CT Indoor Rowing Is Way of Life for Many

Hamish Dubitsky

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EASTON, CT- Almost 100 years ago, rowing was one of the most popular sports in America.  It rivaled Baseball in viewership, and people from all around the world flocked to witness competitions.  Today however, it has become fairly niche, and though it is finally beginning to rapidly grow in popularity once again, it is still by no means considered a classic American sport.  However, for the athletes who compete, the sport is something of a way of life.

This is why, when on January 25th, 2019, the relatively unknown Connecticut Indoor Rowing Championships, with its 381 entries from 27 different clubs, was so important to so many of those involved.  The event was hosted by Saugatuck Rowing Club, a well-known team, and was a race a the rowing machine called the erg. It hosted many different categories of weight, gender, and age, so there were a few different distances some competitors raced, but the most popular by far was the two kilometer race.

In this race rowers from around the country would set up their machines next to one another, begin at the same time, and attempt to complete the two kilometers in the fastest possible time.  This may not seem like very important to an outsider, given that it takes place on a machine and not actually on the water like most rowing regattas, but for colleges and rowers alike the event is monumental.  A person’s two kilometer time is primarily how they are evaluated and recruited, and they train most of the winter season on the machine to improve said time. When someone reaches a new personal record at the event or has a comparatively fast time to others in their category, colleges take notice.  The Stanwich Post sat down with one of the competitors, Aaron Wenk, and asked him about his experience with the race.

“It’s always pretty stressful” said Aaron, “but it’s also necessary for college, and so you just kind of accept it as part of the process.”  Aaron competed in the under seventeen lightweight category, and won his event overall.

“It was pretty gratifying seeing that I won, but the conditions [at Connecticut Indoor] aren’t too great, so I didn’t do as well as I’d hoped.”  For many rowers just like Aaron, the results were not as satisfying, likely because of the dry air and stressful environment of the competition, but it still was and is an important occasion for them, and high school rowing as a sport in the modern day.

[The writer (Hamish) and Editor (Ted) of this story also competed in the CT Indoor Rowing Championships.]

Story by Hamish Dubitsky, reporter

Edited by Ted Frascella, Editor-in-Chief

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