Adaptive coaches assemble in East London

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On Friday 7 September, the UK’s domestic adaptive rowers and coaches gathered at the London Regatta Centre for the first National Adaptive Rowing Camp.

The weekend-long camp was an opportunity for close to 70 adaptive coaches, rowers and helpers to come together for a series of workshops, seminars, indoor and on-the-water training sessions and, ultimately, racing against each other and the clock.

Adaptive rowing is growing in the UK, and Maddie Millichap, British Rowing’s Adaptive Rowing Coach and one of the organisers of the weekend, is keen to highlight the success of the camp and its implications for the future of the sport.

“The weekend was a huge success,” she said. “It was the first adaptive rowing camp that British Rowing has ever held. We have never had so many adaptive athletes in one place at any one time, from beginners to the GB development squad.

“It’s a huge milestone for adaptive rowing, and means an awful lot to the sport. Firstly, it gave the athletes a chance to meet and compete together as never before. Secondly, it brought adaptive coaches from all over the country together to share ideas, experiences, expertise and to exchange details so that they can keep in contact in the future – arranging which events to attend, for example.

“We must use this platform to drive adaptive rowing forwards in the UK, and have already begun planning how to make the camp bigger and better for next year.

“From here, I would like the sport to grow and become stronger, with more adaptive athletes and events. This does, however, mean that more clubs will have to open their doors to people with a disability.”

Maddie’s final sentiment was echoed by Kate O’Sullivan, Chairman of British Rowing’s National Coaching Committee.

“These guys know what they need to help them get out in a boat,” she said. “You don’t need lots of expensive equipment and hoists, and you don’t need a perfect world. You just need to work with them and find out what’s possible.

“I hope that, over the next four years, there will start to be decent domestic competition for the adaptive rowers, and then they can feel like they’re truly a part of our sport.

For more information about how to make your club more accessible to for the UK’s growing contingent of adaptive rowers, visit www.britishrowing.org/taking-part/adaptive or contact Maddie Millichap on [email protected].

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