How do you stop competition over erg times from ruining a friendship?
Just … don’t?
The only real suggestion I can offer is that someone in has to be the bigger person and remove themselves from the situation entirely. Make it clear to the other person that erg times are separate from the friendship and wanting to pulling a better time than someone isn’t indicative of anything other than dedication to the team and motivation towards getting in the best boat possible. I would say that if these people were really friends they would be encouraging each other to get the best times they can instead of letting something silly tear them apart. In the grand scheme of things, i.e. life, erg scores aren’t important. It’s really not worth ruining a friendship over something so trivial.