battery housing entirely, being careful not to separate any of the wiring from the rest of the megaphone.

    Take the 9-volt battery snap connector and the electric wire, cut two pieces of wire each approximately 4 inches in length. Prepare both ends of the wire sections by stripping the plastic casing off. If you do not have 2 separate colors of wire, be sure to pay special attention to which wire extension is connected to the red wire on the 9V snap and which is connected to the 9V snap black wire.

    One at a time, wrap the end of the electric wire around one of the 9V snap connector wire ends. With the soldering iron and solder, fuse the extra length of electric wire to the existing 9V snap connector wire ends. If you do not have experience soldering, please enlist someone who does to assist!

    With either electric tape or heat shrink tubes (and a hair dryer/heat gun), cover the newly fused wire sections.

    Feed the newly lengthened wires through the hole in the battery housing. The wires should be fed down through the top of the battery housing so that the snap is above the top of the battery housing.

    Once the wires are pulled all the way through the battery housing (we needed tweezers to reach down far enough to pull them through) line up the wires with the negative and positive leads on the bottom of the megaphone battery housing.

    It is very important that you keep in mind that red = positive, and black = negative. It is equally important that you keep red components paired with other red components and black components paired with black components. Therefore, the red 9V snap wire needs to be lined up with the red lead on the bottom of the megaphone’s battery housing. Same goes for the black 9V snap and black lead.

    Solder the red wire onto the red lead and the black wire onto the black lead, being careful not to disconnect the existing wiring in the process.

    Once the solder has cooled, place the megaphone battery housing back into the megaphone, being careful not to pinch any wires.

    Screw the single screw back into the battery housing

    Insert the 8 AA batteries into the battery clip and then place the battery clip, with snaps facing upwards, into one of the megaphone’s battery slots. Clip the newly attached battery snap to the top of the AA battery clip.

    Close the megaphone and test it to make sure it works!

    When not in use, be sure to keep the battery pack unclipped. This prolongs the life of the batteries, prevents your megaphone from turning on unexpectedly and prolongs the life of the megaphone.

    Did you know that in order to meet growing regatta demand, USRowing is in need of more referees? If you are interested in joining the USRowing Referee Corps, please visit for more information. Refereeing is a great way to stay involved in rowing and give back to the community.

    USRowing Referee Corps
    Electrical Genius & Process Mastermind: Richard Sorensen
    Written by: Mary Carol Madigan

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  • Boathouse Sports Referee Gear

    USRowing and the USRowing Referee Corps continue to use Boathouse Sports as a supplier of team uniforms and Referee equipment. Boathouse will keep the gear store open until March 31, 2014.

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  • Adjusted Weigh-in Window Clarification Language

    The USRowing Referee Committee recognized that the recently promulgated language in Section 4-106 (a) and the definition of "Adjusted Weigh-in Window" in the 2014 Rules of Rowing needed to be clarified. The USRowing Board of Directors approved the following memo earlier this month.

    To: Board of Directors, USRowing
    From: Referee Committee – Tom Fuller, Chair
    RE: Clarification Language – Section 4-106 (a) and “Adjusted Weigh-in Window” definition
    Date: March 8, 2014

    The Referee Committee was contacted by several members of the rowing community about the recently promulgated language for Section 4-106 (a) and the definition of "Adjusted Weigh-in Window." Based on these discussions, it became apparent that the promulgated language might cause some ambiguity. The Committee believes that the promulgated language is correct in both a strict interpretation and intent. However, it has constructed the following Clarification Language to address the potential concern.

    Following USRowing policy, the Committee is submitting this Clarification Language to the Board for approval. After receiving approval from the Board, the Committee, working through the staff at USRowing will distribute the clarifying language to the Referee Corps, the Organizational Members and the General Membership.

    RULE 4-106(a) and “Adjusted Weigh-in Window

    (a) The weight of rowers in lightweight events as described in Rule 4-104.3 (“Lightweights”) shall be determined once each day during the Weigh-in Window. Crews will be weighed in the order that they sit in the boat (bow to stern). Competitors shall be weighed in racing uniform.

