FOUR British records were broken during the Welsh Indoor Rowing Championships which were held in Cardiff at the weekend.
The event which took place in the Channel View leisure centre, Grangetown, saw rowers competing on two lines of rowing machines which were connected to a display representing their position.
Four records over the 2000m distance were broken on Saturday. Anna Lewis, from Somerset, of the MAD team broke the previous British women’s 30+ lightweight record by a full minute with a time of 6.59.
Justine Reston from the Wirral and a member of the Q Power team set a record in the women’s 40+ lightweight category, with a time of 7:15.
Alastair Peake from the Bideford rowing team set a British record in the 50+ age category with a time of 6:32 and Marjorie Roome from the Teignmouth rowing club set a British record in the 60+ age category at 7:59.
After each race, gold, silver and bronze medals were awarded to the best performing athletes.
Four disabled rowers from Help for Heroes took golds in their respective categories. Hoping to compete in the Paralympic-style, Invictus Games next year in Toronto, Canada, the group used the event as part of their training.
Competitor Susan Cooke said: “This was only my second time on a rowing machine and I was able to beat able-bodied people.
“I want to show that my disability doesn’t define me and go on to take gold in the Invictus Games.”
Nerys Pearce, who is paralysed from the waist down, has advice for anyone with a disability and an interest in taking part in a sport.
She said: “You can change your defining feature, sport allows you to be defined by something other than your disabilities.
“Twenty months ago I was overweight, I turned my life around and you can too, you just have to start somewhere.
“My advice is: life should be fun, even if you fall off the rowing machine, have a sense of humour.”
The event started on Friday (Nov 25), with school children from across Cardiff competing against each other.
On Saturday races continued across a wide range of categories, from 100-metre sprints to 3000-metre team relays and ages ranging from 11 to 70+.
Many contestants travelled from across Britain to take part, with some competing in multiple categories.
Liam Conneely from Lincoln, competed in both the men’s 500m and 2000m races, winning gold and silver respectively.
Mr Conneely said: “I’ve only been training since August, so it’s great to be getting medals already.
“My fitness has improved a lot since I started, I can already dead lift an extra 40 kilos.”
The Welsh Indoor Rowing Championships have been organised by Mike Hnatiw, the leisure centre manager, since it started in 1998
The sport is particularly popular in Olympic years according to Mr Hnatiw, but he was not sure if they had a record breaking amount of entrants this year.
Mr Hnatiw said: “We’ve had 600 entrants, with over 100 people entered just into the sprints.
“The event’s been a definite success, I can tell by how tired I feel.”