Gosport's HMS Sultan rows into the history books with back-to-back world records
ARMED forces personnel rowed their way into the history books after clinching back-to-back world records.
The combined tri-service team of serving and retired personnel at HMS Sultan in Gosport showed grit and determination as they tackled the 100,000-metre indoor rowing attempt – smashing the previous record by 10 minutes.
The squad not only set a new world record in the Concept2 30-39 years category, but trounced the previous British record time too.
The remarkable achievement comes 13 months after men and women from Sultan broke the world record for the furthest distance rowed in 24 hours, racking up more than 450,000 metres.
Commander Sophie Shaughnessy, Sultan’s executive officer, was stunned by the team’s latest effort.
‘To achieve one British and world record here was a massive achievement, but two in the space of two years is just phenomenal and I understand they have other records in their sights,’ she said,
‘Their success in 2015 and then again in 2016, means we are already looking forwards to further success in 2017.’
The team, made up of members of the navy, Royal Air Force and the Sub7 indoor rowing club, had been preparing to beat a time of 5hrs 43secs set in 2013.
But they had to ramp up their efforts after a 19-strong French indoor rowing team smashed this just days before the event, recording a new record of 4hrs 44mins.
Undeterred, Sultan’s team pushed itself to the limit, finishing the distance in 4hrs 34mins 45sec.
Corporal Rob Jones was part of the 2015 record-breaking attempt as well as this year’s.
He said: ‘It was a surprise to hear about the new world record that the French had set leading in to the challenge, but it didn’t put us off.
‘We wanted to raise the profile of indoor rowing within the armed forces.
‘With the whole team associated with the services in one way or another, we were delighted to be able to complete the task within the military environment.
‘Once we got past the half-way mark in good time, we knew it was ours to lose and we just pushed on in.
‘The last 10km were just a blur really, but we got where we wanted to be and with time to spare.’