Unlike Stephansen, Grobler is relatively new
to the erg, only picking up rowing four years ago.
Grobler chose a long drive and low stroke rate
in comparison to Stephansen’s high rating style.
“When I go into a 2,000m erg piece I lock on and
hit the catch with as much power per stroke as I
can muster,” says Grobler. “I try to rest as much as
possible from stroke to stroke and pray to God
that I don’t stress my rib, again.”
Grobler believes her potential is only just being
realised.”I believe I could break 6:50 at lightweight
if I prepare for it with my coach, Carlos Dinares.
So far I have put priority on water performance.
My erging goals are to learn to compete, but we
don’t prepare for racing on the erg.”
Balmary was France’s top single sculler through the
last Olympic cycle and has recently had a baby so
is taking time out from competitive rowing. She
believes there’s definitely room to go faster.
“My main advantage is that I don’t train on the
C2, thus I don’t get injured and can keep training
on the water,” says Grobler. “I think I’m training
in a methodology that is different from what
other rowers are doing. I’m motivated to reach
excellence with my performance through rowing.”
Dunne believes the open women’s record will
be the next to fall. The record has been held by
France’s Sophie Balmary since 2006 when she
set 6:28.4, breaking the 2002 record 0.2 seconds
slower of Georgina Evers-Swindell (NZL). Balmary
has already gone faster. Her personal best set in
2007 is 6: 24. 4 and Dunne says there are six women
who have gone under 6:30 including Olympic
medallists from Great Britain Sarah Winckless and
As world records can only be set at Concept2
sanctioned events where a witness is present,
there is a chance that rowers from non-western
countries may be flying under the radar, but
Dunne thinks that is unlikely. “If someone breaks
a record they want to advertise it,” says Dunne,
“because it gets people scared on the water when
they see a record holder line up beside them.”
Dunne, however, says there is a chance that there
are some Chinese lightweight women who are
close to the mark.
Since 1993 the Concept2 rowing machine has
developed through a series of updated models
– model C, D and E, but Concept2’s customer
development manager, Meredith Haff says it has
made no difference to the potential speed.