Alongside rowing clubs across Australia, Rowing Australia’s (RA) National Training Centre athletes returned to the water last week under the guidance of Rowing Australia’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr Lisa Elkington and RA Performance Director Bernard Savage.
Rowing Australia’s High Performance staff at both the Hancock Prospecting Women’s National Training Centre (HPNTC) and the Reinhold Batschi Men’s National Training Centre (RBNTC) have been working closely with the relevant authorities in Penrith (NSW) and Canberra (ACT), respectively, to ensure that those athletes and staff members who return to rowing adhere to the guidelines set out by Federal and State Governments, alongside Sport Australia and the AIS’s Return to Sport Toolkits (more info available here).
As of 22 June, the majority of the two NTCs have returned to on-water training in Canberra and Penrith, with a select few remaining at their home states due to special circumstances. All athletes have been fully briefed from the Chief Medical Officer on COVID-19 prevention, while athletes are only training in small groups, in small boats currently, with strict hygiene and distancing protocols.
RA Performance Director, Bernard Savage said, “It’s fantastic to have the athletes returning to our two National Training Centres. The first week back on the water has been a positive one with the athletes enjoying being back in the team environment supported by our world-class high performance staff and coaches.
“We’ve worked hard as an organisation to ensure the athletes, staff and coaches feel supported and comfortable as they return to rowing during these new and unusual times.”
Training groups of up to eight athletes have been developed to ensure safety and tracking of individuals both on and off the water, with many of the groups that train together also living together to help this too. The groups have strict scheduling to ensure distancing is adhered to, with cleaning happening immediately after each group concludes training, be it on water or in the gym.
RBNTC athlete, Campbell Watts added, “We all know how important it is to follow the guidelines set by the government in order to be safe and protect one another from the virus. After being briefed of the correct, simple protocols there was little room for error. Being back at training has been a huge morale boost, I feel a greater sense of purpose preparing now for Tokyo 2021.
“This is all due to the tireless efforts made by our staff to ensure we are training on the water safely, which haven’t gone unnoticed.”
Molly Goodman, from the HPNTC, said, “It’s really great to back rowing with the girls in our small groups. We’ve all got a common goal of Tokyo next year and we know we need to be here doing the hard yards to achieve it. I’ve definitely missed being around our squad and having our rowing support network close to hand.”
The updated list of athletes for the two National Training Centres can be found here.