Sam Townsend retires to take up Radley College role

Fourteen years after taking up rowing through the Start programme, Olympian Sam Townsend is to become Master in Charge of the Radley College Boat Club

Two-time Olympian Sam Townsend is to retire from rowing, 14 years after taking up the sport through the GB Rowing Team’s Start programme, to take up a role at Radley College.

The 30-year-old from Reading made history in 2013 when, alongside Graeme Thomas, Charles Cousins and Peter Lambert, he won Great Britain’s first ever World Championships medal in the men’s quadruple sculls.

Townsend made the final in both of his Olympic Games appearances as part of the quad sculls crew, finishing fifth at both London 2012 and Rio 2016.

“It is great to have the opportunity to say a big thank you to all those who have helped, guided and influenced me throughout my 14 years in the sport as a competitive athlete,” Townsend said.

“Particular thanks goes to Mark Earnshaw, my first coach when I began on the Start programme in 2002. He encouraged and coached me from complete novice to Olympic finalist. This was then carried on by Paul Stannard for the next four years to Rio and I can’t speak highly enough of them both.

Townsend joined Reading RC in 2002, aged 16, and won the British Junior Ergo Championships the following year.

Ten years later, Townsend won his first World Championships medal, building on the fifth place at London 2012 by finishing third in Chungju in 2013.

In 2014 Townsend joined the same crew to improve on the previous campaign by rowing to a silver medal in Amsterdam, just nine hundredths of a second behind the winning Ukraine boat.

Townsend added: “I will definitely miss the squad. I have been lucky enough to train and race with incredible athletes and support staff on a daily basis. In particular, a special thanks must go to those who have put up with me directly in the boat.

“I wish there could have been more silverware in my career but I will never forget that feeling of Chungju and Amsterdam and being a part of a ‘first ever’ medal win for GB, which felt like a long time coming.”

Sir David Tanner, British Rowing’s Performance Director said: “We all wish Sam well in his new challenge. Sam was one of Start’s earliest recruits and I remember him well as a promising 16 year old at Reading RC back in 2002. His hard work and dedication to the GB Rowing Team over the past 14 years has been exemplary and the young rowers at Radley College will have a great role model to look up to.”

Townsend will now take up the role of Master in Charge of the Radley College Boat Club, where he will also teach geography.

Niall Murphy, Senior Master of Radley College added, “Sam takes up the position of Master in Charge of Radley College Boat Club from 6 November. We are looking forward to him joining the team and building on the college’s previous successes.”

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