There are many excellent coxswains, especially at the D1 level. But what do you think separates an Olympic level coxswain from the many excellent D1 varsity coxswains?
I agree, there are a lot of excellent D1 coxswains. I think one thing that separates them is nothing more than a desire to go to that next level. Some coxswains/athletes want to push themselves harder and compete at the elite level and some are content finishing out their college careers and moving on to grad school, jobs, life, etc. Pursuing the Olympic team requires a lot of sacrifice, physically (obviously), emotionally, socially, financially, etc. so it takes a certain kind of personality and mentality I think to commit oneself to that.
The other thing, just in terms of skill, how well you’re able to execute the basics (i.e. managing practice, executing a race strategy, etc.) is another thing that separates the two. Obviously the top collegiate coxswains are great at this but if you look at trying out for the Olympic team as “leveling up”, the coxswains that are doing that are just so on point with everything they do. Their focus is even more lasered in, their execution is even more precise, etc.