We identify, recruit and develop individuals with no prior rowing experience to become Olympic rowers.

Application for Start Testing

Want to do something incredible and train to be the best in the world?

During sessions we’ll encourage and push each other to do as well as we can – whether this is on the water, ergs or during a weights session. We also enjoy a decent bit of banter between sessions – key for recovery!” Alice Baatz, Start Programme 2016

The British Rowing Start Programme gives you the opportunity to push yourself to achieve more than you thought you could, expand your horizons, and develop into a high-performance athlete.

You do not need any prior rowing experience; just the right physique and attitude to give rowing a go.

Graduates of Start, including Helen Glover, Alex Gregory, Moe Sbihi and Heather Stanning have gone on to win Olympic, World and European medals. You can find out more about Start’s successes here.

Between the Blades

Start not only aids your development as an athlete, but it also teaches you important life skills; resilience, teamwork, leadership, accountability, discipline, and many more. Our Between the Blades campaign explores the positive impact Start has had on our athletes’ lives outside of rowing, as well as why anyone with any background or experience, can sign up.

How the programme works

Start is a specialist talent identification programme that trains and develops athletes for the GB Rowing Team. All Start athletes benefit from access to world-class coaches and facilities that support their development.

Telling the story of British Rowing's Start Programme. Follow our journey @BritishRowing on our social channels!

We have a number of centres around the UK that provide a training base for athletes.  Each centre is “hosted” by the local rowing club and all Start rowers will be a member of their host club. If there is not a centre local to you, it is sometimes possible to train from a satellite club

“Start has been solely responsible for shaping me into the rower I am today.” Matt Jenner, Start Programme 2016

The GB Rowing Team employs a full-time professional coach in each Start centre who is responsible for the recruitment and development of athletes.  As part of this development, all Start rowers attend regular training and testing camps to monitor athletes’ progression. These take place in the UK and overseas.

Start was established in 2001 with funding from the National Lottery.  It is one of the most successful Olympic sport talent ID programmes for Great Britain.

How do you apply to join the programme?

Start minimum criteria diagram showing minimum height and age range

We are looking for females 5’10 and taller aged between 14-22 years old, and males 6’2 and taller aged between 14-20. If you think you have what it takes, please click on the link below to fill out an application form.

Application for Start Testing

If you don’t meet these criteria, but you are already rowing, the Performance Talent programme offers support to talented rowers aged 15-22 . Click here for more details.

More in this section

Start Centres

Our Start centres are located throughout the UK. Click on the map below to find out more about each centre and their host club.

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Start FAQs

Do you have any questions about Start? Have a look at our FAQs for help and guidance.

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Start Graduates

Meet the rowers who have graduated from Start. Click on a rowers name to find out more about them. * Molesey and Tees are former Start host clubs ** Satellite club

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