gb performance

Posted: 24 October 2023

 Last weekend six pathway athletes from clubs across Scotland travelled down to the National Watersports Centre at Holme Pierrepont in Nottingham for the first Olympic Pathway National Development Camp of the 2023/24 season. 

The camps, which are an evolution of the former World Class Start Testing Camps, will still be a point of assessment for athletes that are a part of the new Scottish Rowing Performance Development Academy (PDA)and their British Rowing counterparts, but, now with a twist of being open to athletes outside of the PDA’s if named as part of a Performance Pathway Programme in either the British or Scottish Rowing system.


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When on the camp athletes from PDA’s will be assessed on their sculling skills, boat speed, and land skills in an attempt to work their way through the sculling syllabus and group progression system (Group E to Group A). This camp was no different, with 3 of the current PDA athletes being put through their paces. Josh Matthews (EUBC) & Scott Carr (URA) both ran through a clean bill of assessments and battled up and down a typically windy Nottingham lake to meet their speed requirements to gain promotion onto the next rung of the ladder, into groups B & D respectively. While Nathaniel Fishburn (HWUBC) performed admirably while navigating the sculling skills at his first National Development Camp.

Joining the PDA athletes on this camp, were two of last years greatly successful beginners from Edinburgh University BC, Grace Dawson & Josephine Briggs and Scottish HIR Junior & GB U19 hopeful Sophie Sinclair from Aberdeen Schools RA. The athletes joined the PDA athletes through their testing sessions, ergo tests, and then worked with coaches from both British Rowing & Scottish Rowing during on-water coaching sessions and video feedback sessions.

A long day of hard work was taken on by all (coaches included) with first briefing at 6:30am, finishing up with the camp debrief at 8pm – a mammoth task undertaken for good reason, as on Sunday, the athletes took part in the Nottingham Autumn Head on what was a fast-flowing Trent River after the rainfall earlier in the week!  
A great opportunity for the first Head Race of the season, with Josh Matthews taking the Headship for the day with the fastest time of the division over the shortened 4,000m course. Strong results elsewhere saw Scott Carr finish 2nd in O.Band.5 1x, Grace & Josephine finishing 3rd & 4th in W.Band5.1x, all three of whom are just kicking off their second year in the sport. 

Our thanks go out to the organisers of the Nottingham Autumn Head for running a safe and enjoyable regatta!


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The athletes return to Scotland with fire in their bellies and feedback in their notebooks, with plenty to take away and work on as many will prepare for a busy November racing calendar which sees GB U23/Senior Trials and U19 Trials fall on consecutive weekends in Boston (11/12th and 18th November), swiftly followed by the second National Development Camp of the season in Nottingham (24-26th November).


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Scottish Rowing’s Performance Development Academy is a programme designed to identify, recruit and develop athletes from complete beginner all the way to the heights of Olympic rowing. If you are interested in the programme or know someone who should be, you can find more information here:

If you would like to hear more about the Olympic Pathway National Development Camps, please feel free to get in touch with Tom Young, Scottish Rowing Lead Performance Pathway Coach.