2020 season comes to an end for Olympic squads

The 2020 season has come to a close for our men’s and women’s squads

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Harry Leask speaks to Jonny Walton

After training for four months in kitchens, living rooms and gazebos around the UK, our Olympic squads are heading off on a well earned summer break.

Our senior GB rowers and staff are usually based at British Rowing’s national training centre in Caversham, but many have travelled back to stay with family around the UK since Caversham’s doors closed back in March. Despite the postponement of the Olympic Games and the cancellation of all the summer regattas the squad have got some fantastic training under their belt, with Tom George breaking the men’s 2km squad record from his parents’ shed.

Olympic silver medallist Dr Polly Swann spent three months working as a doctor alongside her training to support the NHS during the COVID crisis.

In line with British Rowing’s advice to members, as lockdown has eased, our squads have been able to carry out on-water exercise in consultation with their coach. This is optional and not part of the core training programme; water activity is limited to low-intensity technical work for safety and to role model a gradual and safe return to on-water rowing.

A trial group of athletes have also been at Caversham for the past couple of weeks to test out the new COVID processes which include temperature checks, antibody tests and new one-way circulation routes around the site, thanks to the hard work of our medical and facilities teams. Each person has different circumstances at the moment – whether that be to do with health, family, work or childcare – and as such our athletes and staff have gone through an active opt-in process before they return to Caversham, supported by our chief medical officer, our psychologist and Performance Lifestyle advisors.

The team will return to kick off the 2020/21 season in September to reset and refocus on the rescheduled Olympic Games.

Follow the team on Instagram @britishrowing.

The latest advice related to coronavirus for rowing clubs is available at britishrowing.org/coronavirus.

Clubs are reminded that there are special Government guidelines in place for elite sport and so some of the arrangements in place for the GB Rowing Team and associated programmes may not be appropriate for grassroots clubs.

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