Feb. 18, 2011
BOSTON - A trio of Washington oarsmen are primed to showcase their strength and fitness at the annual C.R.A.S.H.-B sprints, one of the world's premier indoor rowing championships.
Conlin McCabe, Hans Struzyna and Hannes Heppner will travel from Seattle to Boston to compete. The event is held at Agganis Arena on the campus of Boston University on Feb. 20, and features some of the strongest indoor rowers around the world. All competitors row against the clock on Concept2 ergometers, a tool regularly used to test rowing fitness. The feature event at the C.R.A.S.H.-Bs is a 2,000-meter piece on the erg, which is the benchmark used to evaluate rowers for the spring sprint season. Elite rowers are routinely able to break six minutes for 2,000 meters on the erg.
The motive behind sending the three Huskies to the East Coast is purely competition driven. Men's crew coach Michael Callahan wanted to see how three of his fittest rowers fared against the world's best. Another reason is acclimatizing his oarsmen to competing on the East Coast, given that the IRAs are held in Camden, N.J.
Last year, the trio approached Callahan about competing at C.R.A.S.H.-B's as a motivation tool for winter training. The answer was a conditional yes, as long as certain performance benchmarks were reached. Callahan said there are no goals for the group heading to Boston. He just wants them to "have fun and let it rip on the C2."
Callahan also noted that he hopes his group goes to the erg event with an appreciation for being able to row on the water every day, a facet of the Huskies' training regimen that few other colleges can mirror.
"We spend most of our time on the water," Callahan said. "But we want to be able to compete at someone else's strength as well."
Each of the three Huskies was selected for their strength on the ergometer. McCabe, a junior from Brockville, Ontario, recently set a program record for 10,000 meters, a mark previously held by Sam Burns ('05).
While ergs are indicative of a rower's fitness, the ultimate judge of UW oarsmen is how fast he is on the water. This is one of the branding principles of the Washington program - taking the fitness achieved through winter conditioning and applying it to the boat. The Huskies still have two more months of on-the-water training and seat racing before the spring racing season begins on March 26 with the annual Class Day Regatta.
"The erg judges your individual rowing effort," Callahan said. "This isn't rowing in a shell. There's some internal rivalry within our team to be the fittest, the strongest and hopefully the toughest. But they're used to it."
One additional note: junior Rob Munn will spend next week training with USRowing in San Diego.