SA Athletes shine
South Africa shines during the 2019 World Virtual Indoor Sprints Regatta
By Reece McDonald: USSA-Rowing Indoor Rowing Coordinator
The World Virtual Indoor Sprints is an annual indoor rowing event, hosted by World Rowing and Concept 2. It challenges athletes of any ability to perform a 1000m effort, as fast as they can and participants then submit their times via the Concept 2 logbook, or via an excel document if they attended an event. This year the event took place between the 6-10 March, with athletes from all over the world taking part.
South Africa performed exceptionally well at this year's event. As a whole, the country came 5th in terms of the overall number of people to enter the World Rowing Virtual Indoor Sprints. USSA-Rowing, the body responsible for university rowing in South Africa, entered 263 of South Africa’s 289 entries and was the driving force behind the country’s participation. This year it was excellent to see clubs such as Victoria Lake Rowing Club, schools and a number of traditionally non-rowing entities taking part in this year’s entry.
Specifically, to university rowing, there were some blisteringly fast times this year.
A congratulations to the following athletes for setting new university records:
Kaylin broke the record by 8 seconds!
Two athletes broke the record broken here with a special mention going to Dimitri Xides from UJ pulling a 03:03.72.
The new record was placed by Murray Bales-Smith from Rhodes, beating the one which he already held, in a time of 03:03.08!
Michelle broke the record of a previous UJ rower, which has stood since 2017!
In the heavyweight men's category, there were some times close to the record, although nobody managed to crack it.
There is enormous potential for growth for this event outside of the university, schools and club rowing setups. CrossFit centers and gyms, in fact anyone from anywhere, can take part and enter. The fantastic part about Indoor Rowing is that anyone can do it, you just need an ergo. In addition to this, there is no entry fee or cost involved.
Indoor Rowing, for those who are not aware, is an official sport. There is a World Championships hosted each year and is a fantastic event to highlight the world’s talent. As we have seen from the results this year, South Africa has the potential to send a competitive team to the World Championships in the future!
A huge well done must go out to all the clubs and their athletes again!
We look forward to next year's event and what it will bring to South African Rowing.