|C2 monitor from OUBC test, via @OUBCsquad (Screen capture)|
The answer, it would appear, is yes. (And we should have seen this coming.)
The above photo, from a tweet via the official Oxford University Boat Club handle, shows a Concept2 monitor following a 5,000m test, with the remarkable score of 14:51.0—a full 5.4 seconds faster than the recent (and also extremely impressive) result of 14:56.4 by Eric Murray of the Kiwi Pair earlier this week, which was hailed as a new world record by Concept2.
Now, there are a few key things to notice here—first, the mystery Oxford rower later revealed himself as Constantine Louloudis, stroke of the GB men's eight at the London Olympics.
5000m erg complete for another year, done a little differently but still bloody tough.... @concept2 #Rio2016 pic.twitter.com/pRqRXsUKuh— KIWIPAIR-EricMurray (@kiwipair) November 15, 2015
As you can see, the score below is from February of 2015, while Louloudis and OUBC were in full-on training mode for the Oxford and Cambridge Boat Races—and, RR contributor and OUBC teammate Mike DiSanto hinted at this in a post here on RowingRelated at the time.
@kiwipair @concept2 Great job Eric! A few seconds quicker and it would've been an OUBC record... #Guesswho? #Dynamic pic.twitter.com/bEOUj8RnZP— OUBC Squad (@OUBCsquad) November 17, 2015
Another thing to note is the hashtag—it appears Louloudis did his test on a C2 Dynamic, while Murray did his test on a stationary C2 placed on sliders. Interesting, as Murray has previously tested on both the C2 Dynamic erg and the standard, stationary C2 ergometer—variety is the spice of life, they say.
And, lastly, both Louloudis and Murray took all of this erg banter in stride.
It's cheeky, but it's no joke—with stats like these, sub-5:40 is certainly within the realm of possibility, and we saw two athletes (that we know of) break 5:40 for 2,000m last year, in the form of Conlin McCabe of Canada (read his take on preparing for 2k test day here), and Aussie Olympian Joshua Dunkley-Smith—our RoRy Award winner for Best Male Athlete in 2015.
We've still got more than a month to go before 2016, but given these kinds of performances, it's obvious that the best of the best in rowing are already prepared to bring their A-game to an Olympic year. Or, in the words of DiSanto, they're already going #stupidfast.