The trials are over a two-kilometre distance, based on the Grand League Regatta Series format, with heats and finals on Saturday for singles and pairs, and bigger boats trialling on Sunday.
In all 39 seniors and 61 juniors have been invited to the March trial, though athletes not taking part in the trial who produce exceptional performances throughout the year at Skibbereen Regatta, Cork Regatta or the Irish Championships, will also be assessed at the discretion of the High Performance Director for international representation.
Athletes seeking selection to represent Ireland in senior and U23 lightweight crew boats have a certain weight restriction to adhere to, 72.5kg for men and 59kg for women (this being the crews’ average weight). Athletes taking part in the trial must also submit a two-kilometre ergometer (rowing machine) test score.
Three of the Rio 2016 Team are continuing to show form throughout the routine trialling process; the O’Donovan brothers and Sanita Puspure, as well as Shane O’Driscoll and Mark O’Donovan of Skibbereen, who were fourth in last year’s world championships in the lightweight men’s pair.
All are looking ahead keenly to the first international event of the season, World Cup One in Belgrade in nine weeks’ time.
Concurrently, Rowing Ireland recently announced details of the recruitment process for the role of HP Director, resulting from the departure of Morten Espersen at the end of January.
The role is an opportunity for a suitably experienced and qualified individual to lead a successful Olympic team programme through to Tokyo 2020 and in conjunction with major stakeholder, Sport Ireland, Rowing Ireland is seeking applications from all interested candidates up to Friday March 17th.
However, Espersen will continue to work closely with lead coaches Dominic Casey and Sean Casey for the next three months to ensure the Irish HP programme continues to go from strength to strength.
There is also the possibility of Espersen continuing in a consultancy role beyond the end of April.
Meanwhile, the “Get Going…Get Rowing” programme continues to go from strength to strength with the inaugural Limerick “Blitzit 2017” yesterday at the University of Limerick sports arena.
Over 600 individual participants took part in this event which was hosted in conjunction with Limerick Sports Partnership.
Racing took the same format as the other Get Going…Get Rowing Blitz events with teams of five racing over 2,000m in a fun and interactive relay-style event.
Teams from the GGGR programme in Carlow, Dublin and Galway also travelled, with these teams having worked hard in their respective schools since early in the new year.
The fastest girls’ team were presented with the Ailish Sheehan Challenge Cup and the fastest boys’ team the Arthur O’Brien Cup, in memory of members of the rowing community who were instrumental to men and women’s rowing in Limerick clubs.
Ailish died tragically in September 2016 just days after winning a Bronze medal at the World University Games in Poznan, Poland.
Get Going…Get Rowing was launched in Limerick city last October when 32 transition year students from nine Limerick schools trained to be indoor rowing coaches.
They returned to their respective schools in the city and county and coached the first and second years on basic rowing skills and technique, supported by newly recruited community coaches.
“Try Rowing” which is part of Limerick Sports partnership VIP program was facilitated by Pat McInerney, who is Rowing Ireland’s Limerick-based Coach Education officer.
Limerick Sports partnership has a long tradition of linking schools and sport and this has proven to be essential in rolling out both programmes, using knowledge, expertise and resources to inspire and encourage students and teachers to roll out rowing in schools.
The Get Going…Get Rowing programme had over 15,500 students rowing in 2016.
GGGR co-ordinator Michelle Carpenter believes that there are massive benefits to giving students the opportunity to try another sport that may not have been traditionally offered in schools, none more so than in Limerick.
Limerick is a city where the river has always had huge importance and it is great to be able to offer a sport that uses this natural amenity. The city has six strong rowing clubs and the programme aims to work closely with them and give energetic young people a pathway to their doors.
Limerick Clubs were present at the Blitz in UL to allow students to easily find information on joining a club or attending a camp.