An Acomb student can lay claim to being the best lightweight rower in the country despite never setting foot in a boat.

Tom Bean, 25, broke the British men’s lightweight 60-minute indoor rowing record at Energise gym on Cornlands Road, where he has been training extensively since injury ruled him out of his usual passion of running.

Bean only took up training on fan-powered machines less than a year ago as a way to keep fit through his injury and admitted he never could have imagined the success he would achieve in such a short time.

“Of course I am very pleased to be called a British champion especially since rowing isn’t my main passion,” said Bean.

The 25-year-old, who is currently studying for his PhD in environmental science, set a distance of 16.466km in his hour to become the fastest ever Brit in his age-group and weight-class.

After tending to his wife in the run up to the big row, Bean could feel some of her cold-like symptoms take hold, but boldly fought off any thoughts of pulling out.

“I realised it wasn’t affecting my breathing so I just geared up and went ahead with the challenge,” said Bean.

“There were many times during the row when I thought about stopping but I kept telling myself that I had come this far, so why stop now?”

While progress on his injury is encouraging, Bean is now more keen to return to his first love than to test his skills on the open water.

He added: “If a rowing club called, I would think about it, but my aim is to get straight back to my running.”