Hartpury and British Rowing on the hunt for Olympic rowing hopefuls

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Hartpury has teamed up with British Rowing to offer sportsmen and women an opportunity to become the next Sir Steve Redgrave or Dame Katherine Grainger – even if they have never picked up an oar before!

In a joint initiative with Gloucester Rowing Club, Hartpury is a national centre for British Rowing’s World Class Start, which offers access to world-class facilities and coaching on and off the water.

The Gloucester Hartpury programme attempts to find, recruit and develop individuals with no prior rowing experience to become Olympic rowers.

Gloucester Hartpury coach Ben Jackson explained: “Hartpury College and University Centre Hartpury are looking for sportsmen and women who could be the Olympic rowers of the future.

“Specifically, we’re searching for people aged 15 and over who have never rowed before.

“Men will also need to be 188cm (6ft 2in) tall, and women 178cm (5ft 8in), to be considered for the programme.

“Who knows, the next Sir Steve Redgrave or Dame Katherine Grainger could be just around the corner.”

Current Hartpury A-Level student James Cartwright (pictured) is a recent example of the programme’s success.

Having never rowed before, he is currently ranked fifth in the country for all under-18 rowers, having only taken up the sport three years ago. He is also currently taking part in assessments working towards the Great Britain junior team.

Cartwright was identified through the World Class Start programme at the age of 15 when he was attending Newent School.

He started rowing with Gloucester Rowing Club before moving on to the programme at Hartpury alongside studying his A-levels.

Fellow Hartpury student Bryony Lawrence is another rower to have come through the programme.

Recently, she finished eighth in the women’s lightweight category at the third GB Rowing Team winter assessment, which positioned her as the top under-23 rower at the event.

Former student Mathilda Hodgkins-Byrne finished second behind 2016 Olympic silver medallist Vicky Thornley in the women’s open category at the same event.

Two further Hartpury rowers were also involved in junior Great Britain trials recently.

A-level student, Rhiannon Morgan, finished fourth, while Georgia Martin, a Sports Science diploma student, finished 10th.

Both were competing in the under-18 girls singles event and are likely to be invited back for the following round of trials in April.

Interested candidates who meet the height criteria for the World Class Start programme should sign up via www.britishrowing.org

Alternatively, email Gloucester Hartpury coach Ben Jackson, on ben.jackson@britishrowing.org

Picture credit: AllMarkOne

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