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Alberta Indoor Rowing Championship held in Blackfalds

The Central Alberta Rowing Club hosted the annual Alberta Indoor Rowing Championships at the Abbey Centre in Blackfalds on Saturday. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)

This year’s Alberta Indoor Rowing Championships in Blackfalds had the highest number of competitors in the event’s history.

The Central Alberta Rowing Club hosted the annual competition at the Abbey Centre on Saturday, with 159 athletes competing on rowing machines across a variety of categories.

“We use this event to select athletes to represent Alberta,” said Andy Nokes, organizer of the provincial competition.

“Many of the athletes are recording very good times. For a 2,000-metre, anything under six minutes and 30 seconds is certainly a national level time.”

The event featured athletes from clubs and institutions across the province, including the Rowing Club of Calgary, Univeristy of Calgary, University of Alberta and Edmonton Rowing Club. There were also competitors who weren’t affiliated with any particular clubs.

The gymnasium in the Abbey Centre was filled with several rowing machines during the event – 14 were set up in the official competition area and another 20 or so were set up in a warmup space.

“This competition is a high point in land training. We still have to wait until May before we get them on the water. In Canada we’ve got to do this on these rowing machines to prepare them and make sure their aerobic fitness is ready, so the transition onto the water is just about getting the technique sorted out,” Nokes said.

Nokes said it’s exciting to see a record-high attendance at an indoor championship event hosted by Central Alberta Rowing Club. The club was formed around 2003 and hosted its first indoor championship a year or two later.

“Back then we had just six rowing machines and we held it in the Collicutt Centre in Red Deer,” Nokes recalled.

“In this part of Alberta is certainly a minority sport. … It’s a late-entry sport, in the sense that there are many athletes who had been playing basketball or other sports in high school and when they go to university and are looking for a change, they might be the ideal person for rowing. You look at a cross-country skier, and they’ve got the upper- and lower-body strength required.

“On the national team, a fair number of rowers only started in university. If an athlete has been doing some form of sport through high school and into university, then within a couple of years they can been converted into the rowing community and potentially compete at a national and international level.”

For more information on the Central Alberta Rowing Club, visit The club rows on Lacombe Lake and is part of the Alberta Rowing Association.

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Sean McIntosh

About the Author: Sean McIntosh

Sean joined the Red Deer Advocate team in the summer of 2017. Originally from Ontario, he worked in a small town of 2,000 in Saskatchewan for seven months before coming to Central Alberta.
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