By Robert Whetstone
Brooke Army Medical Center Public Affairs
U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. - You won't find any waterborne crafts in the sport of indoor rowing. In fact, the only thing close to water you will see inside Clune Arena on the U.S. Air Force Academy campus is the sweat these warriors develop while competing in a new sport introduced to the 2018 Department of Defense Warrior Games.
The indoor rowing competition took place on June 9, 2018 and the athletes were more than ready to test each other, and themselves. "The toughest aspect is you have a bunch of people trying just as hard as you," said U.S. Army Capt. Stephen Levit. "You can see where they're at (on the rowing machine monitor) and you've got to dig down deep to work just as hard as them, or harder to beat them."
Athletes compete across six classification categories based on functional abilities, including impaired muscle power/range of movement, limb deficiency and visual impairment.
Based on athlete functional classification, athletes compete by use of upper-body-only categories, use of upper-body-and-trunk-only categories, or use of upper-body, trunk, and lower-body categories.
Indoor rowing events include a one-minute individual sprint race and four-minute individual endurance race. Athletes may compete in one or both events.
"I did the sprint and the four minute (race)," said U.S. Army Spc. Brent Garlic. "The sprint was like doing a one minute, all out, grueling, whatever you can think of that's hardest for you exercise wise. Think of doing that for a minute straight at max capacity. I was spent."
Athletes have to be in really good shape to compete in what seems to spectators, a short one or four minute race. "For me personally, my coach and I came up with a game plan and I don't let the numbers distract me," Levit said. I stuck to my game plan and I was happy with that."
There is technique involved, but speed could be the overwhelming factor in these races. "Technique can make you more efficient, but I guess if someone is really fast it doesn't matter how good your technique is," explained Levit. "You won't be able to catch them."
Garlic sees things a little differently. "It's a bit of technique - speed, and experience plays a part," he said. "As with anything, the way I look at it, it's all about heart and your mental ability. You've got to know that you're capable of doing certain things, and you got to go beyond that."
These Soldier/athletes have been going beyond their limit for nine days. They've been tested by the altitude and tested by the weather. Garlic says there are ways they go beyond their limit. "You push it; we've all done it," he said. "It started in basic training where you learned how to push yourself beyond boundaries that you didn't even know existed. That doesn't stop happening."
For more information on indoor rowing and the results of the event go to: https://dodwarriorgames.com/games-results/2018-results/