RP3 Rowing has taken the first big step in bringing rowing into the world of eSports and like everything from RP3 Rowing, it's been designed to replicate rowing on the water.
It started with a trial matchup between the University of Washington and the Dutch Men's Development squad who raced each other live in virtual 8s whilst on opposite sides of the world. Washington won this race in a time of 6:03 whilst the Dutch came in as runners up in a time of 6:07.
The race was conducted on linked up RP3Ts, rowers had to move together as the software averaged their individual scores, accounted for the athletes' body weights, and adjusted for boat type to in this case estimate the speed they would be going in an 8+.
The next race saw a clash of titans in single sculling as German giant Ollie Zeidler raced Sverri Nielson of Denmark, a man who had been in fine form in the single in 2019.
Zeidler won in a time of 6:43.78 and Nielson finished with a time of 6:49.49. They raced on splits adjusted for body weight and the speed of a single scull. Interestingly, the fastest time Zeidler had achieved racing his single on the water was 6:43.29 during the 2018 Lucerne semifinal, incredibly similar to his score on the RP3.
Zeidler vs Nielson was only the first round of a FISA sanctioned series of e-races. RP3 Rowing plans to host more races between international crews, universities, clubs, and individuals.
"The goal is to have monthly indoor rowing races between elite rowers - men and women - from different countries in different set-ups (singles, doubles, fours, eights) and over different distances (500m sprints, 1000m or 2000m) live-streamed on World Rowing social media channels,” says Jan Lammers, CEO of RP3 Rowing.
Ultimately, RP3 e-Racing could be the software that brings rowing into the world of virtual competition seen successfully in cycling and Formula 1.