Rowing team vies for world record

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October 28, 2008

2:51 AM

The College of William and Mary Rowing Team tried to row its way into the world record books Saturday. “Power Your World,” a fundraiser held at Berret’s Seafood Restaurant and Taphouse Grill, attempted to raise not only money and support for the team but also awareness of environmental sustainability.

The main attraction of the day was an attempt to set a world record for the most people to row on a single rowing machine in a 12-hour period. This event marked the first time anybody has tried to complete this feat.

“We applied to set it with the Guinness Book of World Records, but they didn’t send a representative out,” rowing team president T.J. Wallin ’10 said. “So we taped the event to apply for the record ex-post facto.”

Rowing Vice President of Fundraising Craig White ’09 said the event was a success.

“We had about 300 people, from 6 to 60 years old, participate,” White said. “But we think that we’ll hold off on applying to set the record until next time. We want bigger numbers so that the record will be harder for challengers to beat.”

Throughout the day, the team provided information on the club, offered baked goods and sold team apparel and memorabilia.

“We decorated and sold recycled oars, mostly to local businesses, like Paul’s Deli, wanting to show support for our team,” Wallin said. “We raised enough money to cover the expenses for one of our huge out-of-state regattas.”

The afternoon’s event raised almost $3,000. More important to the team, however, was the restoration of communication between current and past rowers.

“One of the goals of the event was to establish contact with some of our alumni who had lost touch with the team,” rowing team secretary Justin de Benedictis-Kessner ’11 said.

Team members and alumni also collected abandoned recyclables in Walter J. Zable Stadium after the afternoon football game.

De Benedictis-Kessner said that despite low funding, the team is making headway in improving its national standing. The women’s Varsity Four took home fourth place medals Oct. 19 at the Head of the Charles Regatta in Boston, beating out Georgia Institute of Technology, Pennsylvania State University and the United States Military Academy. The annual event boasts a total of 7,500 individual participants and draws crew teams from all over the world.

Team members said that a lack of public communication keeps rowing from gaining the following that other campus club teams enjoy.

“Hopefully ‘Power Your World’ will clear up misconceptions people have about the team that keep us from getting attention,” White said.

According to him, 4 a.m. practices and lack of social lives seem to be the most common of these misconceptions.

“We don’t have practices until 5 p.m. most days,” Wallin said, “and it’s always a ton of fun with our group.”

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