VICTORIA – The University of Victoria Vikes men’s rowing team are set to compete in this weekend’s Monster Erg Indoor Rowing Championship, set for Feb. 3 at the CARSA Performance Gym. The event will be so much more than just a competition with an alumni function set for the middle of the day, while the event will have over 1,000 people come through the building offering an opportunity for community engagement.

“The theme of this event is ‘are you tough enough?’ which is a call to the inner resilience and mental fortitude needed while under incredible athletic pain,” said Vikes men’s rowing head coach Aalbert Van Schothorst. “For some, simply showing up is the challenge and that makes them tough enough. Others get to drive themselves to brand new levels and are looking for podium placements.”

Monster Erg

For the Vikes, all eyes will be on a cohort of athletes that move from the Under 23 category to the senior standard including Under 23 world championship competitor Lucien Brodeur, captain Alec Stapff and FISU World Universiade and Pan American qualifier Daan Arscott.

Also in the mix for top Vikes times will be fourth year Travis Gronsdahl and third year Alexander Sawers.

“Travis enters as a e Under 23 World Championship competitor, while Sawers was recently at the Pan American Qualifiers,” described van Schothorst. “Both will be looking to express their training through personal best’s this weekend.”

In their sights is the Vikes indoor record in the 2000-m event held by Olympian and former Vike Kai Langerfeld, whose record is 5:56. The lightweight indoor record is held by recently graduated Patrick Keane in 6:09.7.

The novice event will feature Joshua Novak and David Walker who will be looking to beat current captain Alec Stapff’s novice score of 6:19 from two years ago.

Monster Erg

“Every athlete has been prepared to expect a personal best at this event,” outlined Van Schothorst. “Indoor rowing eliminates the variability of the elements. In the winter that is an asset as you can come off the water on cold wet days feeling like you will never be warm again. During summer, training indoors does the inverse as the air conditioning takes a bit of the heat out of the work. We work hard to balance the two because we are one of the few universities that have year-round access to water and that allows us to build variation into the daily training environment.”

The event will feature an Under 23 and open category that the Vikes will compete in, while under 17, under 19 and master’s categories will also fill the day. Each flight can have 24 ergs going at the same time, with one of the most spectator friendly events, the mixed-relay, also in on the run list. This is the 34th year of the event that will run as it has traditionally run without one key cog.

“It’s a notable moment in our history to reflect on the fact that this is the first Monster Erg run without Rick Crawley,” said van Schothorst of his Vikes women’s head coach colleague that retired in 2018 and was replaced by Olympian Barney Williams. “Barney has infused it with his energy that is not better or worse but his energy. He can take something he participated in himself and give it an energy that reflects his vision.”

The event gets started at 9:30 a.m. but peak spectating time is set for 12:30-2:30 p.m. in the CARSA Performance Gym.