    (a) The weight of rowers in lightweight events as described in Rule 4-104.3 (“Lightweights”) shall be determined once each day during the Weigh-in Window. Crews will be weighed in the order that they sit in the boat (bow to stern). Competitors shall be weighed in racing uniform. Rowers who fail to weigh-in during the Weigh-in Window or the Adjusted Weigh-in Window shall be deemed to be ineligible to race.

    (ee) “Weigh-in Window” shall mean the period of time that is no less than one (1) hour and not more than two (2) hours before the Scheduled Time of the first race in which the weight is relevant. If the regatta organizers or race officials adjust or alter the period of time for competitors to weigh-in on a particular race day for compelling reasons, so that the relationship between the Weigh-in Window and the Scheduled Time of the first race is extended or shortened (the “Adjusted Weigh-in Window”), a competitor may weigh-in during the original Weigh-in Window or the Adjusted Weigh-in Window.

    (ee) “Weigh-in Window” shall mean the period of time that is no less than one (1) hour and not more than two (2) hours before the Scheduled Time of the first race in which the weight is relevant.

    (ff) “Adjusted Weigh-in Window”

    Should the regatta organizers or race officials adjust or alter the racing schedule for compelling reasons, changing the amount of time between the Weigh-in Window and the newly scheduled race time, an Adjusted Weigh-in Window shall be created. The Adjusted Weigh-in Window shall be no less than one (1) hour and not more than two (2) hours before the newly scheduled race time. When an Adjusted Weigh-in Window is created due to a scheduling change, a competitor may weigh-in during either the original Weigh-in Window or the Adjusted Weigh-in Window, provided the competitor completes their weigh-in prior to the newly scheduled race time and on the same day as the newly scheduled race time.

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  • Philadelphia Regional Referee Academy

    Camden County Boathouse was the scene for the latest Philadelphia Regional Referee Academy on Sunday, March 4, 2014.

    Eight new Candidates were presented with both classroom and hands-on referee training. The program, organized by Rich Dougert, included discussions on the steps needed to become a referee as well as the Life Cycle of a Referee. USRowing’s John Wik, Director of Referee Programs, presented information on the structure of the National USRowing Referee Corps, Insurance issues for Referees, and SafeSport. Hands-on training included general launch handling as well as demonstrations of Control Commission, the Start, Launch Position and the Finish.

    The eight new Candidates included: Joe Eble, Joe Laskowski, Nancy Lauby, Emily Lavender, Chris Rorer, Steve Wahalen, and Nancy Walen. Patrick DeDeyne, a new Assistant Referee, also attended. Look for them working regattas on the Schuylkill River, the Cooper River, and in the Mid-Atlantic region.

    Thanks to Rich Dougert, Kate Godwin, John Musial, Mike Murphy, Dennis Smith and Ann and Craig Miller for providing the training at this successful Candidate Program.

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  • Marcus McElhenney Joins USRowing Referee Committee

    U.S. Olympic coxswain to serve as Athlete Representative

    PRINCETON, N.J. — USRowing is pleased to announce that 2008 Olympic coxswain Marcus McElhenney has been appointed as the Athlete Representative to the USRowing Referee Committee. McElhenney replaces U.S. National Team coxswain Joe Manion on the committee, effective March 1, 2014.

    In addition to coxing the U.S. men’s eight to a bronze medal in Beijing, McElhenney’s international U.S. team highlights include winning gold in the eight at the 2011 Pan American Games and gold in the pair with coxswain at the 2009 World Rowing Championships.

    "I’m very excited and happy to be joining the Referee Committee, “said McElhenney. “With this position, I plan on serving and giving back to the greater rowing community in any way possible."

    The Philadelphia native is a graduate of Monsignor Bonner High School, Temple University and the University of San Francisco School of Law. He currently lives and works in the Bay area.

    “With his extensive rowing background, as well as legal training, Marcus brings a unique perspective to the Referee Committee representing the needs of the athletes we serve,” said John Wik, USRowing Director of Referee Programs.

