The Student News Site of Alexandria City High School

Theogony

The Student News Site of Alexandria City High School

Theogony

The Student News Site of Alexandria City High School

Theogony

Erg Sprints 2019

2019+Erg+Sprints+in+action.+Photo+courtesy+of+Alexandria+Crew+Boosters.
2019 Erg Sprints in action. Photo courtesy of Alexandria Crew Boosters.

Caroline Surratt and Caroline Miles

Over the course of the day there were 1000 rowers competing, over 300 cheering spectators, 200+ volunteers and 160 ergs. Sweat, pain and dedication all went in to the the 34th Annual Erg Sprints in the T.C. Williams gymnasium.

The first Erg Sprints took place in 1986 and was started by T.C. crew coaches Mike Penn and Crew Booster President Kitty Porterfield as a way to motivate T.C. rowers during the winter conditioning season. The first erg sprints took place at George Washington Middle School with only 30 ergs and self timers. The event has grown substantially and now takes place in the much bigger T.C. gym with 160 ergometers and scoreboards that track the race results as the race is in progress. Last year was the first World Erg Sprints where competitors came from China, Germany, Great Britain and many more countries around the world. Three world records were set last year.

In preparation for the event, T.C.’s Crew team volunteers to build and set up 160 ergs and prepare the gym for the many visitors coming from all over the mid-Atlantic. Local schools, other than T.C. partake in erg sprints such as Gonzaga, Bishop Ireton, as well as colleges such as the United States Naval Academy. It takes up to ten hours total to set up and take down everything for the event.

The event transformed the cafeteria into a registration area and as a home base for teams that come from all over the coast, every table full with competitors and supporters. The hallways were filled with pop-up shops selling t-shirts, sweatshirts and even jewelry.

There were 212 events where participants would race on the rowing machines. Age determines which heat you are in for your event. The events would either have a set number of meters to row or a set amount of time. The events with the set number of meters were where participants would “race” to see who would finish the number of meters the fastest and the events with a set number of time have participants see how many meters that can pull in the set amount if time, whoever pulls the most meters wins.

One of the most popular events is the 2000 (2k) meter event, a fast paced event which is commonly described as eight minutes of pain. T.C. Senior Blythe Markel won her 2k event. The longest event offered was the marathon where competitors row 42,195 meters requiring an excessive amount of endurance. T.C. Senior rower Elspeth Collard reflects on her last erg sprints saying, “[It was] a very organized event, a great way to round up 5 years on the team.”

Participants were as young as kindergarteners and as old as 92. Para-rowing events were also offered for people with visual impairments, mental disabilities or physical disabilities. Lisa Ciczar, the erg sprints coordinator, said “I think it is exciting to see no matter what skill level, everyone can do it.”

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Erg Sprints 2019