PR1 competitors Chris Rix (sudbury) and Benjamin Pritchard (Team GB)
The British Indoor Rowing Championships is perhaps the annual pinnacle of the UK rowing community coming together. It convenes elite rowers with novice ones, junior rowers with Vet Gs, massive hulks to wispy lightweights, water rowers with gym fitness trainers. All convening around the torture device that is the centre of every training programme. The picture above, for me, captured this inclusive spirit of the day. GB PR1 World medallist Ben Pritchard in the PR1 Mens 2000m conferring with fellow competitor Chris Rix of Sudbury who completed his first event ever. Despite having destroyed his entire pulmonary system with his jaw-dropping world record smash, Ben still found breath to shout the loudest of anyone cheering Chris over the line during the race.
As British Rowing reported, BRIC is “officially the largest indoor rowing event in the world, there were over 2,300 entries across over 140 events, with athletes from as young as 11 right up to age 88 all racing in front of a sold-out crowd!” It certainly is the biggest Adaptive/Pararowing comeptition in the world with 30 separate events competed (40 adaptive events were offered). A total of 59 competitor-seats took part (with a number of multiple entries).
Some of the highest points of the day are when the records are broken and the Adaptive/Para rowers led the charge here. Two of the three World Records came from the GB Squad with Ben Pritchard and Giedre Rakauskaite setting new 2k marks for PR1 Mens and PR3 Womens respectively. Ben commented on his feat saying “Records are made to be broken.” Only, Ben didn’t just break the record. He tore into it and shredded it like a piranha on an unsuspecting hippo with bits of broken record flying all over the place. His new record is a 5.6% improvement over the previous mark. Usually, people labour for a career to shave a fraction of a sniff of a percent off a record. To put that in context, one of the biggest and most famous record destructions was Bob Beamon’s long jump in the 1968 Olympics. In an event where records are broken by a half inch at a time, he broke it by 21 2/3rd inches. It is often considered one of the top sporting achievements of all time. Now 21 inches is 6.5% improvement in the record, and Ben’s improvement on the PR1 mark was 5.6%! Absolutely astonishing to witness. I think Ben just put the PR1 world on notice: look out for GB at Paralympics 2020. This guy is a stream train on his way to Tokyo and he is not slowing down.
Another record notched by British Rowing was PR3-VI junior Georgia Walker of Marlow who set the British PR3 junior woman’s mark for the first time ever, but also the performance laid down the marker for the PR3-VI Junior Woman’s World Record as well.
In addition to world records was world competition as the event attracted adaptive competitors from a number of countries including Italy, South Africa and Germany. Sort of like Britain’s Got Talent and British X-Factor, the UK competition is the place to prove your talent in the world.
Congratulations to all the competitors and especially the winners below (full results can be found here):
- E144 (PR1) Men 2000m – Benjamin Pritchard, GB Rowing (world record)
- E154 (AR3-PD) Men 2000m – Luke Theophilus, Thames Rowing
- E160 (PR2) Men 4 mins – Chris Brogan, Help for Heroes & David Lloyd Gym Poole
- E167 (AR2) Women 4 mins – Gemma Kemble-Stephenson
- E170 (AR3-Open) Men 4 mins – Calum Titmus Peterbourough City
- E174 (PR2) Men 1 min – Chris Brogan, Help for Heroes & David Lloyd Gym Poole
- E181 (AR2) Women 1 min – Gemma Kemble-Stephenson
- E184 (AR3-Open) Men 1 min – Francesco Saverio Di Donato, Accademia Del Remo Napoli
- E189 (IR3) Women 4 mins – Rachel Williamson, Help for Heroes
- E206 Year 11 Boys (PR2) 1 min – Patrick O’Donovan, Great Marlow School
- E208 Year 10 Boys (AR3-Open) 4 mins – Harvey Wintle, Marlow
- E210 Sixth Form Boys (PR3) 4 mins – Sebastian Johnson, Marlow
- E147 (PR2) Women 2000m – Lauren Rowles, GB Rowing
- E156 (AR3-Open) Men 2000m – Francesco Saverio Di Donato, Accademia Del Remo Napoli
- E166 (AR2) Men 4 mins – Andrew Mcevoy
- E169 (AR3-PD) Women 4 mins – Helena Stone, Royal Dolphins
- E171 (AR3-Open) Women 4 mins – Karen Lundy, Help for Heroes
- E180 (AR2) Men 1 min – Andrew Mcevoy
- E182 (AR3-PD) Men 1 min – Chris Bailey
- E185 (AR3-Open) Women 1 min – Karen Lundy, Help for Heroes
- E193 (IR3) Women 1 min – Rachel Williamson, Help for Heroes
- E207 Year 11 Boys (PR2) 6mins – Patrick O’Donovan, Great Marlow School
- E209 Year 10 Boys (AR3-Open) 5mins – Harvey Wintle, Marlow
- E211 Sixth Form Boys (PR3) 2000m – Sebastian Johnson, Marlow
- E223 Year 11 Boys (PR3) 4 mins – Felix Barrow
- E225 Sixth Form Girls (PR3) 2000m – Georgia Walker, Marlow (world record)
- E216 PR3 PD & VI 2000m – Giedre Rakauskaite, GB Rowing (world record)
- E201 Adaptive Men Relay – Maidenhead / Invictus
- E203 Mixed Adaptive Relay – Marlow A
- E204 Mixed Junior Adaptive Relay – Marlow B