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Last Updated: Saturday, 24 April, 2004, 14:41 GMT 15:41 UK
Rowing crew smash Thames record
The team
The team started their attempt at 0400 BST on Friday
A six-man rowing team from Surrey looks to have smashed the record for rowing the length of the River Thames.

The crew, from the Dittons Skiff and Punting Club, have completed the journey nearly eight hours faster than the previous record.

They had to row nearly 186 miles from Lechlade, Gloucestershire, to Southend Pier in Essex in less than 39 hours.

But the crew reached the finishing line on Saturday in a time below 31 hours, although it is still to be confirmed.

Three other records

The crew, which features an Olympic medallist, completed the course, known as the Giant Meander, at 1057 BST on Saturday, in a time given on their website as 30 hours, 57 minutes and 20 seconds.

They had dedicated their attempt to Norris McWhirter, the founder of the Guinness Book of Records, who died this week.

The existing record, set by a five-man crew from Lower Thames Rowing Club in 1993, stood at 38 hours and 43 minutes.

Norris McWhirter
The crew dedicated their attempt to Norris McWhirter

A crew from Bedford Rowing Club had to abandon their attempt at the same record last weekend due to bad weather.

The Ditton club had held the record before, from 1988 to 1993, and has also set three other rowing records.

It has held the records for the furthest distance rowed in 24 hours, the fastest row across the English Channel and the quickest row from London to Paris.

The crew, using a traditional Thames skiff rowing boat, were Mike Hart, who won a silver medal for Britain at the 1976 Montreal Olympics, Richard Carless, John Graham, Mark Hobson, Chris Millward and Simon Leifer.

They are raising money for two Surrey charities, Cherry Trees and the Crescent Resource Centre, Kingston, as well as supporting the Mayor of Elmbridge's charities, Bliss and Alzheimer's Disease.

Bid to break river rowing record
23 Apr 04  |  Southern Counties
Record Breakers' McWhirter dies
20 Apr 04  |  TV and Radio

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