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AIRC 21 attracts participants from Tamarama to Townsville

From Tamarama to Townsville, Brisbane to Bunbury, postcodes in-between and overseas, 894 participants competed at this year’s Australian Indoor Rowing Championships on Saturday 30 October.  

Participants as young as 11 and as old as 85 joined the races virtually and from event centres in Adelaide, Brisbane and Darwin. Participants had the option to race distances of 500, 1000 or 2000 metres, as well as join their peers to contest the 4 x 500 metre relay.  

Overseas competitors joined in the early hours of the morning or late into the night, depending on their location.  

While many competed to win, there are also those who participated for enjoyment and to challenge themselves.  

Over 50 students from Darwin High School kicked the racing off, using rowing machines set up at their school. The students were able to race against competitors across Australia without leaving school grounds.  

More than 330 young people from seven Australian schools were able to take part thanks to Rowing Australia’s Official Partner Coles.  

Darwin High School Health and Physical Education Teacher Carolyn Knutsen said it was a great event for the students to be part of.   

“Darwin High School students are grateful for the opportunity to participate at the Australian Indoor Rowing Championships and appreciate the support of Coles and Rowing Australia to make this event a huge success,” Knutsen said.    

Amongst the many clubs represented in this year’s event was the veteran group We Are Invictus.  

Veteran and mother of two Kate Balding said the virtual nature of the event helped her to feel connected to an international community.  

“Even though we’re across the world we all compete for the same team, We Are Invictus,” Balding said. 

“It’s nice to know that you’re rowing with people in similar situations from across the world. When you look at the draw sheet, you can see that we’re all rowing under the same banner,” she said.    

Kate’s indoor rowing has improved with every outing. She attributes this to her newfound competitive nature and friend and coach, Julie.  

“Julie is a swim coach and she asked me, ‘can I coach you? Can we see how it goes?’ Since we teamed up, I’ve reset my personal bests across all distances, from the 10 kilometres to the 100 metres,” Balding said.   

“Julie has goals for me, and I have goals for myself.  

“I didn’t think I was a competitive person until I started indoor rowing,” she said.     

During this year’s AIRC, Julie challenged Kate to race the 2000 metres as though it was the only race of the day. Competing in the Women’s 30-39 age group, Kate improved her 2020 time by 22 seconds.  

“I would never have gone in with that mindset, I thought I needed to preserve my energy and power to get through the other races. Julie’s realistic but she pushes me to go that bit further,” she said.  

Final results from the 2021 Australian Indoor Rowing Championships are now available here. 

The 2021 Australian Indoor Rowing Championships is supported by Major Partner, Sport Australia and Event Partners, Bont Rowing, 776BC, Coles and Aon.  

Proud supporter of rowing in Australia and New Zealand, The Colgan Foundation also lends its support to the event. The Colgan Foundation was founded by Sean P. Colgan in 1995 to benefit athletic, scientific, and education causes. 

Note to Competitors: The results on the Time Team website reflect the overall Oceania and AIRC combined results. To be eligible to hold the title of Australian Indoor Rowing Champion, you must have entered via the AIRC website. We congratulate all of our winners and place getters and will be in contact in regard to medals. 

We are now finalising the rankings for Concept 2. This along with any potential Australian or World C2 Records will be sent to C2 this week.  

The Bont Rowing AIRC Pointscore will be posted next week.  

If you have any questions, please email [email protected] 

Image courtesy Darren Hocking