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Have You Heard of Erg Sprints?
Written by Ji Yu Kim | Published. 2020.02.28 12:26 | Count : 236

The 35th annual Erg Sprints was on February 1st, 2020. Erg Sprints may be an unfamiliar term for some people. Erg is an abbreviation of ergometer, which is a machine used to simulate the action of rowing for the purpose of exercise or training for rowing. [Further information about erg and indoor rowing can be found on the following link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indoor_rower] Erg Sprints is one of the largest indoor rowing competitions in the US and people from different age groups come to TC Williams High every year to participate in the competition. There are a lot of different categories so anyone who wants to participate in the competition can play a role in it. For example, there is a category for the people with physical disability and a category for people who are lightweight. This assures that everyone is competing fairly. 

[TC Williams High School Gym where Erg Sprints take place, photo taken by Ji Yu Kim]

Hundreds of organizations and high schools, such as DC strokes, B-CC High School and Walter Johnson High School, showed up at TC Williams High to compete against one another. I, as a varsity coxswain of Walter Johnson Rowing Team, went to TC Williams High to cox and support my teammates. Coxswains, at the erg sprints, stand next to rowers and yell at them as they are doing their workout piece to motivate them. In rowing, the piece stands for a set of workout on the erg. The first thing that I did as I got there was coxing the veterans.  Retired veterans usually have mental issues and it is very important that they stay on the game for the whole piece. I made sure that they started the piece with consistency and finished the piece strongly. Even though I expected it to be very awkward coxing a total stranger, my partner and I could finish the piece in smooth water. The veteran that I coxed really appreciated my coxing and I thought it was very worthwhile waking up early in the morning. 

Later on the day, events for high schoolers started. Athletes started warming up based on their schedules. They ran around the school, did some dynamics warm up exercises and got on the erg, the rowing machine, to take some strokes before doing the actual piece. Most of the rowers at the warm up room seemed very nervous. A lot of them were taking deep breaths and they could not stop drinking water.
However, as soon as their event started, their attitude totally changed. They focused on their own piece and tried to finish it as soon as possible. All the coxswains and coaches started screaming at their rowers so that the rowers can push themselves and go harder and faster. The gym got really loud and I could not even hear my own voice. they had to focus on their own piece and finish it as soon as possible.

[Young In Lee coxing and helping retired veteran to finish his race, 
photo taken by Ji Yu Kim]

Right after the events, some athletes weren’t able to walk, some had to vomit, and a few of them fainted. “I could feel my face turning red during the 2k and right after, I couldn’t feel my legs at all. These 2k testings are always so hard,” said Laura Howe, Varsity Rower at Walter Johnson Rowing Team. At the end, she also added, “Even though thinking and preparing for it might be a little stressful, it is a good experience that prepares me for the spring season and gets me into the mood of spring races.” She won a silver medal in Lightweight age 16 category.

At the end of the day, each athlete gets their results. Some of them break their records and some don't. However, no matter what their results are, all of them will be warmed up for the spring season which is right around the corner. They will get excited for the practices on the water and spring season racing. 

Ji Yu Kim
Sophomore (10th grade)
Walter Johnson High School

Ji Yu Kim  student_reporter@dherald.com

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