Dr. Cam Nichol, founder of RowingWOD, always felt like rowing should be part of CrossFit competition, especially seeing bodies of water near the events and having people on paddle boards and kayaks on them.
“Regularly learn and play new sports” from Greg Glassman’s Fitness in 100 words, was the mantra behind his thoughts. Dr Cam felt like that part of the CrossFit methodology hadn’t yet been properly tested, so he approached CrossFit Strength in Depth’s sports director, Ollie Mansbridge, wondering if it was a silly idea.
“When you’re trying to develop an event you’re thinking about the athlete experience; you want to try and give them new tests, you don’t want to be too generic,” said Ollie Mansbridge, sport director and founder of the CrossFit Strength in Depth. And so the event was born.
Rowing is a technical event however, so the challenge might have been too difficult for a beginner. Even very proficient athletes would have had trouble learning how to row on the day. Therefore, SiD announced the event three months in advance, to give athletes a chance to learn.
“To me, this is a fantastic test where we’ve got those ten physical skills or parameters to test – this really tests your agility, your coordination and your balance much more than your power and endurance, which is what we see in rowing machines,” Cam said.
The boats that will be used for the event are slightly wider than single sculls, which means they’re a bit more stable. Athletes will also be given a “judge” (a proficient rower who knows what they’re doing) to sit with them on the boat during the event and ensure it remains stable.
Other adjustments have been made to guarantee the boats are fitted for CrossFit athletes, and SiD organisers have made sure everything is “weight corrected”, so each boat and “judge” is the same weight.
Athletes will be able to go in the water and test out rowing before the competition.
The course is straight, yet the specifics about the test are still secret and will be kept so until closer to the time.
For the time being the event is only programmed for Elite individuals. Teams and Master athletes might come into consideration in future, but variables such as time constraints and the weather in January will have to be considered further.
“This is going to be a fantastic British event for the London Sanctional, the UK Sanctional, and I’m really excited to show the CrossFit community what the rowing community has to offer,” Cam said.
“It’s worth saying, some of the guys that are going to be sat in the boat with the athletes [are] Olympic champions. […] That’s a unique and exciting prospect,” Ollie added.
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