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Rowing Australia announces CampaignNumberOne

Rowing Australia today announced our long-term high performance plan “CampaignNumberOne” focused on delivering its vision of being the number one rowing nation in the world.

Rowing is one of Australia’s most high profile and successful Olympic sports. The RA Board is of the strong view that whilst Australian rowing can learn from and be inspired by its past experiences, the sport must evolve if it is to reach its goal of being the number one rowing nation in the world.

Development of CampaignNumberOne involved a major review of the current high performance and pathway program including an extensive consultation process across various stakeholder groups, a detailed analysis of past performances and a scoping of international best practice.

In recent years Australian rowing has not achieved its full potential, despite having some of the world’s best coaches and sports medicine and science professionals, strong support from the national institute network and an impressive school and club system.

There is evidence to show our current model sees us trailing the world’s leading rowing nations by a considerable margin when it comes to competing on the world stage.  Each year, athletes are required to relocate for the three months prior to the international season to train with their crew. Their training location and coach varies from year to year, as does the quality and quantity of performance services available to them. Athletes and coaches want more certainty and stability, more time together, and better and more consistent support. CampaignNumberOne will deliver this certainty.

CampaignNumberOne will introduce transformational change to the high performance model to provide Australian rowers with the best opportunity for success. There are two key pillars of change. The first is the development of bespoke state-based pathway programs, working with schools, clubs and states to enhance the development of young athletes. The second is the creation of two National Training Centres (NTCs) that will provide a world class training environment for ‘Senior A’ podium-potential rowers.

President of Melbourne University Boat Club, and Olympic gold medallist, Peter Antonie said: “We [the clubs], recruit, build and nurture the future stars of Australian rowing before we ultimately hand them on to Rowing Australia to be perfected into the Senior Team medal winners of the future, this new plan further establishes this clear pathway. Our job is to, find them, teach them, train them…and, once those that have been clearly identified as capable, pass them on to the National Training Centres.”

Rowing Australia President, Rob Scott, said: “Key to the success of CampaignNumberOne will be aligning and co-ordinating our resources at a school, club, state and national level to give Australian rowers the best opportunity for international success.

“Whilst our primary focus right now is on preparing our crews for the Final Olympic Qualification Regatta and the upcoming Olympic and Paralympic Games, it is important to have a clear longer term strategy to provide clarity for our athletes and coaches.”

The NTCs are being established to enable a sharper focus on podium-potential athletes, to provide competitive tension in the daily training environment, and to support better informed and more efficient crew selections. Athletes will be able to plan their education and employment around a known long-term training base and will have access to world-leading coaches and sport science and medicine.

Chair of the Athletes’ Commission, Cameron McKenzie-McHarg commented: “Australia’s rowers want certainty around training venues so they can plan their lives and have access to world class facilities and support. This is also critical to attract the best coaches and sports medicine and science technicians who want to work with the best athletes.”

The Reinhold Batschi National Training Centre in Canberra has been identified as one of the NTCs given its significant, established infrastructure and quality training environment. Rowing Australia is currently undertaking a process to identify the location of the second NTC, which it expects to announce around July 2016. It is intended that both centres will become operational in the last quarter of 2016.

The two senior training centres will each have up to 25 athletes across sweep, sculling, open and lightweight rowing. Athletes who are invited to join a centre will be required to relocate within an agreed time frame.  Rowing Australia will develop a financial support program to assist athletes at the centres.

As part of the ongoing development of the CampaignNumberOne, Rowing Australia will consider how its para-rowing program can best integrate with, and leverage off, the new bespoke pathway programs and NTCs.

Chair of the Australian Sports Commission, John Wylie, said: “I congratulate Rowing Australia on this important initiative. It sets out a clear goal for a sport which has a proud history in Australia. It is fantastic to see rowing set itself an ambitious but achievable goal, which is consistent with the ASC’s Australia’s Winning Edge targets of getting Australian sport back on top. The ASC, through the AIS, looks forward to working with Rowing Australia and its athletes to achieve CampaignNumberOne. We have a great deal of confidence in the Rowing Australia leadership team and the direction they are setting out for the sport.”

Rowing Australia, in association with its Member Associations, will hold stakeholder briefings in each state. Further details will be provided shortly.