Setting a New Standard: International Rowers Lighting It Up On Land In 2015

It's that time of year again (Photo by Eigenberg Fotografie/Flickr)

Given that we cover a water sport, it has been an impressive year on dry land.

Looking all the way back to the 2015 Crash-B Sprints in Boston, a new star was born in Greek phenomenon Sofia Asoumanaki, obliterating the previous world record for junior women (6:33.9 in 2004) by nearly a full second on the split. Here's what we said at the time:
While the there was no shortage of drama in the men's open final at the 2015 Crash-B Sprints World Indoor Rowing Championship, the deepest field, and most impressive performances overall, came from the junior women. I hesitate to say junior, because, as has seemingly become the norm at Crash-Bs, there was nothing 'junior' about these performances. And while there was one result that absolutely topped them all—the phenomenal 6:30.2 from Greece's Sophia Asoumanaki (roughly 13 seconds faster than open women's champion Kaisa Pajusalu of Estonia, who won Crash-Bs for the third time on Sunday)—the field was the deepest in Boston as well, with no fewer than seven women under seven minutes. (Not that we need to let any NCAA recruiters know that stat.)
In case you need a refresher, here's what the scene looked like in Boston.

And while we're all familiar with that pithy phrase, "ergs don't float," well, this one did. Not only did Asoumanaki go on to win a silver medal in the women's single at junior worlds in Rio, she teamed up with Aikaterini Nikolaidou to score a silver medal in the women's double at the 2015 World Rowing Championships in Aiguebelette, capping off a season that saw Asoumanaki take home our prestigious RoRy Award for Female Athlete of the Year at the junior level. While Asoumanaki may not have been a household name in March, her performance in France has her poised to change all that in 2016.

Asoumanaki's performance followed closely upon a new world record at the senior level, with Ukraine's Olena Buryak crushing the European Indoor Rowing Championships, posting a 6:25.0 2k. Also, around that time—and as was revealed only recently—the Oxford University Boat Club men were testing in preparation for the Boat Races. And the results were...impressive.

Constantine Louloudis, stroke of the bronze medal-winning GB men's eight in 2012, 'unofficially' broke the world record for 5k, on a dynamic erg, posting a 14:51.0. This came to light only after Eric Murray of the Kiwi Pair officially broke the world record for 5k on sliders, posting a 14:56.4.

The results have led to endless speculation about how much of an advantage sliders offer versus the Concept2 Dynamic erg—maybe that's why Australian Olympian Joshua Dunkley-Smith decided to keep it simple for all of us and post a 15:10 5k on a stationary erg this week.

And, it's the second time this year that JDS has smashed his way through a piece at record pace on a stationary erg—remember when he did this?

With a 5:39.6, JDS crushed his own Aussie record for 2k. And doing it on a stationary erg with bare feet? That's just about as badass as it gets. Add a silver medal in the men's four at worlds, and you start to understand why this guy took home the 2015 RoRy Award for Male Athlete of the Year at the elite level.

Dunkley-Smith's sub-5:40 performance followed quickly upon that of Canadian Olympian Conlin McCabe, who edged JDS by just 0.2 seconds with a 5:39.4. (Read McCabe's guide to getting ready for erg testing here.)

A photo posted by rowingrelated (@rowingrelated) on

But rowers haven't only been making waves on the ergometer—just last night (PST), Olympic rowing legend Drew Ginn also took on the world record for most kilometers in a 24-hour period, and raised money for charity along the way. Incredibly, Ginn covered more than 830km on the bike, circling the Brunswick Velodrome in Melbourne, but fell short of the 890km world record held by Marko Baloh of Slovenia. Still, Ginn's 836.36km set a new Australian record, and, he appears to have blown away his fundraising goal of $20,000, with the Victoria Institute of Sport reporting via Instagram that he raised $32k in the effort.

According to this story from The Advertiser, Ginn was inspired to take on this challenge in honor of his mother, raising money for the Tour de Cure.

All this, and the 2015-2016 indoor rowing season is only just beginning here in the Northern Hemisphere! We're looking forward to seeing more records falling this winter. So, the only question that remains is, who's next?

Updated 30 November, 2015.


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