Each winter, the gym at TC Williams High School is filled with rows of brand new, just out of the box Concept 2 ergs for the Mid Atlantic Erg Sprints…and a whole lot of hope. Hope of setting a PR, which stands for Personal Record for those just getting into crew lingo. You’ll find hope of setting a school, state, event, national or possibly even setting a new world record, which happens more often than you would expect. And then there’s the hope that your legs will have the ability to stand after you’ve left every ounce of strength, sweat and stamina on the seat of that erg.
Hope is bountiful on that day, and this year the day is Saturday, February 2nd.
Registration is open to compete and volunteer for the Mid Atlantic event, but it closes January 20th. This event is voluntary for Woodbridge Crew varsity, novice and students currently in winter conditioning hoping to make this year’s team. Parents are allowed and encouraged to participate as well, and there’s a specific category for student and parent teams to compete.
According to the website, there will be a very limited number of seats available in the Bullpen for the 2,000m events only. Doors will open for competitors at 7:30AM.
The Mid Atlantic Erg Sprints will have the usual 2,000 meter events along with traditional Erg Sprints events: marathon, half-marathon, 20-minute junior and 30-minute open/masters rows, 500 meter sprints, relays, parent/child and kids rows. Find the full list of events on RegattaCentral.
Two weeks later on February 16th the Prince William County Erg Sprints take place at Forest Park High School under the same concept, but limited to students within Prince William County.
If you’ve never been to an indoor event like this it can get intense. Rowing can be a team or individual sport, but at the Mid Atlantics thousands of people from across the east coast and more than ten countries come to compete alone. As alone as you can be surrounded by a gym full of others competing alone.
According to the media guide, T.C. Williams coach Mike Penn and Booster president Kitty Porterfield created Erg Sprints to break up monotonous winter training back in 1986. With the help of volunteers and support from Concept2, the Erg Sprints have become the largest indoor rowing competition for juniors.
To give you an idea of what it can be like, here’s a SIX HOUR video from last year’s indoor championships to sample. If you jump around throughout the video you’ll see everyone from middle school novices to 94-year-old masters competing against the clock, the rower to their left and right, and themselves.
The Woodbridge Coaches encourage our rowers to compete in events like the Mid Atlantics and Prince Willaim County Erg Sprints to keep them motivated, give them a goal and build some bonds together while learning more about what #crewlife is all about.