University of Bath-based rowers past and present are preparing to compete on the international stage after being selected to race for the GB Rowing Team in the coming weeks.
Jens Hullah, who is part of the GB Rowing Team World-Class Start Programme at the University of Bath, will race alongside Leander Club’s Joe Murphy in the men’s double scull at this weekend’s Coupe de la Jeunesse in Cork, Ireland.
Eighteen-year-old Hullah – a member of Minerva Bath RC – has been rowing for the past three years, having made the transition from rugby after attending talent identification testing with the Bath World-Class Start Programme.
He has been working with coach Dan Harris ever since and, after successfully trialing this summer, will be wearing an international vest for the second time having made his debut in the 2016 GB v France match.
The Coupe, an annual two-day European team event, is open to rowers aged 18 and under and is seen as a major stepping stone for juniors on the performance pathway through to U23 and senior competition.
Harris said: “It is fantastic that Jens has been selected after working seriously hard over the past 12 months after narrowly missing out last year.”
The Bath Start programme has produced a host of international rowers since being established 15 years ago, most notably double Olympic Champions Helen Glover and Heather Stanning, and two more graduates have been named in the GB Rowing Team for next week’s European Championships in Glasgow.
Rio 2016 Olympic medallist Vicky Thornley will be looking to defend the women’s single scull title she won in 2017, while Sara Parfett will join Caragh McMurty, Emily Ashford and Jo Wratten in a youthful women’s four.
Parfett recently paid a return visit to the University of Bath, where she studied Biology from 2010 to 2014. It was in her second year that she made the transition from swimming to rowing and, having developed her career under the guidance of Harris and previous Start coach Paul Stannard, she has been part of the full-time GB Rowing Team squad for the past 18 months.
Rowing is one of six sports that form the Glasgow 2018 European Championships, with the regatta taking place at Strathclyde Country Park from August 2-5.
Meanwhile, five scullers who will represent BUCS (British Universities & Colleges Sport) at next month’s FISU World University Rowing Championships in Shanghai, China, have been honing their preparations at the University of Bath this week.
Coach Harris is the GB sculling coach for the championships – taking place from August 10-12 – and has been working with the group in the Team Bath Gym at the University’s Sports Training Village and on the River Avon.
Fiona Chestnutt (Newcastle University) and Alex Styles (Oxford Brookes University/Thames BC) will race in the lightweight women’s double, while Ben Reeves (Oxford Brookes University) and Matt Curtis (Edinburgh University) are in the lightweight men’s double. Sam McKeown (Queens Belfast) will line up in the men’s single.
“It’s been great to have the group training here because it has served as motivation for the current Start athletes who see what can be achieved,” Harris added “There has been a good mix of rowers at different stages of the GB pathway and it’s also been a great opportunity to showcase the facilities and the programme we have here.”
The GB Rowing Team World-Class Start Programme in Bath is always looking for people with the potential to be an Olympic rower. Click here for more information or email Dan Harris on firstname.lastname@example.org.