    “We are very pleased to welcome Marcus to the Referee Committee,” said Tom Fuller, Chair of the Referee Committee. “His ongoing involvement within the rowing community, his active presence at many of our events and his interest in learning more about how rowing officials support USRowing’s registered regatta program, as well as collegiate and scholastic rowing, makes Marcus an excellent choice to replace Joe Manion. We look forward to working with Marcus as our Athlete Representative.”

    USRowing is a nonprofit organization recognized by the United States Olympic Committee as the governing body for the sport of rowing in the United States. USRowing has 60,000 individual members and 1,200 member organizations, offering rowing programs for all. USRowing’s official suppliers include Concept 2, Croker Oars, JanSport, Nielsen Kellerman, Vespoli and WinTech. USRowing also receives generous support from the National Rowing Foundation and its corporate sponsors and partners: ANXeBusiness Corp, Boathouse Sports, Citi Women, Connect-A-Dock, EMCVenues, JP Crickets, Ludus Tours and Rudy Project. The USRowing National Team program relies on strong partnerships to enable continued success. New opportunities exist to support the teams through the next quadrennial, culminating with the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. America Rows, which supports diversity in rowing, and the USRowing Para-Rowing programs also benefit from corporate support.

    Additional information may be found at | Twitter: @usrowing | YouTube: | Facebook: | Tumblr:

    Allison Frederick, USRowing Director of Communications, 609.751.0710,

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  • Mid-Atlantic Referee Promotions

    Mid-Atlantic Colleagues,

    Please join me in congratulating:

    Dorothy Lazor
    Cheryl Miller
    Elizabeth Sullivan

    for their completion of the Plenary Referee Exam

    Additionally, please welcome five new Assistant Referees:

    Joanne Fish - Virginia Beach, Va.
    Howard Wolf-Rodda - Bethesda, Md.
    Karen Torres - Mannassas, Va.
    Patrick De Deyne - Princeton, N.J.
    John Little - Virginia Beach, Va.

    Congratulations to all and as we quickly approach racing season, take a moment to clean out your referee bags, change out old batteries and review the rule book.

    These cold snowy days are perfect for doing your safe sport training and completing your back grounds checks.

    As always if anyone has any questions or concerns please let me know.

    John Musial, Mid-Atlantic Referee Coordinator

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  • Living Her Dream and Giving Back to Her Sport

    As Mary Whipple was winding down her long and decorated career as a coxswain on the U.S. national team, the three-time Olympian knew that she wanted to give back to her sport and to the organization she was so much a part of.

    She talked often about running coxswain clinics and developing ways to better teach young coxswains how to be effective members of the teams they lead down the racecourse. But she also wanted to help the referees of USRowing and this winter, she embarked on a coxswain clinic tour that would do both – host clinics where she could teach and let the proceeds go to the USRowing Referee Corps.

    This weekend on March 2, the USRowing Mary Whipple Coxswain Clinic Tour will conclude with the final class at Community Rowing, Inc., in Boston, Mass.  

    “There are two reasons I did these clinics,” said Whipple, who won gold medals at the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games and silver in 2004. “One is, our sport would be nothing without the referees trying to run a safe and fair regatta for everybody. But then, to also kind of change the face of what coxswain education should be like in this country.”

    The clinics have been a success on both scores. Young coxswains from across the country got to learn from one of the best ever to sit in what Whipple calls, “the 9th seat,” and she helped raise $35,000 for USRowing referees.

    “Mary is a dynamic speaker,” said John Wik, USRowing Director of Referee Programs. “She is passionate about rowing and the role of the coxswain. She provides her athlete-students with an understanding of both the mechanics needed to win and successful approaches to motivating a winning crew. The USRowing referee training program has benefited greatly by Mary's willingness to present these clinics."

    And they have helped Whipple shape the direction of next year’s tour, which she plans to run under the flag of her own company “The 9th Seat.”

    “My dream is to hold more clinics, but also to keep developing the clinics to be more applicable to learning from each other, to have more of an exchange of ideas and to develop more of a camaraderie, or a “coxswainhood,” if you want to give it a name.

    “I just want coxswains to have some kind of place where they feel like a community, where they can bounce ideas off of and get support from each other,” she said. “It’s kind of a lonely position if you don’t have support among your teammates or your coaches to grow within the seat. So I love putting these clinics on, because it’s a safe place to exchange ideas and to try to hone the leadership skills of that seat.

