By Dan Brauchli
ALEXANDRIA, Va. – The inaugural World Rowing Indoor Championships came to a close today in style. Held in conjunction with the 2018 Erg Sprints, the two-day event welcomed more than 2,400 competitors from 27 states and over 30 different countries.
World Rowing crowned many champions over the course of the event. Two of the most exciting championship races were the men’s under 19 open and women’s lightweight open events where Americans James Wright and Christine Cavallo raced to first-place finishes in times of 6:08.7 and 6:54.1, respectively.
Saturday, when James Wright of Germantown Friends School Rowing crossed the finish line, he knew he had executed the perfect race plan. Against a highly competitive field, Wright was able to walk through his competition, coming even with about 400 meters to go. Edging out a small lead, a well-executed sprint would bring Wright a first-place finish and title of world champion.
“I concentrated on negative splitting all my pieces,” Wright told World Rowing. “I came in with a plan, shifted at 1,700, 1,200, 700 and 400 just to keep myself in my own zone. When that 400 mark came, I knew I had to shift down and I thought, ‘either I go now, or I go home.’”
Sunday’s highlights included a multitude of masters athletes pushing their limits and challenging themselves to cross the line for personal bests and a swelling sense of accomplishment.
In addition, spectators got the privilege of watching as many world records were broken. While winning the women’s lightweight open event, Cavallo, Unaffiliated (USA), broke the lightweight women’s world record by 0.6 seconds.
“I knew coming here, [breaking the world record] was my goal,” Cavallo stated. “Today, my base ended up being faster and my sprint not so much, which is something I’ve never done before. I knew my sprint wasn’t going to be as effective, but if I hit my splits, I’d just scrape by.”
The masters men’s 50-54 2k record was also broken today as Andrew Benko, Unaffiliated (USA), pulled a score of 6:01.7.
This article first appeared on www.usrowing.org. Thank you to USRowing, an Erg Sprints | WRIC event sponsor.