The GB Rowing Team’s Start programme targets both University of Bath students and young people from year 10 upwards with or without a background in rowing but with the potential to be future Olympians.
The process of talent identification involves the meeting of criteria and fitness levels (details of both found below) which indicate rowing potential.
Since its inception, the Start centre at Bath has produced some outstanding alumni.
Five athletes who were part of the Bath Start programme were involved in London 2012, including Heather Stanning and Helen Glover who made history by winning Great Britain’s first ever women’s rowing gold medals.
Three of those five went on to compete at Rio 2016, winning two gold medals and one silver.
A list of Bath Start programme athletes who have achieved international honours to date are:
- Heather Stanning – 2016 Olympic Champion W2-, 2012 Olympic Champion W2-, 2014 & 2015 World Champion W2-, 2015 & 2016 European Champion W2-, 2007 World U23 Champion W2- (Sports Technology, 2007)
- Helen Glover – 2016 Olympic Champion W2-, 2012 Olympic Champion W2-, 2013, 2014 & 2015 World Champion W2-, 2014, 2015 & 2016 European Champion W2-
- Vicky Thornley – 2016 Olympic silver medallist W2x, 2012 Olympic finalist W8+, 2017 World Silver W1x, 2017 European Champion W1x, 2009 World U23 Champion W8+
- Marcus Bateman – Reserve London Olympics 2012, World Senior Silver (Sports Technology, 2005)
- Adam Freeman-Pask – Reserve London Olympics 2012, Triple World Cup Gold Medallist 2012 (Natural Science, 2006)
- Sam Courty – 2017 World Championships W4-, 2014 World U23 Silver W8-, 2015 World U23 bronze W4-, 2016 World Uni bronze W2- (Sports and Exercise Science, 2015)
- Frazier Christie – U23 World Championships 2015 (men’s quad) (Economics, 2015)
- Sara Parfett – 2017 World Cup silver and bronze W8- (Biology, 2014)
- Jens Hullah – U16 British Men’s GB squad
Full biography profiles of our current Start athletes can be found on our athletes’ biographies page.
In rowing the methods of moving the boat favours the use of long levers of arms and legs to obtain maximum propulsion. This is why many of the most successful rowers are tall and this is a particular attribute that Start is looking for, as well as a combination of strength and endurance for the six-seven minute event.
Our minimum testing criteria is:
We use a number of tests to determine whether candidates have potential or proved performance that means they can be trained in such a way that they could succeed at international level. As the tests are designed to identify potential, previous experience of the tests is not required.
The right physical characteristics are of course not the only factor that is needed to achieve that ultimate prize of an Olympic gold medal.
You also need commitment, the ability to train hard and the right mental attitude. Even with all the physical capabilities described above if you don’t make the full commitment to training and make sacrifices where necessary then even the most talented person will not make it.
How to get involved
If you live in the South West and are interested in rowing for Great Britain and think you have what it takes please contact your regional GB Rowing Team Start coach.