STRATFORD Boat Club’s adaptive athletes and British Rowing achieved a first with the completion of a para coaching course on the Avon.
The course was run by British Rowing’s Dr Perse Wynn (level three senior club and level two strength and conditioning coach) and Marcus Walker (level two and three course coach).
And the extensive four-day course covered topics such as risk management, warm up and cool down exercises, coaching behaviours, code of conduct, responsibility, safety requirements, cold water immersion and hypothermia, developing athleticism and the practical application of boat adjustments.
On the course were Sophia Ward, Jake Blatcher, Gillian Middleton and Kelly Donald, all members of Stratford Boat Club’s adaptive squad and Imogen North who is trainee coach with Stratford’s J15 squad.
They were joined by Rachel Morris from Guildford Rowing Club who won time trial gold at Beijing 2008 in handcycling and bronze in the road race at London 2012.
The Team GB Paralympian switched to rowing in 2013 and won gold in the PR1 women’s single sculls at the Rio 2016 Games before enforced shoulder surgery curtailed Morris’s competitive career.
Stratford Boat Club’s Head Adaptive Coach, Mark Dewdney, said: “To have the British Rowing (BR) coaches’ course at Stratford is a major benefit and shows BR’s commitment to Stratford’s adaptive squad and pararowing in the UK.
“The emphasis of the course is to teach the participants how to be a coach first and then how to adapt their new skills to pararowing.”
Stratford Boat Club’s President, Paul Stanton, added: “Mark’s commitment to the Stratford’s adaptive squad and pararowing in general is an example of dedication producing results.
“We are also most grateful to Crowne Plaza Stratford for providing Rachel’s accommodation which has enabled her to join the course.”
The club’s adaptive section has been supported by local businesses in Stratford and the wider Warwickshire region.