Hamilton College Rowers Set Apparent Distance-Rowing Record
HUDSON, N.Y. (AP) _ A weary but triumphant crew team returned Wednesday to Hamilton College after rowing about 148 miles in two days to raise money for a boathouse and set an unofficial record.
″We were just exhausted,″ said Chris Daniels, a senior and coach for the nine-member crew. ″But we’re exhilarated because we broke the record. We’re going to rest and sleep today and break out the champagne tomorrow. It’s something that you never really forget the rest of your life.
″It’s amazing the way people become such close friends; I guess that’s what two days in a boat will do,″ he said.
The crew arrived back on campus in the village of Clinton early Wednesday. They spent about 161/2 hours on the water, leaving only to sleep for four hours Tuesday night, Daniels said.
″They decided to quit about 8:30 p.m. (Tuesday), but they kept going until 10:20 p.m. That’s when they finally left the water ... after they made sure they had the record,″ he said.
The crew had planned to row 270 miles on the state Barge Canal and the Hudson River, arriving in Manhattan on Thursday, but found the attempt impossible.
A parent of one rower said the team had to be lifted from the eight-oared shell, which is 60 feet long and weighs about 250 pounds when empty, said Hamilton spokesman John Webber.
The previous record, 130 miles on the Thames River, was set by a crew from England’s Oxford University early in the 1970s, Daniels said.
Daniels, who did not row, said the exertion of rowing at 24 strokes per minute forced them to leave the water earlier than planned. The team had been making about 8 mph but crawled along at about 6 mph for the final two hours.
The 2-year-old crew program at Hamilton, which has about 1,600 students, is student-run. Pledges of $12,000 were collected for the new boathouse.