Liv Lueneberger (’21) breaks J-16 10km erg world record

Jasmin Taylor, Staff Writer

Liv Lueneburger (’21) had no idea that her first 10km erg race would be fast enough to break the J-16 world record, but on April 4, she accomplished just that.

Lueneburger didn’t expect to break it going into her attempt, but she was feeling strong throughout and decided to go for it. “I wasn’t sure if I could do it because it was my first 10k[m], so I didn’t know what to aim for, but towards the middle when I was in the 2:10 m/500m range in my split I just knew I could keep going,” Lueneburger said.

Lueneburger beat the previous world record, 44 minutes and 38 seconds, by over a minute with a time of 43 minutes and 33 seconds. “It felt so good,” she said.

In order to prepare for the record-breaking session, Lueneburger trained and erged multiple 20-minute rows in previous crew practices.

Lueneburger also made sure to focus on her nutrition leading up to her attempt at the world record, legitimised by Concept 2 the official producer of indoor rowing machines. On the day, Lueneburger ate a lot of carbohydrates in order to maximize the amount of energy stored in the muscles and decided to erg (to row on an indoor rowing machine) after school in the Blue Gym.

When it came to her record-breaking row, Lueneburger’s pace increased as she continued the race. She started off sprinting the first minute, but then stayed at the previous world record pace. “Originally, I just wanted to go below 2:13 because that was the current record, but then towards the middle, I didn’t really feel that much pain, so I took it down to 2:11 and then to 2:10. And then the last minute is just going all out,” Lueneburger said.

After breaking the world record, Lueneburger broke the news to her father, who previously rowed for Purdue University’s heavyweight rowing team, and the only person she talked to about the possibility of a world record, as well as her coaches who were all extremely excited and proud of her. Since it was a Thursday, Lueneburger’s coaches were not at school as there are no sports practices on Thursdays.

Although her coaches, (Stuart Heap, Tim Male, Julie Lewis, Will Golding and Matilda Horn) were not in attendance when she broke the world record, Lueneburger attributes her progress in crew to their coaching. “My coaches have helped me get better in terms of technique, endurance, and strength…not only my body but also in terms of strength of mind,” she said. “Crew is a really difficult sport because you sit in a boat or on an erg, and repeat the same movements, trying to maintain a certain speed while pushing through the increasing pain you begin to feel. There are no distractions or games.”

Lueneburger is not the only athlete on the crew team to break an erg world record: Matthew Hansen (‘21) similarly broke the U-16 10km erg world record on March 27. Lueneburger credits this to her team’s strength in erging compared to on the water training, as she believes the ASL team has much more practice compared to other teams.

In the future, Lueneburger aims to beat her own record with a 2:08 split in her next 10km erg.