Luke Pollock needed a senior project. So he decided to break a world record.
The Lakeside senior and his teammates on the Augusta Junior Rowing Club broke Concept2's record for the most meters rowed in a 24-hour period by a small team of junior men. "Small team" means that there must be between three and 10 members, and "junior" means that each member must be between 10 and 19 years old.
The old record of 348,000 meters was set by a previous team from Augusta. Pollock's team rowed 366,565 meters in 24 hours.
Pollock was joined by Chris Kemp, Thomas Evans, Mark Wagner, Sam Pollock, Jake Jarriel, Nolan Klinke, Jonathan Horton, Will Hopkins and A.J. Doak.
Luke Pollock said that when he and a teammate talked about the attempt beforehand, they believed that if each team member was committed to the project, they could "kill" the record.
"We just didn't expect to kill it by as much as we did," he said.
The previous record was set in June 2004. The new record was set on Jan. 20. The team started at 7:30 a.m. and ended at 7:30 the next morning.
The feat was accomplished on an indoor rowing machine manufactured by Concept2. The machine is equipped with a monitor that calculates a variety of statistics such as distance, speed, calories burned, etc.
The one-man machine has a fan attached, which is pulled by a chain attached to the oars. To qualify for the record, the fan could not stop for 24 hours. The team members rotated every five to 10 minutes to accomplish this. After around 10 p.m., the team split into two groups that alternated every two hours. One group rested and slept while the other rowed.
The team used Pollock's personal machine, which they set up at a coach's house.
"We all signed (the machine)," he said.
Pollock said he had originally planned to teach a class to row for his senior project.
"But I couldn't find enough people to sign up for it to make it a valid product," he said.
He'd already turned in the required paper he'd written about rowing, and he couldn't change his topic. But he said he couldn't improve on something he already knew how to do, such as improving his speed.
"I just decided to break the record," he said.
Pollock said he hopes his team's accomplishment will draw more people to the sport, which he said is more challenging than many people realize.
"Spring races are 2,000 meters and it takes six-and-a-half to seven minutes nonstop. You can't stop," he said.
He also said it's the ultimate team sport.
"If one guy slacks off, it's not like an extra five yards on a football play," he said. "It's the race."
Reach Lisa Kaylor at firstname.lastname@example.org.