The Diamonds (Over Sixties Erging Group) Affiliation | Concept2

The Diamonds (Over Sixties Erging Group) Affiliation

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Apr 10, 2024

THe Diamonds team
Some of The Diamonds affiliation members meeting up at the Irish Indoor Rowing Championships. Affiliation Captain Rod Chinn is front row center.

Our free Concept2 Online Logbook allows you to record your workouts and keep track of your total metres. You can also use the online logbook to check your progress in our Distance Award Clubs and take part in our online challenges. You likely know this already! But did you know you can create or join an affiliation of Concept2 users who share common interests or goals? What's more, the Concept2 Affiliation Standings are a year-round event for Online Logbook users that are members of an affiliation.

Whether it’s two people or 2000, an affiliation can be made up of members of a health club, rowing club, school or university, to name a few, or can be a virtual affiliation made up of people from anywhere in the world with a common thread that binds them together. One such affiliation is The Diamonds (Over Sixties Erging Group) that continues to blow us away with not only their sheer numbers but also by their dedication to their fitness and to each other.

Their affiliation profile reads: “We are The Diamonds (Over Sixties Erging Group) a collection of C2 Ergers over the age (with many being a long way over!) of 59 before the end of this [ranking] season, so in, or over, our 60th year. The older we get, the more competitive we become!”

With 2222 active members, The Diamonds have accumulated 2.4 billion metres this ranking season! (The ranking season is April 30–May 1.)

We got the chance to speak with Rod Chinn, captain of the The Diamonds affiliation, about how this group came to be and continues to be.

What is your background in sport/rowing?
I’ve always competed in many sports. I started as a runner at 10 and I still do it!
I’ve also played soccer (goalkeeper…and still play!), rugby, Australian rules football (I played for Britain at that) and Gaelic football, although I should stress that I am English!

I started rowing on a Concept2 machine in 2006 when my wife and I joined a gym near a house we had recently moved into. We enjoyed using the Concept2 indoor rowers we found there.

catherine and rod chinn
Carol Woodward and Rod Chinn at the British Rowing Indoor Championships.

I found using the indoor rowers so much fun that I added it to the list of sports I enjoy taking part in. Since taking up indoor rowing I’ve won the British Indoor Rowing Championships and have set national and world records, as well winning three silver medals at the World Rowing Indoor Championships. There is plenty to train for and keep me busy including running The Diamonds (Over Sixties Erging Group). With over 2000 members this can take up a lot of time, but I enjoy every minute of it! I’m not even the best rower in my house though, as I am married to Carol Woodward who has won the World Rowing Indoor Championships many times and has more British and world records than me!

How did The Diamonds get started?
We started in 2015 as a group of British people who got together to set an over 60s mixed team world record for the 100k relay. A Facebook group was started to enable communication between the relay team members. From there, it grew to a worldwide team of people over 60 years old, as word spread of our existence and what we offer: support, camaraderie and competition into the later years of life. Much better than just sitting back and putting your feet up!

How did you choose the name The Diamonds?
A ‘’Diamond’’ wedding anniversary is the 60th so it comes from that, as we’re a team for people in their sixtieth year and beyond.

How do you recruit other members?
We receive applications regularly from people who turn 60 (or 59, as then you are in your sixtieth year!) and have seen us on the various Concept2 competitions such as the Affiliation Standings, the Workout of the Day (WOD), online team challenges, the Cross Team Challenge (CTC) and the Concept2 Ranking. I also get to know a lot of people, as I go to competitions and am very active on social media. Sometimes I invite people that don’t have an affiliation. I post on Facebook to let people know about us and the benefits we offer members, and that that anyone of the right age can join.

Is there regular communication among members?
Yes, there is a lot! “Chat” is our byword as we stress that it’s good to talk. We have a very active Facebook group, our own Chat Forum and a YouTube Channel. As well as regular informational posts on the Facebook Group/Chat Forum, I send out a weekly roundup email to all team members through the Concept2 affiliation broadcast system. Everyone gets to feel and know that they are part of a team, and are kept informed of all activities, competitions, challenges, etc. We also encourage anyone to ask questions so that information can be shared and discussed.

Can you share a remarkable member story?
We have many remarkable members but one that stands out is Howard Tisdall. Howard has completed just over 18 million metres on the BikeErg for the season and is still going strong! Our oldest member is 96-year-old Otto Appenzeller of Albuquerque, New Mexico, and he’s still going strong, too!

How does training change as you get older?
Well, it certainly doesn’t get any less painful! The intensity of effort is still there but allowing for good recovery becomes more important, so fewer hard sessions and more medium paced ones. Using heart rate to control effort levels can also be very beneficial.

Do you have advice for people starting out?
I’d say do your research by looking at the Concept2 website and YouTube channel, seek out the advice of an experienced rower/coach or join a team that offers help and guidance. Knowing how to set up your machine with the right drag factor and foot position are also very important, as is overall technique. Certainly, there is no need to go too fast too soon.

Is there a target metre total for the 2024 season?
Oh, yes, and we have already surpassed it! At the start of the season, I asked if we could have the ambition of reaching two billion metres, having gotten close last season with 1.93 billion. The answer from the team was a resounding YES!
Well, they were right, as at the time of writing this, we are sitting proudly on 2.4 billon metres and growing fast every day. We are now trying our best to set the best total we can!

Anything else you want to tell us?
We clock up more metres than any other team, and if we match numbers with any team, our average per member is the highest. We also score very well in the monthly Cross Team Challenge against open age teams while still making sure we look after each other and teach new ergers how to enjoy the sport and improve their performances (if they want), or how to take it steady and enjoy some gentle exercise.

There is plenty for everyone in the team, so it almost makes it worthwhile to get older! I certainly get many people saying that they can’t wait for their “senior” birthday so they can join us, which is very different to the usual dread of the years passing!

If you have any questions or wish to join the group, Rod welcomes your email. Contact Rod Chinn

How to Participate in an Affiliation

To be included in the Affiliation Standings, participants must have an online logbook and select an affiliation in their profile settings. Once that’s been done, any metres by that participant will count towards the standings. If you'd like to add an affiliation, please email

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