Rowing to Success – Columbus Messenger
Indoor rowing wasn’t part of Tyson Whitt’s exercise plan five years ago, but the world-class athlete has taken the challenge from his workout partners and crossed oceans to join him virtually and in person in competitions. I participated in.
Earlier this year, he traveled to Paris, France to compete in the 2023 European Rowing Indoor Championships.
Whitt of Canal Winchester said:
When Hoyt first encountered the sport at age 40, he said he had never taken it seriously.
“I am amazed to be able to get back on the rowing machine after rowing 500m as hard as I can. It completely blew me away for the rest of the afternoon,” admitted Whit.
The competition spanned two weeks, so he made two more attempts at the 500m. Each time it made him a little faster and a little less painful. By the end of the competition, Witt was hooked and bought his rowing machine for his home.
The top five finishers in the challenge were rewarded with their names and results on the gym’s whiteboard. The winner of the competition received a gym bag.
“I really wanted to be on that whiteboard, but I finished just outside the top five at the end of the two-week contest,” Witt said.
He didn’t pursue indoor rowing competitions until early 2021, by which time the competition had moved to virtual due to COVID. He was amazed that a world championship event could be held virtually without the need for the equipment that the sport has so little.
According to Whitt, competitors basically only need access to a Concept2 rowing machine, a computer and an internet connection. The 2022 Indoor Rowing World Championships was completely virtual. The event saw participants from 66 countries, including former Olympians and professionals from other sports.
“Competing during COVID is a great experience and virtual events have their advantages,” said Witt. “For example, athletes who don’t have the means to travel long distances to compete can attend races from home or from a local gym. Larger events are usually broadcast live, so everyone can watch them in real time. In my opinion, the viewing experience is better for virtual events due to the viewing format and presentation.”
Whitt feels that racing organizations are currently in a transitional phase trying to determine what works best. He has had some in-person only events, others virtual only, and his most recent event, the 2023 Indoor He Rowing World Championships, was a hybrid.
Prior to COVID, all races were face-to-face only.
Over the past two-and-a-half years, Witt has competed in 11 events, winning seven gold medals and two silver medals. He won gold at the 2022 World Championships in the 500m in the lightweight men’s division aged 40-49. He was the silver medalist at the 2023 World Championships in the same event.
Races (virtual or face-to-face) are managed by racing software that collects data from each rowing machine in real time. During the race, competitors can see their current standings and how many meters they are ahead or behind in the race.
Witt typically trains six days a week for an hour and a half to two hours a day. His regime consists of building an aerobic base, strength training, and high-intensity training.
“My goals and inner competitiveness are what keep me rowing,” Witt said. “They give me purpose, which is essential to sticking to it so that I don’t burn out. I want to be a good role model for my children, too. I have a mentor who helps me plan my workouts.He has been a huge part of my success in sports.His guidance and wealth of knowledge. has allowed us to achieve results that were unthinkable a few years ago.”
Outside the gym, I play recreational sports like baseball, softball, and basketball. Witt recently acquired a local sponsor for indoor rowing and said their generosity allowed him to travel to Paris to compete earlier this year.
He plans to travel to Prague, Czech Republic for the 2024 Indoor Rowing World Championships.
So far, no one in Whitt’s family has followed him into the sport.
“Even if they’re not pursuing competition, indoor rowing is a great training tool to help improve fitness and create mental strength,” Witt said. It makes a great addition to any sport they pursue and I highly recommend indoor rowing to anyone to improve their fitness and health. Even if you don’t, there are huge benefits to using a rowing machine consistently.”