Australian records broken during Indoor Rowing Challenge
More than 545 competitors took part in races across Australia last weekend at the 2018 Australian Indoor Rowing Challenge (AIRC). This is the third edition of the event, which hosts indoor rowing events at venues across the country simultaneously.
This year, indoor rowing challenges were held in nine centres including every mainland state and territory. It was the first time an event was held in the Northern Territory.
Four distances were offered: 2000m, 1000m, 500m and 4x500m relay. These were offered in a range of age categories and weight classes. The winner of the men’s 2000m was Oscar Williams who finished in a time of 5:58.6. Williams competed in the 19-29 age category. Even more impressive was second place finisher Alex Doidge. Doidge smashed the Australian record for the 40-49 age category by shaving nearly nine seconds off and finishing in a time of 6:02.8. The third place overall went to Harry Glackin, also from the 19-29 age group.
In the women’s 2000m, an under-19 competitor Georgia Powell, claimed the top spot by finishing with a time of 7:16.0. This was nearly ten seconds ahead of the second-place finisher, Zara Collisson, who was also in the under-19 category. Just one second behind her was an impressive finish from under-16 Ruby Hetherington.
In the 80-84 age group, Anne Cresswell overturned the Australian record by more than one minute. Cresswell holds the World Record in the lightweight women age 80-84 category with a time of 9:07.4. She has also claimed more than 11 Australian Indoor Rowing records in both 2000m and 1000m races.
The 500m sprint distance was introduced to encourage the participation of CrossFit athletes. Kara Saunders, CrossFit superstar, is the AIRC female ambassador and joined the event in Brisbane. But the excitement was in Fremantle, where Samantha Lass recorded a time of 1:30.1 in the 19-29 category, setting a new Australian record.
Josh Dunkley-Smith, the AIRC male ambassador and the 2000m World Record holder, competed in the 500m sprint in Melbourne. He finished 15th with a time of 1:21.1. The overall winner of the 500m competition was Paul Jeffrey who finished in 1:15.6. Jeffrey is the World Record holder in this event in the 50-59 category.
TV presenter and former Australian representative rugby player, Peter FitzSimons participated live on Channel9 TV in Australia, hoping to win the 1000m for his age group. Unfortunately, an existing back injury forced him to stop just 360m before the finish line. He tweeted that he is feeling better and will be back at it for next year’s event.
This year saw a slightly different strategy with a reduction in total number of venues, but an aim to put on better events in each venue. The event also partnered with the Cancer Council – an Australian Charity working across ever area of cancer, from research to prevention and support. Five dollars from each entry were donated to the Cancer Council.