This is a very common arrangement in figure skating. We, the fans, don't always see it because a lot of time only the main coach is mentioned, but many elite skaters are working with assistants and specialists as needed throughout the season. It's really not as crazy as it seems in these articles.
However, the articles have mentioned Charlie Tickner and he teaches at the Redwood City rink so that is at least 3 rinks. At least the RC one is quite close to Stanford. Lots of Stanford skaters practice there.
I hope Rachael's not too hard on herself. I'm sure most successful people know what it's like to take on too much and implode a little bit. She's at a good age to learn her limits, but it's a shame that so many people are watching. Sometimes, simply working/trying harder is not the answer.
victoriaheidi's argument loses logic because one of the things on Rachael's plate is being an elite level athlete. I was the busy sort as an undergrad. Full 16-18 hour loads every semester, three majors, enough extracurriculars that I had multiple meetings and rehearsals every week day and some Saturdays (newspaper staff, marching and concert band, theatre crews, plus committees and honor societies), a social life, church activities, and two campus jobs. And I got strong grades. But comparing those schedule demands to the demands of training as an Olympic level athlete is not realistic and I wouldn't pretend it is comparable. And, yes, college athletes compete at a high level and have academic demands. But at Division I universities, they also have an entire support system that Rachael does not have access to and their training facilities are on campus.
I think that Rachael needs to make some hard choices. I don't think she can do Stanford and full time competitive skating, both well. If she's not ready to give up competitive skating than she should go to college later (there's nothing wrong with that). If she's not ready to give up college she should give up competitive skating for now. Or at the last (only do Nationals, maybe worlds). The thing is she can easily take a year or two off skating and make a wrong for Sochi awhile from now...If she wants.
Not to mention a lot of universities scholarship athletes don't take the hardest of classes...But at Division I universities, they also have an entire support system that Rachael does not have access to and their training facilities are on campus.
I don't think a bunch of extra curricular activities are the same as Olympic level training.1. I think, as much as Rachael wants to skate right now, her future is uber-important to her and she wants the connections that she'll make at Stanford. Sure, a transfer can make those connections too, but that brings me to my next point.
2. I took 5 APs in HS. Rachael took 7 (based on some articles I read. Brief aside: I got a lot more AP credit than she did. Bummer for her). She got straight A's. She worked hard. I know because I worked hard, too-I got nearly straight A's (math and science, you evil subjects!)-and, even with work, school, extracurriculars and all, she had to work a million times harder. And when you're in this for an education and you get into a school like Stanford or Harvard or one of those schools very few people get into, it would probably feel really crummy to say, "yay! I got into Stanford, but I'll be at Broadmoor Community College (or whatever the local CC is) for two years. Why did I work my butt so hard when I could've just gone there?" This applies only if the person can afford the top school, which I doubt was a major factor in her case (she probably got a few scholarships along the way, too).
3. I think she likes this level of activity. I juggle a lot of activities ATM (school, work, sorority, family, extracurriculars, etc.) and I'm happy that I have so much going on in my life. Is it stressful? Yes. I've had essentially one midterm a week every week this semester. I'm taking 5 classes for 16 units and I realize now that this is more than I should be taking. So I'll cut back next semester. But do I like being busy and having things to do and being able to pursue more than just one thing at once? Yes! I can't imagine just being one thing. I think I'd get too burned out if I were just doing schoolwork, too absorbed if my whole life were about my sorority, and get sick of my family if they were the only people I ever saw. I think Rachael's the same way. I attribute her injury last season to the fact that she was only focusing on skating and NOTHING else.
However, even at my small college that didn't even compete in NCAA, athletes whose seasons were essentially in one semester often tried to take their harder course work in the opposite term. I'm sure Division I athletes do that as much as possible as well. Not to mention having access to tutoring, study halls, and other support. They also have help juggling academics and sports on the road. When the D-I volleyball Final Four was in the area a few years ago, the local press reported that there was a place at the official hotel for players to study and take exams because most universities were at or near finals week. Those are advantages Rachael doesn't have.
Elite athletes train like it's a job. I had a job in college but most years it was on campus and I could make my own hours and I think I usually worked about 10 hours a week. Elite skating is more like working outside of campus for 20+ a week and you have less choice over your hours. I think it can be done but it's hard especially if your academic track is super-demanding.
A lot of elite skaters go to college, but they don't take a full load. They may take nothing in the Fall or they take 50-75% of a full load and they make up for it with summer classes and then take more than 4 years to graduate. I think that works better than what Rachael is trying to do.
It all makes me wonder what's going through that little girl's head...
Rachel's 'training' is not CLOSE to her campus especially when you factor in the traffic. Not to mention "road trips" to Boston for "charity shows"etc...(I admit the "wisdom" of "let's fly to Boston for a Chairty show" in this scheduled seems strange to me. I know it's for a "good cause" but trying to pretend "I can do everything I have always done" seems strange)
Here's a quote by Flatt after her Skate Canada FS:
"That performance can be attributed to not being quite trained yet and not having that confidence in my training and my long so far," said the 19-year-old. "I need to trust my training a bit more and rely on my experience more. I am a seasoned competitor. That, unfortunately, didn't show in my skating here. I'll learn from it and move on. We all have tough performances, and that was pretty tough. I'll be better."
As macmadame points out, a lot of skaters before have done part time school. Alissa Ciszny combined on-campus coursework with online classes which would have given her a lot more flexibility. We also didn't read stories about her on campus social life and adventures attending football games, etc... Rachael is trying to have it all and all at the same time. I understand wanting a full college experience, but she very well may have to choose between that and skating if she wants to compete on a high level.