There is a world record attempt happening right under our noses at the 2017 Aon Sydney International Rowing Regatta! Michelle Lee is attempting to be the fastest woman to row a million metres indoors, and has set up base in The Regatta Village at the Sydney International Rowing Centre. Michelle will be hopping on the erg at 6am and rowing for 16 hours a day throughout the event, with short breaks every three hours.
Michelle is attempting the world record with an even bigger goal in mind. In December this year, Michelle is aiming to compete in ‘the world’s toughest row’ – The Taliska Whiskey Atlantic Challenge. This will be another record attempt for the 44 year-old, as, if successful, she will become the first Australian female to row solo across the Atlantic Ocean.
Despite the mercury hitting 31 degrees Celsius today, Michelle has been well catered for by her support crew and sponsors with air conditioning in the tent, frequent feedings of water and a Zooper Dooper or two.
After completing eight hours on the erg, Michelle was loving the atmosphere at the regatta and feeling energised and confident for the week ahead. “It’s the best place to attempt a world record about rowing. A great vibe, great energy, people stopping by… I’m feeling really good!
“This training, for six months has added an additional 26 hours to my working week. It’s been a relentless schedule, I had to row Christmas Day for six hours, but it’s all worth it.
Believe it or not, Michelle had never rowed until October 2016. Previously a lover of team sports and sprint events, Michelle was inspired to get involved in rowing after reading ‘Rowing the Atlantic’, a book by Roz Savage. “That book and the notion of rowing the ocean has plagued me ever since,” said Michelle.
Michelle has a strong support team, including Andrew Abrahams, who holds the world record for the Taliska Whiskey Atlantic Challenge and is also the fastest man in the world to row a million metres on an erg. He has been coaching and mentoring Michelle since she first started training.
“Michelle’s a fast learner, she’s been rowing really well. It’s very hard to sit on that rowing machine for a long time, you just want to go and get it done, especially when you’re an experienced rower. But Michelle hadn’t rowed before she started this, so she can hold her pace a bit easier,” said Andrew.
There’s a busy schedule ahead for Michelle once she has ticked over the million metres, gathering support from sponsors and finishing off the boat and preparing for the Atlantic conditions to name a few of the challenges that lie ahead for her. “I’ll be on the water and a lot of my rowing will take place through Sydney Harbour,” she added.
Michelle is planning to spend the month of August out at sea on her boat before she ships it to the start line at San Sebastian in La Gomera, Spain. “Life on board will be based around 12 hours on, 12 hours off. And the more time I can spend at sea, the better prepared I will be come December,” said Michelle.
Her ambition and dedication to make the million metre world record can’t be questioned.
“I’m hoping to inspire and motivate, especially women, that you can do anything, you can achieve anything. I’ve never rowed before, and here I am doing a world record attempt!”
You can follow Michelle’s movements on her Facebook page, ‘Different Worlds – Michelle’s Solo Atlantic Ocean Row’.