Record entry expected for Irish Indoor Rowing Championships

63 clubs to be represented at annual University of Limerick event

Olympic rower Sinéad Lynch is taking a break from the sport this year. Photograph: Inpho.

Olympic rower Sinéad Lynch is taking a break from the sport this year. Photograph: Inpho.

 

The surge in the numbers coming into rowing will be reflected at the Irish Indoor Rowing Championships at the the University of Limerick on Saturday. Sixty three rowing clubs are represented in the entry of over 1200, which is up 207 on last year and a new record for the event.

Like the morale-boosting Irish Open late last year, the competitors will get the chance to see Olympic stars testing themselves in the same conditions – in this case 2,000 metres on the ergometer.

Paul and Gary O’Donovan, Sanita Puspure (who will present her Olympic one-piece to the winning junior woman) and Cambridge-based Claire Lambe are all entered.

The one absentee from the Rio line-up is Sinéad Lynch. “I’m taking a break this year,” the St Michael’s woman told The Irish Times. She has a time-sapping schedule as a doctor – as does her husband, Sam Lynch – and she is also giving priority to their three daughters. She is 40, but there is no mention of the “r” word (retirement) and she will stay active. “I might do an ironman this year,” she muses.

The nomination by Rowing Ireland of Dermot Henihan for the post of honorary general secretary of the Olympic Council of Ireland has provoked debate within the sport.

The Rowing Ireland board was not unanimous in the choice. Some board members, while acknowledging the volume of work done by Henihan for rowing, are strongly against him being returned to the post in the OCI.

Multiple terms

He has served multiple terms on a body which is in crisis. It is possible that the RI vote in the OCI election might not go to Henihan.

Galway oarsman Gavan Hennigan continues to be the epitome of fortitude in the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge.

The first boat home, Latitude 35, set a new world record as it finished on Thursday – it completed the trek from La Gomera in the Canary Islands to Antigua in the West Indies in 35 days,14 hours and three minutes. The crew used all the resources of a four-man unit well.

Hennigan has just a quarter of the manpower but is on course to to finish third: only the winners and Row for James (also a four) are set to finish ahead of him in the 12-boat race.

There have been wild swings in the weather, but he has produced respectable mileage all the way, while most of the time making light of badly-cut shins and very little sleep.

He is almost three-quarters of the way through his odyssey (The Galway man is 780 nautical miles, 1,445 km, from Antigua.) and he is moving faster than American Oarsmen and Facing It, his rivals for third. Both boats have three men rowing.

St Michael’s in Limerick have been making progress in their construction of a floating pontoon slip, which will allow multiple boats to launch at the same time. It should be ready in March.

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