Walsh and Casey keep the ball rolling in London

Denise Walsh and Aoife Casey continued a remarkable run of success for Rowing Ireland with a win in the London Metropolitan Regatta last weekend, taking the top spot in the Elite Championship double sculls at Dorney Lake. Monika Dukarska of Killorglin Rowing Club also took the title in the women’s single sculls. A total of fourteen Irish clubs were represented at the event.

Rowing Ireland’s High Performance coaches now gear up for the next big test, World Cup II in Poznan, Poland next week. The team, announced this week, will be mostly the same as for previous events so far this year; Gary and Paul O’Donovan in the lightweight men’s double sculls, Mark O’Donovan and Shane O’Driscoll in the lightweight men’s pair, Sanita Puspure in the women’s single sculls and Denise Walsh in the lightweight equivalent. However, there has been one additional boat confirmed with Dukarska of Killorglin selected in the women’s single sculls. Ireland coach Sean Casey says a decision will be made shortly if another crew, a women’s pair, will travel to Poznan.

In the interim, the selection strategy for the 2017 Home International Regatta was announced earlier this week, with a view to building a team for the 2017 event in Nottingham on the July 22, the weekend after the Irish Rowing Championships. A number of performances will be taken into account, but the Senior Men’s and Senior Women’s Teams will also be selected based on the results of events at Cork Regatta on June 24-25 while athletes for the Junior Teams will be selected as part of the Rowing Ireland Junior Selection Strategy, which is already underway. Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales will compete to win the Victor Ludorum, with the event now in its 55th year.

The success of Ireland’s rowers has sparked great uptake in development programmes in recent years. In the past six months alone there have been coaching courses in Dublin, Belfast, Cork, Limerick, Galway, Enniskillen, Skibbereen, Tralee, Athlone, Carlow, Portadown, Coleraine and Fermoy. Currently there is further interest for “Level 1” courses in several centres including Dublin.

Last year, Rowing Ireland announced details of a new coach registration scheme that ensures all accredited coaches can become part of an active coaching group, with access to regular email updates on coaching developments and also avail of insurance cover for themselves as coaches.

One of the most important ingredients for the growth and success of our sport is having enough good quality coaches to take on the challenge of coaching in rowing clubs, schools and universities. To fulfil the role effectively, the coach must first of all know about the technical skills and the physical and mental demands of their sport, as well as knowing how to plan, organise, teach, motivate and deliver good training sessions. In addition, coaches need to have a good working knowledge of nutrition, hydration, rigging, racing strategy.

There are many great coaches in our sport who have built up this type of knowledge base over many years of experience both as rowers and coaches. The Rowing Ireland Coach Education Programme speeds up the delivery of this knowledge and skills to new generations of coaches and helps to grow our clubs. It’s believed that if we have more coaches progressing faster it will enable recruiting of more rowers and provide help and support for existing coaches.


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