The annual event in Alexandria, VA, United States is used by many as an opportunity to earn a free trip to the World Indoor Rowing Championships, the CRASH-Bs and Tom Darling did just that and more. Darling, the Para-rowing Director at USRowing, set a new World Record in the men's 55-59 age group. Darling's time of 6:12 was six seconds faster than the previous record set in 2009.

Tom Darling shatters World Record at the 29th MidAtlantic Erg Sprints.

"My strategy was even splits and my rating was 31 strokes per minute," said Darling. "I tried to maintain 1:33 per 500m average and have enough to take it up at the end."

Jeff Byron, Director of the Erg Sprints described Darling's achievements in these terms, “Rowing 2000 meters is the equivalent of rowing the length of a football field over 21 times, which essentially means that he was going goal line to goal line at about an 18-second clip.  That is an incredible athletic achievement.  It’s also another reason why indoor rowing is growing in popularity and being recognised as one of the ultimate tests of fitness and endurance in sports.”

Clocking 6:12 easily gave Darling a qualifying trip to Boston where the CRASH-Bs will be held on 16 February 2014. Also earning trips were six other rowers including Paul Siebach who was second behind Darling, Bob Spousta who won the men's 60-64 category and Terry Walters who won the women's 55-59 category.

The MidAtlantic Erg Sprints included non-standard distances. The most popular of which were the junior women's 20-minute row, the 14-year-old women's 1000m and the 15-year-old lightweight men's 1500m. The racing variety also included 30 minute pieces, an erg marathon, 500m sprint races, quad and double slide events and relays.

"We had 120 ergs on the race floor and 80 more in the warm-up room," said Jeff Byron, Director of the Erg Sprints. "At any given time we had 100 people racing on the networked ergs and another dozen on the manually timed ergs."

The MidAtlantic Erg Sprints dates back to 1986 and is now the second-largest indoor rowing competition in the world, and the largest event of its kind for juniors. This year competitors ranged in age from ten years old to over 70 years old.

Next year's event Erg Sprints will be held on 31 January 2015.
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Tom Darling shatters world record at 29th MidAtlantic Erg Sprints

A packed house fills the Gerry Bertier Gymnasium for the 29th MidAtlantic Erg Sprints