MIT Crew Opens Campaign At CRASH-B Ergometer Sprints

MIT Crew Opens Campaign At CRASH-B Ergometer Sprints

Feb. 13, 2005

Complete Results

ROXBURY, Mass. - MIT rowing opened the new year on Sunday by competing in the CRASH-B Ergometer Sprints, the largest indoor rowing competition in the world. The Engineers were paced by Andy Hill, who finished 31st overall in the collegiate division.


Hill covered the stationary distance in 6:15.6, the 46th-best clip on the afternoon in an event filled with some of the world's finest rowers. Junior Mike Whitaker posted the second-fastest mark for MIT, splitting 6:20.9, while freshman Tom Larsen closed with the third quickest time (6:27.3). The Engineers actually showcased early muscle from its novice class, which posted four of the fastest nine MIT times. John Cooley finished fourth for MIT (6:30.0), while Rob Figiuerdo (6:30.7) completed the circuit just back of Cooley. Ian Collier recorded the fastest split for Tech's lightweights with a time of 6:43.3.


Race History


In the beginning, CRASH-B was a group of 1976-1980 US Olympic and World Team athletes who lurked on the Charles River, never rowing the same lineup twice, never practicing before a race, always jumping the start against Harvard and having a lot of fun too.

The 1980 U.S. boycott of the Olympics was not fun though, and about the same time Concept2 invented their later-named Model A rowing ergometer, the one with the bicycle wheel, a wooden handle and an odometer. The guys (and a few gals) of CRASH-B, led by the likes of Tiff Wood, Dick Cashin, Jake Everett and Holly Hatton, formed a fun little regatta of about twenty rowers in Harvard's Newell Boathouse, to break up the monotony of winter training.

Within a few short years CRASH-B grew into the international world indoor rowing championships it is now. The regatta outgrew Newell, and then the IAB (the Indoor Athletic Building, now MAC, the Malkin Athletic Center), the QRAC (Radcliffe Quadrangle Athletic Center), moving to MIT's Rockwell Cage for many years. In 1995 the regatta moved to Harvard's Indoor Track Facility, perhaps three times the size of Rockwell Cage. And in 1997 CRASH-B moved to an even larger and ultra-modern facility, the Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center at Roxbury Community College.

In the late 1980s, when Tiff Wood and his wife Kristy Aserlind moved to Seattle, Kurt Somerville, a member of the 1980 US Olympic Eight, took over as Commodore. A few years ago, when he wasn't looking, we decided we liked him so much we elected him Commodore for Life.

In the very beginning, the race was five miles on the Concept2 Model A ergometer, which had an odometer and a bicycle wheel. From the introduction of the Model B ergometer in the mid-1980s through 1995, the big race in mid-February was 2,500 meters on the new digital display, because the times were comparable even with the equipment change. To meet the specific training demands of international coaches who stress 6K and 2K rankings in the winter, starting with the 1996 World Indoor Rowing Championships the distance was moved to 2,000m. The race is rowed on the latest Concept2 Model C ergometers, which are used by athletes by universities, clubs, schools and national teams around the globe. Although CRASH-B as an organization maintains an untraditional irreverence to all things that are not fun, nonetheless this ergometer has become serious business, threatening to replace fun with pain, unless you can equate the two.