Who to watch at the 2019 World Rowing Indoor Championships
The 2019 World Rowing Indoor Championships is about to get underway in Long Beach, California. Over 700 athletes from around the world are ready to prove themselves on Concept2 rowing machines at the iconic Walter Pyramid Arena on 24 February 2019.
The open women’s 2000m event has an impressive 35 entries, including the return of the last year’s indoor rowing champion and the world record holder, Olena Buryak of Ukraine. There’s no doubt that Buryak will be the one to beat, standing at an impressive 194cm, Buryak has been on the top of women’s indoor rowing for several years.
At last year’s World Rowing Indoor Championships, Buryak finished in a time of 6:26.1, setting a new World Record for the 30-39 age category and just missing her own World Record of 6:22.8. Buryak will compete against members of the United States rowing team who train at the Princeton training centre. Meghan Musnicki is the veteran in that group, having competed and won gold at two Olympic Games. It is hard to say who will be at the top, but this group is likely to be competing for seats in the national team boat. Tracy Eisser comes out of the World Champion US women’s eight and will be one to watch.
The open men’s 2000m event has 37 entries and eyes are likely to be on the international stars. Oliver Zeidler is the young gun from Germany. At just 23-years old he is 203cm tall and shows striking power on the ergometer. Zeidler won the 2017 World Games by pulling a 5:42.0. Jakub Podrazil of the Czech Republic is the reigning indoor rowing champion and he threw down a notable erg score of 5:44.8 in the 2018 season. Watch out too for the contingent US national team athletes from the US men’s training centre in Oakland, California. Arne Landboe comes out of the World Champion under-23 men’s eight. Glenn Ochal and Henrik Rummel were part of the London Olympic bronze medal men’s four for the United States and they will bring a wealth of experience to this event.
The lightweight women’s 2000m event is an international field with competitors from Pakistan, Uganda, Great Britain, and the United States. The US women’s eight World Champion coxswain Katelin Guregian is set to compete and certainly one to keep an eye on. She will be up against regular indoor racer Justine Reston of Great Britain.
In the lightweight men’s 2000m field, international on-water stars Jason Osborne of Germany and Martino Goretti of Italy are certainly ones to watch. Osborne is the 2018 World Champion in the lightweight men’s single sculls and will likely post a top score. Goretti saw mixed results during the 2018 season, but is a contender in Long Beach. Keep an eye on Luis Molina of Mexico who raced in the inaugural World Rowing Indoor Championships last year.
There are 66 para-rowers entered in the various para-rowing disciplines. These range from Functional Electrical Stimulus (FES) events, to the world championship disciplines of PR1, PR2 and PR3. It is an international field with entries from Argentina, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, Italy, New Zealand, Pakistan, Poland, Slovakia and the United States. World Record holder for 2000m (and records in many other distances) is Sean Gaffney of Great Britain. He set the record of 6:28.3 at the British Rowing Indoor Championships late last year. There is also Milan Liskovec of the Czech Republic who finished second last month at the European Rowing Indoor Championships. Ni Filo of New Zealand competed at the Invictus Games in 2016 and was the bronze medallist.
Keep an eye out too for Jolanta Majka of Poland who is a 2016 Paralympian and raced at last year’s World Rowing Championships in the PR2 mixed double sculls where she finished second. Majka’s doubles partner, Michal Gadowski is also competing. Allie Reilly of the United States is another to watch. She was part of the silver medal winning PR3 mixed coxed four at the 2018 World Rowing Championships.
The packed day of racing also includes masters, junior and under-23 events. There are a number of big names among the competitors, including Sofia Asoumanaki from Greece who will be competing in the women’s under-23 2000m event. Asoumanaki holds the world record in the junior category at 6:28.2, but will she be able to beat Buryak’s time? Watch out too for Alexis Lopez in the lightweight men’s under-23 2000m category. Lopez won gold at last year’s event in a time of 6:18.5.
In the masters events watch out for Andrew Benko in the men’s 50-54 category. He set the world record last year in a time of 6:01.7. And don’t forget about the oldest competitor, Dean Smith. Smith set the record in the 85-89 category at 8:10.5 back in 2013. He is now 93 and will be looking to set a new record. Also competing is Concept2’s owner brothers Peter and Dick Dreissigacker. The Dreissigackers created Concept2 and the modern ergometer in the 1980s.
And finally, don’t forget to watch the 500m sprint events. These races will take place at the end of the day, followed by mixed relay races. They will be quick and fun, having drawn a great entry, including many CrossFit athletes.
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