Strength in Numbers

Posted: 18/02/2016 in Uncategorized

Well it’s been a month or two since my last blog and not without good reason. I have been absolutely flat out with a number of things, mainly the Royal Navy Indoor Rowing Performance Team.
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As I see it, the clue is in the title – Performance. This is exactly what I am aiming to create. A group of talented, committed athletes who wish to perform to their full potential. No one in the team is along for the ride. Of course some will be faster than others, some will win medals and some won’t. But everyone is committed to being the best they can possibly be and perform to their individual optimum potential. For most this is short term as we enter the latter stages of the race season, but for all it is a long term goal for Boston 17′ and beyond.


So back to the present. The team has grown and grown rapidly. We now have 15 athletes, 12 of whom are on the Performance Team and are fully committed and 3 that are on the Development Squad. Some are brand new to the sport and some are experienced seasoned racers. A few short months ago the team was still being set up and was still very much in the embryonic stages; now, whilst still early days the team has found structure and a support network enabling them to learn and find consistency in their training.

Craig Guest leads the way in the medal haul and has acted as a selling point for the incoming applicants, as others watched his success rate soar and realised the benefits and rewards of a successful system.


Keeping one eye over his shoulder, Craig has earned the right as the fastest on the programme thus far. 

Craig has finished his season now as he settles in for a busy and long off season, not before claiming another PB in Hungary in the early New Year to be crowned European Champion. A few weeks later the constant programme juggling worked again as he PB’d for the 5th consecutive time in 6.17 to take a well deserved Silver in the English National Championships.


At the same event new comer and ex boxer Daz Hoare released 2 and a half months solid structured training to move from 6.44 to 6.27 and set himself up for an onslaught in the 40’s for next season.


Long legs and stacks of aggression will push Daz to reach his full potential.

Experienced racer Rory West despite pulling a PB in London weeks before and being in PB form again at Manchester, suffered a bout of sickness in the days prior to racing. This ultimately cost him and he rowed a painful last 500m that saw him fall apart and finish way off what he was capable of had he not been ill.


Battling illness and injury, Rory still has his sights set on success.

The English Championships also saw the return of Tiny Nash more than a decade since last competing.  This time racing at the very edge of the 40’s 50’s category he made a decent return and rowed a sensible race to finish within himself at 6.33, but set a marker for the future.

Tim Hughes continued some solid training amongst a hectic work/lifestyle balance and was gutted not be able to race in Cornwall after it was cancelled last minute. After a considerable amount of time out he rowed a home TT to finish 3 seconds off his 6.25 PB. Another candidate for big gains next season if he can juggle the ever present demands                                                            of a busy life.


Part of the Royal Marine contingent, Tim has one eye firmly fixed on chasing down the opposition.

Royal Marine Ed Williams joins the programme having committed to long term development. Sitting at the lower end of the heavyweight category, Ed will look to gain weight as well as begin structure and consistency as we look for long term development. The work is already underway.

A number of females have joined the team, some of whom remain in the Development Squad and others who are fully committed. Aaby Aldridge brand new 5 weeks prior to the British Championships before Christmas pulled a 7.42 in her debut race. Prior commitments then saw her away for 5 weeks and we now find ourselves grabbing what we can before flying to the US next week. Another new comer to the team is Charlotte Marshall. A former on the water rower with Oxford, but with no real training structure of late, Charlotte pulled a ‘spare of the moment’ 100km last Aug to break the 20-29 Female Heavyweight World Record. Recently recruited and with an exciting future Charlotte has now begun her campaign.


Hard grafting Jim Hyde has worked his way in to top form recently.

With 3 races under his belt already this season, Jim Hyde sat out going to Manchester and focused on the preparation for the World Championships in Boston. Jim who is a unique athlete has come into fine form over the latter parts of the programme and will now look to take that form to the USA to finish his season off.

Other newcomer, lightweight Ian Robinson, is another candidate in need of many meters and structure as he builds for next season. That said, he is already experiencing the effects of the programme and finds himself in PB form prior to Boston. Robbo will bag the experience of his first time at the Worlds and take the experience forward for next year.


Robbo remaining focused on long term development in the lightweight category.

Other athletes racing in the USA next week are the newest to the programme, but another 3 with bags of potential. First up is another Marine John Leonard who has gone sub 6.20 after a few months ‘mucking around’. Unfortunately an injury stopped him in his tracks on day 2 of joining and we are currently fighting to string something together for next week and look to build on this should he want to commit for the future.

Ex rugby player Justin Doney, although racing in Boston last year has never rowed more than 5km in a training session with most of his work being based around CrossFit. Again we are stringing together what we can for now and will certainly be looking to deploy his potential next season.361221-Hard-Work-Ahead-sign-Stock-Photo-effort

Finally a unique opportunity to coach my former rival big Jim Thomson. Plenty of experience and now racing in the 40’s age group, Jim brings some serious potential. An athlete who excels in the 500m and has previously gone 6.17 in 2012, he now finds himself with the prospect of time and consistency, something he has lacked in the past, (much to my delight when we competed).


About to do battle with Jim Thomson in the Manchester Velodrome back in 2013. I wasn’t so keen on smiling beforehand.





With 1 week left, those racing in Boston are in the final stages of squeezing out every last possible tenth of a second and then we will enter a taper week. Next blog will be post racing and a look to the future and the upcoming team training camp.








  1. Richard says:

    Great read, good luck to everyone in Boston!!


  2. Ollie Osborne says:

    Thanks Richard.


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