The Hartpury Rowing ‘Start’ programme is a unique joint initiative between Hartpury College, the GB Rowing Team ‘Start’ Programme and Gloucester Rowing Club, aimed at identifying and developing the next generation of Olympic rowers.

Our junior rowing programme has produced 12 Great Britain junior and Under-23 rowers in six years and won three consecutive Henley Royal Regatta titles from 2014 to 2016.

We’ve developed the perfect all-round package to enable you to develop your rowing and study for your A Levels or a College Diploma at the same time. 

As part of the elite rowing programme, you will work with a dedicated GB Start programme coach in partnership with Gloucester Rowing Club, benefit from exceptional facilities, including a new £1.6million boathouse opening in 2017 and receive an individualised coaching programme to give you the best possible chance of reaching your goals.

There are three strands to Hartpury’s rowing programme:

  • GB Rowing Team ‘Start’ – for students meeting specific physical criteria as laid out by the GB ‘Start’ programme

  • Advanced Apprenticeship in Sporting Excellence (AASE) – a support programme targeting potential GB Junior triallists
  • Rowing Development Programme – for junior rowers of all abilities wishing to develop their rowing skills and training alongside academic study

Athletes on the programme will benefit from excellent land training facilities at Hartpury alongside water-based training at Gloucester Rowing Club’s new £1.6million pound boathouse, opening in 2017. This sits alongside one of the best stretches of rowing water in the UK with 50 kilometres of sheltered, uninterrupted training water that does not flood!

And, as part of an elite squad, your development will be supported by having access to professional services that could include psychology, nutrition, physiotherapy and strength and conditioning. Details on the benefits and costs for those enrolling in September 2017 will be confirmed in early 2017.  

Due to the demands of the rowing programme (a typical week for an elite squad member comprises of eight to 10 sessions over six days), students applying are advised to consider only taking places on a variety of A Level courses or a BTEC Diploma in Sports Coaching or Sport and Exercise Science. You can see a sample rowing timetable here.

Elite development programme selection

Selection for the Elite Development programme is based on potential, rather than current rowing performance. Candidates with no previous rowing experience will initially need to meet the GB Rowing Team ‘Start’ minimum height criteria (188cm for men, 178cm for women) after which they may be invited for further assessment to test their suitability for the sport. Existing rowers will need to either meet the criteria above or demonstrate previous performance which indicates genuine potential for development towards selection for the GB Junior or U23 teams.

Selection takes place between October and March of each academic year, with places being confirmed by Easter, prior to the applicant taking up that place for the following September. Applications received after Easter will be considered, but availability of places for the following academic year cannot be guaranteed.

Development programme selection

The Development programme is aimed at rowers who do not currently meet the selection criteria for the Elite Development programme, but who wish to develop their rowing further alongside their academic studies. The goals within this group range from those who aspire to join the Elite Development programme, through to those who simply want to take part in the sport and compete at the appropriate level. The development programme is non-selective, and is open to rowers of all abilities. A minimum of one year’s previous rowing experience is recommended.

Scholarships are offered to elite rowers on an individual basis and are directly related to sporting and academic performance usually determined through a sporting CV and achievements prior to joining Hartpury.

These are re-assessed on an annual basis, with a review looking at academic and sporting performance as well as an individual’s disciplinary record and behaviour over the course of the 12 month period. Scholarships will generally contribute towards the cost of student accommodation.


If you think you have what it takes to be part of the rowing academy, contact our head of rowing, Tom Pattichis, at tom.pattichis@hartpury.ac.uk

I had no previous experience in rowing and the academy was great, providing strength and conditioning, physio support and top class coaching. Also, through the GB ‘Start’ Programme, I had regular opportunities to test myself against more experienced rowers, which really helped to push me on.

Sarah Bonar Hartpury A Level student Great Britain junior international


Hartpury’s multi-million pound sports facilities offer elite athletes the perfect place to train and develop. Students involved in all our academies will find professional style training environments designed to push athletes to their full potential.

see our sports facilities


All of our Sport courses will give you a sound understanding and knowledge of the sports industry, whether it’s fitness, therapy or coaching, plus the practical experience to back that up and boost your CV.

view our sports courses