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Three rowers qualify for world indoor championships at Ergomania
January 29, 2006
source: Mike McQuaid

SEATTLE, Jan. 28, 2006 - World indoor record holder Luanne Mills of Seattle, European indoor rowing champion Robert Meenk of Olympia and Peter Lekisch of Anchorage, Alaska all qualified for the CRASH-B World Indoor Rowing Championships with wins on Saturday at Ergomania! - the Northwest Indoor Rowing Championships at the Seattle Center.

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Dawda, 7 and Yusuf, 8 Corr of Bellevue, Wash. receive some world-class instruction from 2000 Olympian Conal Groom on Concept2 indoor rowers. The Corrs were among 1,200 spectators on- hand Saturday, Jan. 28 for Ergomania! - the 19 th annual Northwest Indoor Rowing Championships at the Seattle Center. As a part of the annual indoor championships, the George Pocock Rowing Foundation and Seattle Center provide free learn-to-row clinics for the public.
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Rowers prepare for the Heat 1 of the men's collegiate competition at Ergomania 2006 in Seattle. The event was won in 6:09.3 by Dave Worley of Washington State University.

The qualifiers, who received airfare and entry fees to the world indoor regatta, Feb. 25 in Boston, were among 256 rowers from Washington, Oregon, Alaska, Texas and British Columbia and an estimated 1,200 spectators at the 19th annual Northwest Indoor Rowing Championships. Ergomania! is sponsored by the Seattle Center, Concept2 and the George Pocock Rowing Foundation.

Mills, 67, clocked a 2,000 meter 8:02.7, just over 2 seconds behind her world's best time of 8:00.0, to win the women's veteran B singles and qualify in the lightweight women's age 65-69 category. It is Mills' fourth trip to the world indoor championships. Meenk, 44, won the men's senior singles competition with a time of 6:25.0 to qualify in the lightweight men's age 40-49 category for his third trip to the Boston indoor regatta.

Lekisch, 65, will make his second trip to the world indoor championships. He qualified in the men's age 65  69 category after clocking a 6:57.3 to win the men's veteran B singles. The retired real estate attorney, who holds the age-category cross-continental cycling record of 12 days 20 hours in the annual Race Across America, took up indoor rowing in 2003 to recover from a cycling accident. The CRASH-B World Indoor Rowing Championships take place Feb. 25 at the Agganis Arena in Boston.

"It feels wonderful to earn a trip to Boston," said Mills, a retired Seattle school teacher who started rowing at age 46 as a part of a Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center study to assess the impact of aerobic activity on colorectal cancer prevention.

Other winners include 2004 Olympic silver medalist and former University of Washington rower, Anna Mickelson of Bellevue with a 6:45.6 in the women's open singles and 2000 Olympian, Conal Groom of Seattle's Pocock Rowing Center, with a 6:11.6 in the men's masters singles.

Pocock's Joshua Brown clocked a 6:01.7, the fastest time of the day, to win the men's open singles, while Richard Tarbill of the Lake Washington rowing club clocked a 6:31.0 to win the men's lightweight singles. Abelyn Broughton of Pocock won the women's lightweight singles with a time of 7:26.2.

In collegiate competition, Washington State University's Dave Worley clocked a 6:09.3 to win the men's collegiate singles while Gonzaga's Kelsey Rapp logged a 7:27.6 to win the women's collegiate singles.

In high school racing, Lindsey Meyer, a junior at Seattle's Holy Names Academy, won the junior girl's singles in 7:06.0 and Vashon Island's Tom Kicinski clocked a 6:30.1 to win the junior boy's singles.

In men's veteran and masters events, Rich Berghdahl (Sammamish Rowing Association), Bob Rogers (unaffiliated), and Burk Ketcham (Pocock Rowing Center) were winners. Ketcham, 80, of Tacoma, was the events "most experienced competitor". The retired urban planner began rowing at age 67 and drives 80 miles roundtrip each weekend to row with a masters crew on Seattle's Green Lake. Winners in the women's veterans and masters events included Vashon Island's Debby Jackson, Arlene Wade, and Pocock's Maria Robinson.

Since its inception in 1988, the indoor regatta series has evolved from a winter-time competition for collegiate rowers whose rivers had frozen over, to an international competition with popularity among recreational athletes who have never been in a rowing shell, to collegiate level rowers and Olympic champions. In 2005 over 10,500 indoor rowers participated in 50 indoor regattas throughout North America. There are 115 indoor rowing regattas in 31 countries world-wide.

A rowing ergometer is a stationary indoor rower with sliding seat and an oar handle affixed by a chain to a bicycle-style flywheel. Considered the preferred training and testing apparatus for Olympic caliber rowers, rowing ergometers are simple for non-rowers to master and are found in most leading health and fitness clubs.