“Machine-like rowing”, “A monster of a score!”, “Sangster crushed it!” - just a few of the commentator remarks describing the performance of the current World Indoor Rowing Champion, Andy Sangster, at this year’s competition.
Andy, who trains at Grimsby Leisure Centre, cruised to victory in the 2000m, 60–64-year age category with a remarkable time of 6 minutes, 29.7 seconds.
The Championships were held in February, with the top three qualifiers from each of the five continents battling it out for the prestigious title.
Initially due to take place in Hamburg, the event took place virtually amidst COVID precautions, with competitors from across the globe using race software to connect their rowers to a live feed.
Andy said: “To do this sort of thing you have to be totally focused. I love the process of preparing for a race and working out a training plan. At the start, the goals seem far off, but through interval training, times gradually start getting faster.
“It can become an obsession and you start to feel bad if you skip a day. You want to do yourself justice and know you’ve given it your all. Anyone can just turn up for a race, but the months of work that goes in behind the scenes is where the real work takes place.
There’s a big mental side to it, especially during the race. Things can get in your head, but you’ve got to stick to your own plan and not worry what anyone else is doing.Andy Sangster World Indoor Rowing Champion
Andy swims 1500m three times per week and rows 10km six days per week, with one rest day. He trains intervals Monday, Wednesday and Friday, using the other days as a steady 10km row.
“For me the secret is not doing all the same thing. If I was just rowing and nothing else, it would be monotonous.” Andy added.
Another of Andy’s passions is cycling. In 2013 he cycled from Cleethorpes to Sydney, Australia in nine months. His adventures didn’t stop there. In 2019, he cycled from Vancouver, Canada down to the Mexican Border, a total of 1,848 miles along Pacific Coast. Andy said:
“We camped along the way and carried all the gear with us – food, clothes, tent, sleeping bag. A lot of folk can’t do it, so if you’re fit enough, my advice would be “go for it!”
“It forces you out of your shell. You’re completely self-sufficient – you’re not just a cyclist, you’re a mechanic, map reader, communicator and cook.”
The full Indoor Rowing Championships are available to view on YouTube, with Andy’s category featuring at five hours. For Andy’s winning reaction skip to 05:07:37 and for his interview skip to 05:22:45.
Next year’s competition takes place in Toronto, Canada, where Andy hopes to defend his title – watch this space!