Roane State professors break world record

Bruce Cantrell, left, and Jessica Fain perform a final check of their gear before going underwater to live in a habitat for 73 days. Courtesy: Roane State Community College
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- It's a big day for two professors from Roane State Community College in Rockwood, Tennessee.

Today's the day they set a world record.

"At 11:28, the current world record was 69 days and 19 minutes," said Bruce Cantrell. "And at 11:28 we broke the old world record by one minute. Every minute we're down here now --"

"--is a new world record!" said Jessica Fain, finishing Cantrell's sentence.

These two biology professors embarked on a semester unlike any other at any college or university in the world.

On October third they went underwater, living in Jules' Undersea lodge near Key West, Florida. There they held classes via Skype with students, showing them the wonders of the ocean, and even inviting some big name guests like astronout Buzz Aldrin.

"it's a little hard for people who've never been to the beach to understand some of the importance of caring about our oceans," Fain said.

Just days away from resurfacing, the teaching duo says time is starting to speed up.

"We've been down here for so long, it's kind of unreal that we're going to be ending it" Cantrell said. "I don't think that will soak in until we actually break the surface and see the sun, see the sky, and feel the wind."

And they're adding items to the top of that to-do list as soon as they get back to land.

"I can answer Bruce's. I know what he's about to say. He's going to get a haircut. He needs a haircut really bad!" said Fain, laughing.

"Two and a half months here! Good thing i didn't grow a beard!" said Cantrell.

"For me, I think mine won't come until i get home, but I really want to see my dog," said Fain. "I miss my family and boyfriend, and all that, but they understand what's going on. My poor little dog doesn't. So I miss him. I'm going to hug him when I get home."



 
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