St Jo's boys row to world record

St Joseph's College students are celebrating today are it was confirmed that they are sporting world record breakers.

By Stuart Watson

St Joseph's College students are celebrating today are it was confirmed that they are sporting world record breakers.

Their record comes in the discipline of rowing after 100 rugby-playing students from the school beat the world high school record for completing one million metres on rowing machines.

The students, aged from 12 to 18 years, completed the gruelling distance in 15 hours, 10 minutes and 7.1 seconds, beating the previous record of 17 hours, 39 minutes and 25 seconds set by New York school Niskayuna.

The record, which is officiated by rowing machine makers Concept 2, has now been confirmed on the manufacturers' website.

Graham Richards, Director of Rugby at St Jospeh's, was the man behind the record attempt. He explained: “I had done a few marathon rowing events in the past so knew how successful they could be. We had just had our new fitness suite installed at the college so when I stumbled on upon the website with this record it would be a good idea.”

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The record-breaking attempt saw the college's rugby players, from year nine through to the college's first team, man four Concept 2 rowers.

In all, the 20 to 25 students on each machine covered a staggering distance of 250,000m over between 8pm on a Thursday evening and noon the following day.

The students rowed for one minute at a time with the aim of averaging 288m for each stint.

A carnival atmosphere surrounded them throughout the event, with fellow students providing inspirational music to keep their spirits up.

Six form students were on duty to monitor their progress and the PTA provided food and drink for the rowers and helpers throughout the night.

Richards said: “It wasn't just about the record, it was about giving the students a mass experience of achieving something together.

“I would encourage other schools, if they have four rowing machines, to try something like this because it builds such a fantastic spirit and togetherness in the students.

“I've been involved in quite a lot of things in my time, but this has to be one of the most satisfying experiences.

“I am already looking at what other records we might be able to go for next year. We probably won't go for this exact one again, but if we did I think we could easily take a good 30 minutes to an hour off of our time.”

Proceeds from the sponsorship of the event, which is anticipated to reach up to £5,000, will be split equally between a school rugby tour to South Africa in 2010 and the Lasallian Developing World Projects charity.