In a world first, RowPro was used to run the Venue Races at the 2009 Adaptive Indoor Rowing Challenge (AIR-C) hosted by Community Rowing at the new Harry Parker Boathouse on the Charles River in Boston.
Twelve adaptive athletes participated, including Beijing Paralympians Scott Brown and Laura Schwanger. Events included 500m and 1,000m singles, followed by a first ever 500m adaptive doubles race where athletes were computer-matched into doubles with almost equal performance levels.
Athletes, spectators and media watched the racing on a large RowPro 3D display showing the competitors in single and double sculls in a classic on-water rowing regatta scene.
Despite early nerves, the athletes quickly settled into their work, cheered on by the enthusiastic crowd and by race commentator Gary Piantedosi.
"The 3D racing really blew people away" said Digital Rowing President Pete Loeffen. "We used the new RowPro 3.0 with its live water, and people had just never seen anything like it."
Between the singles and doubles races, Digital Rowing and Concept2 used RowPro to demonstrate an Online Rowing race with participants in Boston, USA and Auckland, New Zealand.
"We see a combination of Venue and Online Racing as a natural way to extend participation in adaptive rowing events" said Pete Loeffen. "This is a practical way to enable more athletes to participate. It also enables challenge organizers like Community Rowing to gain the critical mass of participants in each adaptive rowing class to make every race an exciting competition."
Community Rowing intends to make the Adaptive Indoor Rowing Challenge an annual event in its calendar.