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By Ali Lee, Vikes Communications

VICTORIA – The 27th National Indoor Rowing Championship took place on Sunday, Feb. 5 with former world triathlon champion Joanna Ritchie smashing a world record right from the start.

Better known as the annual Monster Erg, this year there were five C.R.A.S.H.-B sprint world qualifiers and 15 national champions crowned in addition to Ritchie’s world record set.


“[Ritchie] is no stranger to the erg,” said Vikes women’s head coach Rick Crawley about Ritchie’s 6:58 time. “In the 1990’s she set and broke the record twice in her age category and added a C.R.A.S.H-B World Championship to it along the way.”

Spencer Dean, Ritchie’s youngest son, seems to be following his mother’s footstep after he was claimed the novice men’s champion while older son Will, a former national team member, was supporting from the sidelines.

Ben Rutledge, a member of the men’s eight that claimed gold at the 2008 Olympics, was on hand to help coach his mother, Ruth Rutledge, to a second place, behind Ritchie, in the masters division. Rutledge finished the 2000m sprint with a time of 7:50. In the men’s masters division, Hugh Pite topped the races with a time of 7:19 to join Ritchie and Rutledge in qualifying for a spot at the C.R.A.S.H.-B Sprint World Indoor Rowing Championships being held in Boston, Mass on Feb. 19.

On the novice side, it was UVic’s Jillian Legare who pulled away on teammates Madeline Brown and Meaghan Thorkelson to win the novice women title with a time of 7:23.2. Brown and Thorkelson finished with times of 7:26.1 and 7:28.6, respectively.

The Vikes continued on pace with Anna Braunizer stealing the Under 23 lightweight women’s event and teammate Ingrid Braul winning the Senior A Lightweight event. UVic’s Jonathan Chandler took the Under 23 lightweight men’s title with a time of 6:27, while Antje von Sequdliz and Anthony Linton placed first in the Senior events.

“There were some very exciting races, particularly the Vikes alumni team against the Vikes novices,” said Crawley at the end of the event. “The high-school all-stars against the Vikes in the eight dash was fun to watch as well.”