Australian athlete accidentally shatters world record at home

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·Sports Editor
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Georgie Rowe (fourth from right), in action for Australia at the 2019 World Rowing Championships. (Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images)
Georgie Rowe (fourth from right), in action for Australia at the 2019 World Rowing Championships. (Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images)

Australia’s Georgina Rowe is now the proud new owner of the world record for fastest half-marathon recorded by a woman on an indoor rowing machine.

Not that she intended to break the record.

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The Australian rower put aside the disappointment of having her Olympics dream put on hold by the postponement of the Tokyo Olympics by writing her name into the record books over the weekend.

Rowe sat down on her Concept 2 rowing machine on Saturday morning to simply “get some kilometres up” while training in isolation at home.

But after an hour and 19 minutes she stood up as a new world record holder.

Her time of 1.19:28.40 over the 21 kilometres broke the previous world record by more than 40 seconds.

American Olympic champion Esther Lofgren held the record for five years with her time of 1:20:12.10.

Rowe didn’t even know what the record was

Rowe was taking part in a national training program designed to fill the void after the national championships were cancelled.

Rowing Australia had organised an indoor rowing competition instead, with athletes from each state competing against each other on home rowing machines.

“To be honest, I just wanted to get some kilometres up for NSW in the interstate indoor regatta,” she told the ABC.

“It was just a good way to do it — put on 21km, put some music on and just go for it.”

Rowe admitted she didn’t even know what the world record time was before going about her work on Saturday.

Technicality in official world record attempt

The only hitch in Rowe being officially crowned the world record holder is her decision to row for longer than the mark recognised on Concept 2 machines.

Rowe said she thought a half marathon was 21,097.5m, setting her machine to 21,098m for good measure.

However Concept 2’s recognised mark is 21,097m, a technicality that means the world record is yet to be made official.

But the 27-year-old isn’t worried.

“It’s really cool and they are hard and I just love doing the machines,” she said.

“Whether it is a world record or not, I just wanted to get the metres up for my state.”

Rowe has now set her sights on qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics - now set to take place in 2021.

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