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The GB Rowing Team is the high performance arm of British Rowing. Rowing is the nation’s most continuously successful Olympic sport, having won a gold medal in every Olympic Games since 1984, and has won six Paralympic golds since the sport was introduced to the Paralympic Games programme in 2008.
GB Rowing Team
Rower // Para-Rowing Squad Date of Birth: 29th Aug 1991 (28 years old)
Club: Tees Rowing Club Height: 186.00 Hometown: Northallterton
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Patience reaped massive rewards for Laurence Whiteley at Rio 2016 as he was crowned Paralympic Games champion, just a year after his long search for a rowing partner had finally paid off.
Laurence Whiteley has competed with distinction in the non-Paralympic class trunk-arms men’s single scull. Laurence finally made his international debut in the mixed double scull at the 2015 World Championships alongside newcomer Lauren Rowles.
They quickly formed an impressive partnership, qualifying the boat for Rio in their first regatta together before setting a new World Best time on their way to winning Paralympic gold 12 months later.
In 2017, Whiteley won silver with Rowles at the second World Cup regatta in Poznan, but missed out on a place at the World Rowing Championships in Sarasota-Bradenton due to injury to Rowles.
Laurence and Lauren Rowles were crowned as Paralympic champions at Rio 2016, just a year after first rowing together
©Peter Spurrier/Intersport Images
Rio de Janeiro - Paralympic Games Gold Medallist Trunk-Arms Mixed Double Scull
World Silver Medallist Trunk-Arms Mixed Double Scull
Laurence and Lauren Rowles were once again selected in the trunk-arms mixed double scull for the 2016 season. Lauren’s A-level studies restricted them to just one international appearance before Rio but there was plenty of promise in their bronze and silver medals at the Gavirate International Regatta in Italy.
The hard work Laurence and Lauren put into training during the summer was clear to see on the Lagoa Rodridgo de Freitas as they set a new World Best time in their heat before storming to victory in the final to be crowned as Paralympic Champions.
Laurence first teamed up with rowing newcomer Lauren at the 2015 World Championships in Aiguebelette, where they quickly made history.
They only began training together in the summer after Lauren made the transition from athletics to rowing at the end of a year-long search by the GB Rowing Team para-rowing coaches for a trunk-arms mixed double scull partner for Laurence.
Despite their brief time together, Laurence and Lauren became the first GB crew to qualify for Rio 2016 as they won their repechage. They then went on to produce a fantastic performance in the final, winning silver as they finished just half-a-second behind Australia.
Laurence had started the season by winning double gold in the trunk-arms men’s single scull at the International Para-Rowing Regatta in Gavirate, repeating his achievement on his debut at the Varese International Regatta 12 months earlier.
Laurence was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma, a rare type of bone cancer, and, after his recovery, wanted to get back into sport. Initially he pursued swimming and competed both nationally and internationally.
However, upon reflection, he decided his disability and swimming were not the best fit. That led him into investigating rowing and in 2011 he joined Tees RC, where he was coached by Greg Beswick.
Laurence won the Home International Regatta in his first year of competition, then struck gold at both the British and European Indoor Rowing Championships in 2012 as well as the British National Championships.
Club: Tees Rowing Club
Boat: TA Mixed Double Scull
Coaches: Tom Dyson, Nick Baker
Learnt to Row: Tees Rowing Club
Original Club(s): Tees Rowing Club
Original Coach(es): Greg Beswick