Thursday, 15 April 2021

Four coaches appointed to run GB rowing squads

Four coaches appointed to run GB rowing squads

A NEW senior coaching line-up to lead the Great Britain rowing team through to the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympic Games has been unveiled.

Four of British Rowing’s most experienced coaches have taken on new lead Olympic coach roles following the departure of Jürgen Grobler as chief coach for the men’s and women’s squads.

Each will be in charge of the separate Olympic squads as follows: Steve Trapmore — men’s sweep squad; Paul Stannard — men’s sculling; James Harris — women’s sweep; Paul Reedy — women’s sculling.

Brendan Purcell, director of performance, said: “I am very pleased to announce this new coaching structure to take us through to Tokyo.

“It recognises the knowledge and vast experience of our coaching and senior leadership team at the national training centre in Caversham and gives our lead coaches increased levels of autonomy.

“Across the coaching and leadership team we have more than 40 combined Olympic and Paralympic Games under our belts, stretching back to Los Angeles 1984.

“There’s a huge wealth of knowledge and experience within the high performance programme to support our athletes in delivering incredible performances in 2021.”

Day-to-day decisions will be taken by each coach and they will all be core members of new groups responsible for crew selection.

There is no change on the Paralympic side, with Tom Dyson continuing to lead the programme.

Trapmore, who was an Olympic gold medallist at Sydney 2000, spent 10 years leading high performance rowing programmes as head coach of Imperial College Boat Club and chief coach of Cambridge University Boat Club before joining the GB Rowing Team in 2018.

Stannard is a former World Class Start coach. He won the UK coaching talent development coach of the year and Leaders in Sport Nick Broad Award for talent development for his work identifying and developing Heather Stanning and Helen Glover, who went on to become two-time Olympic champions, and Vicky Thornley, who won silver in Rio in 2016.

In 2013 he coached the men’s quadruple scull to its first senior international medal (bronze) followed by a silver medal in 2014 and fifth place at the Rio Olympics.

He has continued to coach the quad and oversee the men’s sculling programme for much of the recent Olympiad, securing Olympic qualification for the quad in 2019.

Harris made history as coach of the women’s eight in Rio, which became the first GB women’s eight to win an Olympic medal.

During the 2019 season, he coached the women’s eight to medals at world cups and European championships as well as securing Olympic qualification.

A former World Class Start coach, he joined the senior team in 2014.

Reedy is also experienced, having been part of the senior GB rowing team since 2009.

Formerly responsible for the lightweight women’s squad, he coached Katherine Copeland and Sophie Hosking to gold at London 2012.

Last year he coached Thornley as she became the first women’s single sculler to qualify an Olympic spot for Great Britain in 20 years.

In another change to the men’s sweep programme, Christian Felkel is stepping down after 12 years to take up a role with the German rowing team.

He said: “I have loved my time at British Rowing and am sorry to leave the team this close to the Olympic Games.

“I have to think about my family in these difficult times, especially my elderly mother, and it gives me peace of mind to return home.

“I wish all the guys the very best and will look forward to seeing them at international regattas in the years to come.”

Robin Williams, who coached Helen Glover and Heather Stanning to two Olympic gold medals in London and Rio, rejoins the GB Rowing Team to support the men’s sweep squad with Trapmore.

Purcell paid tribute to Felkel, saying: “Christian has been a fantastic member of the team.

“I would like to thank him for his significant contribution to the success of the GB rowing team since 2009 and I am sure I speak for everyone involved with the team that we wish him all the best.

“We understand the pandemic has forced everyone to rethink their priorities.

“While we are sorry to see Christian leave, we are delighted Robin is able to come back to Caversham and support the men’s sweep squad.

“He is a vastly experienced and successful coach and we know he will bring his fantastic skills and experience to the coaching team and the rowers at this important time.”

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