A ROWER from Wargrave has set up a coaching and personal training business.
Bethan Thomas, 27, says she wants to share her love and knowledge of the sport with others.
She recently returned from her second rowing season in Australia, where she worked as a coach at an all-girls’ school in Melbourne.
She is now based at Henley Rowing Club, where she has trained and competed since the age of 13.
Ms Thomas, of Purfield Drive, was a personal trainer at the David Lloyd gym in Reading for five years before going to Australia for six months. She worked as a rowing coach and at a boutique gym as a personal trainer while rowing at Melbourne University Boat Club.
She said: “I came back with a lot more confidence and experience and thought that I was brave enough to go for it as a freelance.”
Ms Thomas set up Coach Bethan last month and already has clients. “I wanted to make use of the gym at Henley Rowing Club during the day and in particular on weekday mornings,” she said. “I also coach at Headington School in Oxford three afternoons a week and on Saturday and Sunday mornings. Everything else fits around that. I enjoy coaching and personal training and do not have a preference — they each bring different challenges.”
Ms Thomas, a former pupil of Piggott School in Wargrave, was introduced to rowing by her mother Linda, who has rowed at Henley since she was 16. She read sport at Durham University before spending two seasons coaching in Australia.
Ms Thomas said: “I feel I have done everything I wanted to do as a club rower. I have won Henley Women’s Regatta twice, in 2010 in the elite women’s double scull and last year in the elite coxless four. While in Australia I won gold at the national championships in the club coxless fours.
“I am never going to be an international rower but I wanted to compete at Henley Royal Regatta, which I did in the Remenham Cup this year with Henley Rowing Club and Thames Rowing Club.We got knocked out in the first round but qualifying was the biggest goal.”
She says she will always be involved with rowing, especially as she sits on the committee at Henley Rowing Club and runs the adult rowing programme there.
“It is great because there have been so many people enquiring about rowing as a result of the Olympics,” said Ms Thomas. “I love the interaction — it is great fun and a good challenge. I also like the competitiveness and knowing that you have to make crews fast. It is about sharing my knowledge and what I have learnt over the years and helping people to enjoy themselves as much as I have.”
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