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The pass masters... Mark and Charlie shatter water polo world record

Two water polo players from Sevenoaks Sharks have shattered the Guinness World Record for the number of consecutive passes completed.

And it was a case of third time lucky for Mark Freed, 59, and Charlie Exall, 25, as they broke the previous best on their third and final attempt at Tunbridge Wells Sports Centre.

The duo managed to complete a staggering 95 passes – breaking the 2017 record set by American’s Scott Simeral and Daniel Pedrotty, who achieved 65 in Arlington, Virginia.

Mark celebrated his 59th birthday three days before attempting the challenge – and said he could now tick off his ‘bucket list’ breaking a world record before turning 60.

He said: “Breaking a world record was high on the list, but probably not feasible. Then I thought well why not? A little bit of research and I saw that some world records exist in water polo.

“We’re overjoyed.”

After playing the sport for more than 40 years, Mark was confident that he could achieve his aim of breaking a Guinness World Records title.

He was initially partnered with teammate Danny Hanlon but he was struck down by pneumonia and could not take part in the attempt. He has since made a full recovery.

So Charlie stepped in and the duo surpassed the previous target after their first two efforts saw them complete 20 and then 61 passes.

The rules of the challenge state that the pair were required to tread water for the duration of the attempt and each pass had to travel at least seven metres (23 feet),

And while Mark was delighted to break the record, he said it was more about inspiring others to take up the game.

“Water polo is a truly fantastic sport to participate in, whatever your age,” said Mark.

“Charlie and I hope that by breaking the record we can make people more aware of the sport.

“We want to encourage more swimming clubs to truly embrace water polo and recognise it as a way of keeping young people engaged in water-based sports, as well as attracting those from other ball sports who might see it as a way of continuing to compete when the body is perhaps not up to higher impact sport.”

The challenge

Mark and Charlie had to follow strict rules under the guidance of two referees, Dave Murphy and Clive Donaldson, as they completed their challenge.

The definition of their attempt was:

  • This record is for the most consecutive water polo passes completed without stopping.
  • This record is to be attempted by a team of two.
  • This record is measured by the passes made successfully without a break.

And the rules were:

  • The water polo ball must be a standard water polo ball that must be approved by the officials, one of which must be a qualified referee.
  • The attempt begins when the first participant passes the ball to the second participant, and the second participant passes back to the first and so on.
  • Each pass must travel at least 7 metres (23 feet). This distance must be measured and marked out, video of the measurement must be submitted with the claim.
  • The ball may be passed with either hand.
  • The ball must be passed with a legal action i.e. conform to the rules of water polo, and be acceptable to the qualified official (Referee).
  • Both participants must tread water for the duration of the attempt. If either participant touches the bottom of the pool, the attempt is ended.
  • The ball must be immediately passed and caught without the ball touching the surface of the water.
  • At least two qualified water polo referees must be present during the attempt.
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