For decades, C.R.A.S.H.-B. Sprints in Boston has been the home of winter indoor racing, gaining the moniker of World Indoor Rowing Championships within just a few years of its founding in 1980. So it came as a suprise in August when C.R.A.S.H.-B. Sprints – in a low-profile social media post – announced that the World Indoor Rowing Championships would be moving to Virginia in 2018.
Now, just three month later, rowing’s international governing body, the International Rowing Federation (FISA), has announced that it will bring the championship under its own umbrella of events beginning in 2018, partnering with USRowing, Concept2, and Erg Sprints.
“Participation in indoor rowing at an elite and competitive level has been skyrocketing in recent years, and it is time to give the sport an official championship status,” said Jean-Christophe Rolland, FISA President.
FISA’s association with the event prompts a subtle, but important, name change from the World Indoor Rowing Championships, to the World Rowing Indoor Championships.
Erg Sprints was approached to host the 2018 event based on its 32-year history of coordinating top-quality, successful indoor racing. One of the first satellite races for C.R.A.S.H.-B. Sprints, Erg Sprints was planned by T.C. Williams High School Crew Boosters with the help of Dick and Peter Dreissigacker, the brothers behind Concept2.
Once a small fundraiser, Erg Sprints has grown into the largest juniors indoor rowing event – and the second largest indoor rowing competition – in the world. In 2017, Erg Sprints hosted over 1,800 athletes from 132 clubs, and the 2018 Erg Sprints | World Rowing Indoor Championships are expected to draw more than 2,500 competitors.
“We are excited to welcome the world to Alexandria and T.C. Williams High School. The World Rowing events being run in conjunction with our traditional races will give rowers at all skill levels, from novice to elite, an opportunity to experience competition on an international stage,” said Lisa Zickar, event organizer.
Training at Potomac Boat Club just up river from T.C. Williams, Emily Schmieg has placed first in the Erg Sprints Open Womens Lightweight 2000m event three of the past four years and plans to race at the 2018 Erg Sprints | World Rowing Indoor Championships.
Schmieg, who also took bronze in the Lightweight Women’s double sculls at the 2017 World Rowing Championships, and gold in the same event at the 2017 U.S. Senior and Para World Championships, said “It’s not an event myself nor my coaches would let me sit out. The timing of Erg Sprints | World Rowing Indoor Championships does make it a good race for testing speed mid-way through the winter and depending on how it goes gives me feedback on what areas still need to be worked on.”
While indoor rowing has long been used as an off-season (and oft-loathed) training tool, the erg has gained prominence in gyms, training studios, and CrossFit boxes everywhere.
“The erg and I have a love/hate relationship, but there is no denying its usefulness both in terms of technique and physical fitness,” said Schmieg. “Four years ago you pretty much had to pay me to sit down and erg, but now a days I do see it as a very helpful training tool. I spent a lot of time on the erg this past year and had a very successful season. I want to see just how fast I can go on it. Going sub 7 would really be the ultimate feat for me.”
The Erg Sprints | World Rowing Indoor Championships will host racing opportunities for juniors, collegiate, open, masters, and para athletes. Although competitors do not have to qualify to earn an entry, Concept2 will provide airfare to Washington, D.C. for up to four qualifiers from each of 19 satellite events.
More information about the 2018 Erg Sprints | World Rowing Indoor Championships