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‘Follow the process’: Erik Horrie blasts fresh world record

Para rowing star Erik Horrie OAM has added another world record to his collection, crushing a nine-second personal best during his national selection 5km ergo trial in Brisbane to eclipse the old mark set by his great friend and rival, Team GB’s Ben Pritchard.

Horrie had already completed 15km in the boat on the Brisbane River by the time he began his indoor session at the Queensland Academy of Sport (QAS). He didn’t set out to melt the clock but by the time he was into his stroke, Horrie knew he was in the flow.

Even so, the triple Paralympic silver medal winner said he was surprised to see what greeted him after 5000m. His 19:33.8s row beat Pritchard’s previous record of of 19:36.5s, with Horrie now in possession of 11 of the 13 ergo WRs. Only the 2km and 500m remain out of his grasp.

Athletes can often hit fresh peaks when they least expect it and on this occasion, that was likely the key to the record-breaking result. Horrie said he was focusing on his stroke length and consistency and the rest took care of itself.

“It was basically training. I had been out in the boat in the morning rowing for 15km. Then I jumped across to the QAS for the 5km. I was expecting to do it a bit later on in the week but because of the Queensland titles, everything was moved forward,” Horrie said.

“To be honest, you know how you are going on the erg within a couple of minutes. About one kilometre in, I was feeling really good. I was a bit surprised because I wasn’t aiming for any records.

“I knew what the time was, because my friend Ben, who rows for GB in the same class, he had beaten my previous record in November. I knew what time he had done but I wasn’t actually aiming for it.

“Of course it’s always good beating the Brits. But it doesn’t matter where you are from, rowing is such a great community. We are all friends off the water which is one of the great things about para rowing.”

Watching closely as the veteran athlete went about his work were U21 and U23 rowers at the QAS. Horrie said he hoped they may have taken something away from his performance as well.

“It’s the first erg I’ve done at QAS, so to be doing it beside the junior U23 and U21 athletes was pretty cool. It’s just showing some of the younger athletes that you don’t always have to plan something. Just follow the process and the results will come.”