    “I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how interactive the clinics have been,” she said. “I’ve given clinics where, it’s just me kind of talking at the attendees. But I wanted to create a space where it’s more free-flowing and more of a conversation, and so I ask a lot of questions that are answerable, no open-ended questions that are hard to answer, and I’ve been presently surprised at how communicative the coxswains have been and how they are just so willing to answer and to ask questions. There are so many coxswains that are just so excited to learn a different way of organizing their team and leading their team down the race course.”

    While the USRowing series will end this weekend, Whipple has plans to hold more clinics this year in the Seattle area and at the San Diego Crew Classic, April 5-6. And she is planning on running two week-long coxswain-specific clinics and a women’s rowing camp at the University of Washington this summer. She also hopes to run clinics in the Midwest.

    For Whipple, running clinics is just one of the many ways she has been filling her time since retiring from international rowing. She is also learning to ski, teaching indoor cycling classes in Seattle and enjoying her time away from attending practices with the U.S. team.

    But she knows that she is nowhere near done with her career in the sport.

    “I would love to coach in college,” she said. “And I know I have a long career in front of me. But I’ve been going to practice for 20 years straight, so not having to go to practice on a day-to-day basis has been very refreshing and rejuvenating.

    “I know that becoming a coach is a lifestyle, and it’s a commitment, and I don’t want to take that lightly. So when I’m ready to go one hundred percent and take on coaching, I can’t wait. Right place. Right time. I know it’s going to happen.”

    There are still available spots for this weekend’s clinic in Boston. For registration information visit,

    To view an International Olympic Committee spotlight video of the Mary Whipple Coxswain Leadership Camps visit,

    For information on upcoming Mary Whipple summer camps visit,

    For upcoming Whipple speaking engagements, visit

    Ed Moran, Olympic banner and page photos courtesy of Ed Hewitt,

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  • USRowing Basic Referee College at Nathan Benderson Aquatic Center

    USRowing Basic Referee College
    Sarasota, Florida – Nathan Benderson Aquatic Center
    February 1 and 2, 2014

    Benderson Aquatic Center in Sarasota, Fla., was the scene of numerous crew collisions, rules infractions and even a swimmer, but it was all intentional as USRowing held its annual Basic Referee College.

    Licensed referees along with several referee candidates from across the country arrived at Benderson to attend three days of intensive training that focused on the Rules of Rowing and the skills needed to officiate. After several hours of classroom instruction on launch placement, the start, alignment, protests and the mechanics of refereeing, the college moved to the water.

    The instructors, Bob Appleyard, John Walker, Mary Carol Madigan, Bob Whitford and John Wik worked with Benderson Development and the Suncoast Aquatic and Nature Center (SANCA) to create a 250-meter sprint course. Two quads and two fours powered by the men’s and women’s varsity teams from Sarasota Crew provided assistance by competing in a series of staged races and controlled mishaps.

    Prior to each race, crews were given instructions to carry out rule infractions, interference or diversions, as part of the training exercise for the referee candidates. Among those presented were breakage in the 100-meter zone, false starts, unsportsmanlike conduct, lane interference and catching a crab with the ejection of an athlete. Each situation was designed to challenge the referee in their ability to interpret and correctly apply the Rules of Rowing. It also tested the ability of the referee to maintain safety and fairness on the racecourse.

    On-the-water simulations were pioneered last year at the Basic Referee College held in Sarasota. Proving to be a very effective approach to referee training, these exercises are becoming a standard part of the Basic Referee College curriculum. With the support of the LOC and the assistance of a skilled varsity crew such as Sarasota, the training is fun and serves an important function in referee education.

    Referees can sign up for next year's Referee College on the Referee Data System, or RDS, under the pull down menu entitled: “Manage My Clinics”. Three colleges will be offered: Basic – for newer referees and candidates, who want to hone their skills; Chief – for referees who manage the jury, need to understand the relationship between the LOC and the referee, and need to understand the protest process; and Advanced – for referees who want to take their skills to the next level.

    Article and video by Susan Smith

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