2019 World Rowing Indoor Championships features top para racing
The 2019 World Rowing Indoor Championships got under way in Long Beach, California, USA with para-rowers opening the event and showing what can be achieved.
Categories included PR1, PR2 and PR3, indicating the disability classification, and racing was over 2000m which is now the standard on-water racing distance for para-rowers.
The PR3 men’s event It was neck and neck between Milan Lackovic of Slovakia and Sean Gaffney of Great Britain. Gaffney owns the World Record in this event (6:28.3), but it was Lackovic who held a slight lead. Then Gaffney picked it up and using a 1:39 pace he pushed into the lead. Lackovic reacted back and went to 1:40. Lakovic was at 27 strokes per minute with Norbert Polyak of Hungary fitting into Gaffney’s rhythm. Gaffney then got a slight edge. Gaffney picked up the pace as was at a 1:35 coming into the final sprint as Lackovic looked like he was running out of steam. Polyak came through in third.
Gaffney: “Before indoor rowing I did distance running and adventure racing. In 2016 I started indoor rowing. Today the start was a bit off so my first stroke, which is the most important, I messed up. So I overcompensated and went too hard early on. My goal then was to stay ahead of Milan. We’ll see each other again in Paris next year.”
Results: Gaffney 6:29.0, Lackovic 6:32.2, Polyak 7:15.1
The women’s PR3 was incredibly tight across the field. Out in front a little was Alexandra Reilly of the United States and Danielle Hansen also of the US. Hansen and Reilly race together on-water in the PR3 mixed coxed four. They finished with silver at the 2018 World Rowing Championships. There was also Greta Muti of Italy right with the group. Settling into a 1:51 pace, Reilly remained just in front. Then Muti tried to close with a 1:52 pace. The margins remained closed and at the line it was Reilly with the gold. Reilly had set a new World Record.
Reilly: “I’ve raced at the CRASH-Bs but never at these championships. I race on the water for the University of Rhode Island so we’re training inside at present (on indoor rowing machines) but I didn’t do any specific training for this event. It’s not my PR, normally I do my best around April/May.”
Hansen: “This is my first time at an indoor rowing competition. I live in California and my whole family is here supporting me. My sister (Dayna) coxed me today. She said, ‘even if you feel tired, push hard.’ It’s not a personal best for me (I’ve done 7:08) I am part of the US para-rowing team"
Results: Reilly 7:22.5, Muti 7:31.8, Hansen 7:33.4
For the women’s PR2 it was a race to beat the 2019 European Champion, Rahel Nagy of Hungary. Today, however, was the day for Jolanta Majka of Poland. Majka is an on-water rower and last year she took bronze in the PR2 mixed double sculls at the World Rowing Championships. Majka is also a Paralympian.
Results: Majka 8:38.5, Nagy 12:14.5
The men’s PR1 category was won by Zsolt Peto of Hungary. This is the second big win for Peto this year after taking out the European Rowing Indoor Championships in January in this same category. Coming in second was Ron Harvey of the United States. Harvey is well-known on the water and has already been to the 2008 and 2012 Paralympic Games. Coming through in third was Carlos Ruben Vysocki of Argentina. This is Vysocki’s fourth time rowing at an indoor competition.
Results: Peto 8:09.9, Harvey 8:56.7, Vysocki 9:13.5