Only in its second year, the event proved to be a great success with a 38 per cent participation increase from 2016 and a structure that allowed competitors a chance to take part from different locations without leaving their hometown.

Taking place from 4-12 November 2017, this year’s championships saw 23 event centres around the country with 722 competitors taking part. High profile Australian journalist and former national team rugby player Peter FitzSimons competed live on Australia’s Channel 9 Sports Sunday, giving indoor rowing a boost around the country. Scoring a time of 1.23.6 for 500m, Fitzsimons broke the Australian record for his age group (55-59 heavyweight men) and won the category. This prompted a huge response on social media including other Australian sporting VIPs committing to participate in the event next year.

FitzSimons stated on Twitter: “1min 26.5 to get gold medal. 1min 25.9 to get Oz record. I did… 1 min 23.6 secs. I have decided I LOVE this sport!”

One of the Australian records was set by Maddie Edmunds, a 2017 World Rowing Championship bronze medallist from the women’s double sculls. Edmunds set the record over 500m in the heavyweight women's 19-29 year old category posting a time of 1:30.8. Her time replaces the record of 1:32.6 set by Bronwyn Thompson in 2015. At the world level, Olena Buryak of Ukraine set the time of 1:24.5 earlier this year at the World Games.

These times were verified by indoor rowing manufacturer, Concept2 as part of the World Indoor Rowing rankings.

The nationally held competition, for all and from anywhere was showcased by a variety of event formats and locations including four schools, 11 rowing clubs, three gyms, two universities plus the Rowing Australia training centres. A “Dads and Daughters” event was held at Lourdes Hill College in Queensland and the Australian Defence Force (ADF) doing their races outside of the country with 57 competitors participating at two bases in the Middle East. Drummoyne Rowing Club in Sydney held the biggest event with 79 competitors.

2017 Australian Indoor Rowing Championships, Lourdes Hill College © Lourdes Hill College

“We’re working hard to improve participation in this area of the sport in Australia and it’s fantastic to see more people becoming involved,” Rowing Australia’s CEO Michael Scott said about the event. “It was particularly great to see such a diverse group of people compete. Our oldest two competitors, Nikki Roberts and Vince Home, are both 92 years old, while we also had school children from across the country, and serving personnel from the Australian Defence Force competing. The event really has proved that indoor rowing is a sport for all.”

The championships included 500, 1000, and 2000 metre events along with a team relay.  The Robert Connor Dawes Foundation (RCDF) partnered with Rowing Australia as the event’s charity partner with $2 of every entry fee going to support the charity. The charity was created in memory of Robert Dawes, a passionate youth rower who died from a brain tumour in April 2013. Australian Rowing three-time Olympic Champion James Tomkins is one of the RCD Ambassadors.

All results are here. 

For more about the event see here.

See all Concept2 World records here.

See all Concept2 Australia records here.