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Come Row with British and World Record Holder, Andrew Hammond!

NRC is proud to have world ultra distance record holder, Andrew Hammond, coach our upcoming NRC indoor erg fitness winter conditioning classes held on Tuesdays and Thursdays from January 17th - March 16th.

On March 29, 2011 and ending March 30, 2011, Andrew earned the 24-hour World (under 19 lightweight) Concept 2 indoor rowing record while representing Solent University Boat Club Southhampton, UK. He rowed 165 miles (265,380 meters) in 24 hours and continues to hold the British and World record for this division. The event also raised money for the charity “Help for Heroes.” Andrew was allowed only a 5-minute break per hour to recharge!

What does it take to win a challenge that is comparable to running five back-to-back marathons? Just buckets of sweat, searing blisters, drive, focus, determination, and a healthy dose of insanity. Andrew trained for three months and rowed over one million meters in just two months!

Andrew’s path to rowing for gold on both land and water highlights the rewards of discipline and the sheer will to break records. Undeterred by setbacks along the way, Andrew has forged a remarkable career record of wins and achievements. As a 9-year-old, Andrew watched his older sister, Laura, at a Scottish race event row an erg and decided to “give it a go” himself. He ended up winning the junior under-10 division and was hooked. At 15, he began rowing competitively and began entering national erg rowing competitions. He caught the eye of Coach Arnold Cooke and was swept into the “world class start program” which identifies and develops future potential Olympian rowers. Unfortunately, he was cut from the program purely due to not being tall enough.

Undiscouraged, Andrew carried on. Since there was no on-the-water racing program as a school student at 16; he continued erging on land and did well on the national level in the 500m catagories-virtually training without a coach. (Winning 500m lightweight gold medals at the Welsh, Scottish & English Championships). When he went on to university, their rowing program was an underdog. It was a small, underfunded, under-recognized, understaffed rowing team. So, once again, in his first year he focused on the erg which led to breaking the world record at 19. The following year he started rowing nationally.

Peter Sheppard, a young British coach saw him do the 2k erg and asked him, “Why haven’t you tried out (for the UK National Rowing Team)?” Invited to open-water trials racing in a double, Andrew quickly made the national team by age 21 and joined the UK Olympic Rowing Team at the U.S. Crash B’s indoor erg event; Andrew placed 21st in the world. He raced on the water for England thereafter. During his Senior year he raced 4+'s and 2x's. He and his teammates won the Henley Head Race intermediate (4+'s) and the UK Southcoast championship. When he rowed on the water in his last year, his university put together a Freshman 8+ and his underdog University rowing team started getting noticed. Andrew was not a member, but the crew drew immediate attention when the “who are you?” and “you don’t belong here” crews with their “scabby boats” (1 of 100 crews) in a timed trial trounced all including some very elite schools. They triumphed in a neck-and-neck (dead) heat with his school winning the final by a full 60 seconds! Sheer willpower and the underdog university team was no more! Likely, Andrew and his teammates had paved the way to a new era. The Solent University Club continues to thrive and is based at the Coalporters Rowing club on the river Itchen in Southhampton, UK.

As a graduate with a Sports Science (physiology) degree and applying all he knows to the sport, Andrew is a role model for anyone interested in rowing on or off the water. He is the first to say that rowing on an erg can be “oh so horrible”, but also “oh so effective” and rewarding! Only horrible if you row for 24 hours - fortunately, the NRC class is only an hour - and your body will thank you! Andrew now works for the UK Ministry of Defense, as a project manager, through an exchange program with Electric Boat in New London. Andrew is here to share his expertise with our rowing community. Please welcome him to our shores and come experience a taste of what it feels like going for gold.

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