I never thought I'd be quoting Micheal Ray Richardson, but the ship be sinking.
The good news is that USRowing could put all the pieces back together quickly after 2012. We have a lot of young talent, but the structure needs to be reestablished. The team needs new leadership, and not just from the coaches, but from USRowing. USRowing needs to be cleaned out. All of them. New energy and talent must be brought in. The athletes are there; it's the organization that's letting them down.
If the organization isn't cleaned out, it'll be a long time before we see consistent good results again. We may have successful flukes, but on the whole the results will be inconsistent and poor. It will be difficult to retain athletes, and even fewer athletes will take the plunge and decide to continuing rowing after college when their buddies are moving into the real world, and starting careers and families.
The disaster that's unfolding here has been, easily, a decade in the making. Teti may have been heavy handed (and I'm certainly not one of his biggest fans), but he created a stable predictable environment where the standard was high and most people understood what it took to be fast. I'm not advocating that we wholesale return to that, but there are hallmarks we can take from what Teti was creating.
(1) Pick a training location and make people go there. Don't change it. If Chula Vista is it. Fine. Have all the coaches, and all the athletes there. It's not essential that the lightweights be at the same place as well, but it can be beneficial having them in close proximity. Make the benefits of being in the "camp" out weight the negatives. People should be desperate to get the invite.
(2) Build boats around individuals, don't pick a priority boat and then try to fit individuals into it. If you have two great athletes, maybe they should be in the pair together. Give them time to develop. The fastest boats aren't the ones that you picked three months before the worlds because you have a new big erg in camp and you want to stuff him into the mix. The fastest boats are the ones who have been rowing together for years. At the same time make sure those individuals continue to prove themselves periodically (not daily or even weekly -- the internal evaluation events must be known well in advance).
(3) Fund fewer top athletes with more money. Make it transparent what they are getting, and why they are getting it. Reward success.
(4) Run the camp year round with automatic selection from Fall and spring speed orders, and erg standards throughout the year. If you pull sub-6, invite the individual, maybe they can't row, the worst that happens is that you send them home.
(5) Make the national team testing mandatory again if you want a camp invite (I wouldn't make it mandatory for trials boats -- they've chosen their path). For everyone. Not every month, but the camp guys need to pull and post them just like everyone else. Make the camp guys all race at Speed orders. They need to be out there showing everyone where the bar is.
(6) Can the NSRs. Move trials to the first or second weekend in May. That gives people enough time to get on the water (let's be honest, if you're committed to making the team, you need to find a way to row as close to year round as possible) and still gives you 3 to 4 weeks before the first world cup. Allow the winners of trials in olympic categories to be able to go to any one of the world cups they want to expenses paid. Encourage everyone to go to as many world cups as possible. Those who are worried about what will happen to the camp athletes who don't make a big boat but are cut out of trials (because they wouldn't know they are out of the mix until the middle of July), fear not. If the fastest two guys in the camp are focusing on the pair, they'll go to trials and get selected for the pair in May. If two guys didn't make the eight and they think they want to throw together a pair -- tough $h!t, if you're throwing together a pair at the last minute, you probably weren't going to do well at worlds anyways.
(7) Move the naming of the camp boats to one week after the final world cup ends (right now it's two weeks), roughly the third weekend in July. If you need another two weeks to figure it out, you're not going to, or you're over thinking it. I think one more week to try things out and maybe get in a final seat race or two is already pushing it. I mean seriously, you'd have all year to work with these guys.
There are a couple of ideas for starters.
Some say that he once pulled a 5:56 2k arms and back only, and that his erg does float. All we know is that he's called The Stig.