Even though they're called "free" throws, shots from the charity stripe are never a given.

But for Notre Dame's Michaela and Marina Mabrey, free throws come easily. And on Feb. 9, the two sisters hit 21 shots to set a new Guinness World Record for most free throws by a female pair in one minute while using two basketballs.


The idea materialized when athletics communication associate director Chris Masters and few members of the Notre Dame athletics department came to the sisters with the record.

"He asked if we wanted to break this record and obviously we thought, 'Why not?'" Michaela said. "It's a great opportunity and my sister and I decided it was a great idea."

Masters and another member of the media staff, Aaron Horvath, found the record six months ago and decided it would be fun to attempt to break.

"It made even more sense when we considered we had two sisters on the same, let alone the fact that we're in the top five nationally," Masters said. "So there were a lot of things that all came together at once that made sense." 

Shooting the free throws wasn't even the hardest part of the task. To comply with Guinness World Record rules, certain specifications had to be met, including timers, rebounders, witnesses and the order of shooting. There were two hand-timers, as well as someone operating an electronic timer in the arena, two witnesses, two rebounders from the Notre Dame staff, and the sisters had to shoot one at a time and immediately wait behind the other before shooting. Even more, if one of them missed a shot, they had to keep shooting until they made one in order to continue.

Known as good free throw shooters -- the elder Michaela shoots 86.7 percent from the line, while the younger Marina converts 78.8 percent of her free throws -- the sisters didn't practice at all before the first shot.

"We just went out there on first take and just got it," Michaela said. " In the back of our mind we probably knew we were going to break it but we just wanted to have fun with it.

"It's a great accomplishment. Breaking a world record -- we've never done something like that before. It's a once in a lifetime chance and when we're at this great university, these sort of opportunities arise."

After they finished, the athletic department sent the video -- along with affidavits from the witnesses -- to the Guinness World Records office, and the record was certified a week later.

The previous record was 14, set by the Norwegian duo of Nana San and Ingvild Skorpen on Nov. 17, 2010.