Racing Concept2 indoor rowing machines in a line at the 2012 Crash-B Sprints in Boston, Massachusetts, United States of America
Leading the way in the open women’s category for the second year in a row was Estonia’s Kaisa Pajusalu. Pajusalu celebrated her 23rd birthday on the day and recorded a time of 6:37.3 which was a huge 11 seconds ahead of Lauren Schmetterling (United States) in second and Jenny van Dobben de Bruin (the Netherlands).

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“Today was a personal best for me,” said Pajusalu after her race. “The first 1,000m was good, but in the second 1,000m I had quite tired legs, but I still managed to keep my average.” This comes a week after Pajusalu became the Estonian Champion on the indoor rowing machine with a slightly faster time of 6:37.2.

This is the fourth time that Pajusalu has raced at the CRASH-Bs and she says it’s a favourite place for her to come. She is currently training for her national team and CRASH-Bs fits in well with her programme. “I have an intensive training programme and this is my easy week in rowing,” says Pajusalu who hopes to represent her country in the single at the London Olympics.

The Estonian arrived four days before the CRASH-Bs and did easy exercises over those days as she got used to the local time in Boston. “I was at a training camp so we didn’t prepare especially for this,” says Pajusalu. “I had a rowing camp so I was always on the water.”

The gap between the men’s heavyweight and lightweight finishing times was severely reduced when Denmark’s Steffen Bonde Jensen won the lightweight category in a time of 6:04.5. Jensen recently finished second to World Record holder, Henrik Stephansen at the 2012 Danish Indoor Rowing Championships going 6:03.1. Andrew Hashway (USA) and Ben Perry were second and third respectively.

Meanwhile the open men’s category was won by Juan Carlos Cabrera of Mexico. Cabrera, 20, recorded a time of 5:55.1, two seconds ahead of US college student, Michael DiSanto with Alex Fleming, also a college student, in third. In Mexico Cabrera is already the national record holder on the erg with a time of 5:52 and he is fast closing in on Mexico’s top single sculler Patrick Loliger on the water. 

For the lightweight women, Nienke van Hoogenhuyze of the Netherlands finished first in a time of 7:06.3. Van Hoogenhuyze set a new Dutch indoor rowing record at the December 2011 Dutch Indoor Rowing Championships, but her time at CRASH-Bs was even faster. Two American competitors followed van Hoogenhuyze home: Sarah Schwegman and Nikki Bourassa in second and third respectively.

The large numbers at this year’s CRASH-Bs was attributed to the growth of indoor rowing as a sport in its own right. Event Commodore, Linda Muri, commented that there was a large number of CrossFit competitors who solely erg for fitness, so never do on-the-water rowing. Muri also noted a big growth in the junior men’s category with a total of 423 competitors rowing in the light and heavy classes.

For full results click here.