My rowing career takes me back to 1979 when a shoulder injury prompted me to change sports from (American) Football. A bit of an unexceptional rowing career at university was impeded by catching up with other experienced oarsmen in technique and then by an illness contracted during a year abroad in West Africa. My one distinction was being captured by a photographer rowing in a Riverside 2x one morning in a photograph that would become quite popular around Cambridge and you can still buy postcards with the photo on it in Harvard Square today (see photo below).
In the 1990s, my company sent me to London to open a European operation for them and we eventually settled in Marlow which with Henley form sort of the Mecca and Medina for all devout rowers. It turned out that our neighbor, John White, was active in Marlow Rowing Club and learning of my rowing past, he brought me down and introduced me to the club. After more than a decade off the water, I started gently with some recreational paddling. I still didn’t have the time to throw myself into a squad, but it wasn’t long before our children were old enough to pull a blade and I was soon taking them on outings (and eventually even had the fun of a father-son race with Chase – see photo above).
When Chase hit Year 9 at Sir William Borlase’s Grammar School, the school had a small programme run out of the Marlow rowing club, but it was a bit all over the place (after many sessions our son came home saying that no coach had turned up or that no boats were available so they just were sent on a run). I decided to see what I could do to help. I stepped forward to help out with the coaching load and soon after took over the role at Chairperson of the Support Group. Ten years later, the programme had grown from 34 to 149 athletes and Borlase was the top ranked State school in the country (in the Nat Schools medal table).
Over time, there were fewer and fewer parents at the school that we knew socially and we were becoming more removed from the school life when our children graduated. Then in 2014, the new Marlow Rowing Club was rebuilt and they expanded the remit with a number of other water sports being hosted (eg. Canoe, Open Water Swimming). They also built the facility from the ground up as being as accessible as possible. With this done, they introduced an Adaptive Rowing programme led by British Rowing coach Ella Willott. Ella was looking for volunteers to help out with the fledgling programme and it seemed a great next step to my rowing coaching work.
Over time, Ella has become more and more focused on her work as Pathway Development Coach for British Rowing and I have taken over the role as Coach and Coordinator for the Marlow Adaptive Rowing. As we built the programme, we have spearheaded a number of initiatives and innovations which will be provide much material for this site. I have also joined the British Adaptive Rowing Advisory Board where a number of people active in adaptive rowing work with British Rowing to promote and develop the sport. Hopefully, this website will provide a useful resource to help that objective.