Bath

hosted by the University of Bath and Minerva Bath RC

The Bath World Class Start Centre was set up in 2003, hosted by the University of Bath and Minerva Bath RC, and has produced some of GB’s most decorated rowers in recent years.

Helen Glover and Heather Stanning, double Olympic and World champions in the women’s pair, are both graduates of the programme at Bath – Stanning also studied Sports Technology at the University from 2007.

Olympic medallist Vicky Thornley and World Championship medallist Adam Freeman-Pask also came through the programme, which was initially overseen by coach Paul Stannard. He has since gone on to coach the GB senior men’s quadruple scull to numerous World Championship medals. Vicky continues to lead women’s sculling in the GB senior squad, aiming for a spot on the Tokyo Olympic podium – she finished 4th in the women’s single at the 2019 World Rowing Championships in Linz.

Sam Courty, Frazier Christie and Sara Parfett are some of the latest international medallists from Bath. Courty won silver in the women’s eight and bronze in the women’s four at the 2014 and 2015 World U23 Championships respectively, and made her senior world championship debut in 2017, where she stroked the women’s four. In 2019 she finished 10th at the World Rowing Championships, racing in the women’s pair with Annie Withers. Christie made his GB Rowing Team debut at the 2015 World Rowing U23 Championships in the men’s quadruple scull, coached by current Bath World Class Start coach Dan Harris, and both he and Sara were selected as travelling spares for the 2017 World Rowing Championships in Sarasota. Sara went on to race the women’s four at the 2019 World Rowing Championships, finishing 7th, top of the B-final.

At junior level, Jens Hullah of Minerva Bath earned his first international vest racing in the men’s single sculls at the 2016 GB v France match; he went on to win a bronze medal at the Coupe de la Jeunesse in 2018.

Laura Macro, Becky Wilde and Zara Mulholland are the latest Bath athletes to represent Great Britain. Laura raced in the lightweight women’s single scull at the European U23 Rowing Championships in 2018, finishing 5th, having also won at Henley Women’s Regatta and EUSA in the same season. Becky and Zara also raced at the European U23 Rowing Championships in 2019, finishing 5th.

All athletes in the World Class Start programme at Bath have access to excellent training facilities at the university’s Sports Training Village, which includes a fully-equipped high performance gym, a physio and medical treatment centre, physiology lab and video analysis suite.

The programme also has access to a 4km stretch of the River Avon, upon which Minverva Bath RC sits, as well as the club’s extensive collection of boats and equipment.

Thanks to a grant of £50,000 from the Sport England Inspired Facilities project, Bath World Class Start programme athletes now enjoy the use of new changing rooms and showers which provide a great base for water training.

Find out more about World Class Start here