|Esther Lofgren (third from left) on the podium in London (Image courtesy of Alexandria Crew Boosters)|
ALEXANDRIA, VA – Over 1,600 adult and student athletes will descend on T.C . Williams High School in Alexandria this Saturday, February 2nd, for the 28th MidAtlantic Erg Sprints, an annual event that has grown to become not only the second largest indoor rowing competition in the world, but one that will this year feature Olympic and Paralympic rowers, as well.
The rowers are: Esther Lofgren, who won a gold medal as a member of the 2012 U.S. Olympic women’s rowing team in London this past summer; Sam Stitt, who rowed in the 2008 Beijing Olympics and is now the varsity lightweight rowing coach at Georgetown; Emma Preuschl, who won a silver medal as a member of the 2008 U.S. Paralympic women’s rowing team in Beijing and competed in 2012 London games as well; Linda Miller, who rowed for T.C. Williams and George Washington University and went on to become a member of the 2000 U.S. women’s Olympic rowing team in Sydney; Lisa Schlenker, a member of the 2000 and 2004 Olympic rowing teams who is now the head coach of the University of Wisconsin's women's varsity lightweight rowing team; and, Giuseppe Lanzone, a member of the last two U.S. Olympic rowing teams and currently the men’s lightweight rowing coach at Georgetown.
The Olympians and Paralympian will be helping to lead two informational seminars entitled, “Going for the Gold: Rowing in College and Beyond.” The hour-long seminars will be held at 11:00 am and 3:00 pm and are open to all students who are competing at the MidAtlantic Erg Sprints. According to Erg Sprints Director Jeff Byron, the seminars are intended to provide young rowers with practical advice on their futures in the sport, from what colleges are looking for to what it takes to become an elite rower and compete in the Olympics and Paralympics.
“In addition to being the world’s second largest indoor rowing competition,” Byron stated, “the MidAtantic Erg Sprints is also the biggest event of its kind for juniors. With all these young rowers under one roof, we thought it was a good time to bring in some elite rowers who could provide some words of wisdom about what it takes to compete in the sport and be the best. To that end, we are fortunate to have with us some of the best of the best — rowers who not only competed in college, but represented their country in the Olympic and Paralympic Games.”
Byron noted that in addition to leading the seminars, Lofgren and Stitt will also be competing in the Erg Sprints — Lofgren rowing in the Open Women’s 500 meter sprint and 2000 meter race, and Stitt competing in the Master’s Men (age 30-39) 2000 meters and Open Men 30 minute row.
Byron added that this year’s competition will feature more than 100 events for junior, college, and masters rowers, as well as events designed for lightweight rowers, coxswains, parent/child teams and kids. The Erg Sprints will also feature events designed for adaptive rowers — a category of event specifically designed for individuals with disabilities and one, Byron noted, that has featured Wounded Warriors in the past and will once again feature rowers from Athletes Without Limits and the Capital Adaptive Rowing Program in Washington, DC.
Races on February 2nd will begin at 8:00am and conclude at approximately 3:00pm. The top finishers in the MidAtlantic Erg Sprints will qualify to compete in the World Indoor Rowing Championship — also known as the Crash-B Sprints — which will be held in Boston on February 17th.
The MidAtlantic Erg Sprints were first held in Alexandria in January 1986. The event is sponsored by the Alexandria Crew Boosters. For the schedule of events and more information, please visit www.ergsprints.com.
[Note from RR: MidAtlantics have been an event to keep and eye on over the past few seasons, with great performances from the UVa men and from the high school ranks, as well as elite competitors.]