For his exemplary leadership and outstanding coaching achievements throughout 2021, John Keogh, Head Coach of the Hancock Prospecting Women’s National Training Centre (NTC), has been announced as a finalist in the World Rowing Coach of the Year Award.
Under Keogh’s tutelage Australia qualified five crews to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and won two medals – Gold in the Women’s Coxless Four and Bronze in the Women’s Quadruple Scull.
Keogh is also credited for steering Australia’s female rowers through a difficult and disruptive Olympic preparation resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, including challenges resulting from not racing internationally for two years and travel restrictions that in one instance, required athletes to pack the boat trailer and their belongings within an hour, to avoid a lockdown.
World Rowing’s Coach of the Year Award acknowledges the achievements of the preceding 12 months, but Keogh attributed recognition to a five-year journey and teamwork.
“Of course, I’m honoured to be named as a finalist, but the recognition belongs to the team and the Women’s National Training Centre,” Keogh said.
“More than anything, it’s a reflection of the journey of the centre in five years. When you look back, there’s a lot to be proud of, for everyone involved,” he said.
Since the Women’s NTC was formed in 2017, Australia’s female rowers have achieved 23 World Cup medals, Eight World Championships medals, qualified five crews to Tokyo and won an Olympic Gold and an Olympic Bronze Medal.
Together with the support staff and coaches Tom Westgarth and Ellen Randell, Keogh has established a culture of respect and gratitude, underpinned by an always-on, ready to race attitude.
“We want the group to be grateful for what we get to do, grateful to wear the green and gold. We do a lot of work to make sure they understand that there’s a group of athletes who have gone before them, who have worn the green and gold. Not only in rowing, in other sports as well,” Keogh said.
“I’ve been incredibly lucky to work around the world with different coaches in Great Britain and Canada and that’s certainly played a big part in how I coach these days.
“My goal, in a way is to make myself redundant by the time we get to the Olympic Games. As coaches, our job is to prepare athletes to race in that environment. We can’t be in their ear when they’re halfway down the course and things aren’t going right, so we empower the athletes and prepare them for that moment,” Keogh concluded.
John Keogh is one of four coaches to be shortlisted for the World Rowing Coach of the Year Award, with the winner to be announced by World Rowing at a virtual ceremony on Saturday 29 January.
Visit the World Rowing Website to view the full list of finalists.