Heading into the weekend we have heard of at least five teams that have had to cancel racing this weekend due to Covid protocols or outbreaks, including all three Stanford squads (open and light women, men's heavyweights), the Alabama women, the Syracuse women, and the UMass women. Larger regattas are also adjusting schedules and seeding constantly due to shifting team racing roster sizes and resultant scratches and additions.
As a result, the 'Big Row' between Stanford and Cal has been canceled, the Stanford lights withdrew from WIRA, Alabama will not attend the Longhorn Invite, and the Syracuse women will miss their race with Penn, Princeton, and Tennessee, and UMass will not attend the Women's Sprints.
In truth, Covid cases have been affecting racing all spring; every weekend we have heard of individuals who were unable to race and crews that have had to scratch due to Covid protocols. This most often affects the 'lower boats' as athletes move up from those crews into crews with missing rowers, which allows teams to go race without having to cancel so the outward impact of the protocols is not as obvious, but it has been happening every weekend.
In particular, these last couple weeks of the regular season are critical for athletes and teams to stay healthy, and especially to try to stay Covid-free. It is one thing for an athlete, crew, or even entire team to miss a race early in the regular season, and another entirely to cancel at a season-ending championship or qualifier regatta. Even this last big weekend of racing will have implications, as late-season results are weighted more heavily than early season results, and some critical matchups will not happen or be compromised.
Readers probably saw the increased Covid protocols and request for assistance from the NERC and Women's Sprints regatta organizers this weekend, and the rest of the country should probably take heed and all of us tamp things down a bit. Since most of those events also require travel on buses and planes as well as hotel stays, it might not take much before there is a situation where athletes are losing yet another season to Covid.