STAGING “The DiSE modules helped me realise what I needed to include to increase my performance!” - British Rowing

“The DiSE modules helped me realise what I needed to include to increase my performance!”

The Diploma in Sporting Excellence programme applications are now open – find out more below


Gold for Millie Warren and Evelyn Nutton at the 2019 HIR

Did you know that if you are a talented teenage rower, you can study for a qualification while also focusing on your rowing ambitions?

The Diploma in Sporting Excellence (DiSE) programme is a part-time two-year course for promising 16-year-olds who have the talent and determination to progress into the GB Rowing Team. The qualification, which carries 64 UCAS credits, is awarded as a pass on successful completion of all units. The award covers a range of topics including rowing performance and nutrition through to lifestyle and financial planning.


With 40 places available this year, the course offers an education programme aimed at supporting young athletes to develop and achieve their full potential, as well as gaining a practical sporting qualification.

Graduates from the programme, include GB rowers Jack Beaumont and Jess Leyden with several current students already earning representation at the Junior Worlds and Coupe de la Jeunesse and the Home International Regatta.

Jess Leyden, who spoke on a recent British Rowing Webinar, was a student on DiSE whilst rowing at Hollingworth Lake and talked about the key benefits of the programme.

She said: “The most I got out of it was interacting with the other athletes that were trialling as juniors and in the exact position that I was. This was great for me coming from a small club with not many juniors.

DiSE has taught me to pay attention to the finer details of the bigger sport

“Also working with Loretta Williams and Hannah Vines was awesome and putting what I did in training and racing onto paper, and into more structure, whilst also adding in some new things to try.”

Before DiSE, Jess hadn’t written down training and race plans, so having to do this has really helped her at senior level.

“We have to write down all of the day’s plans, race plans and race reviews down for clarity and so everyone knows what we are doing. In the single, as a junior, you can get away with not doing it, but AASE [now DiSE] was that first exposure I had to that sort of thing and I’m glad I did it.”

Now in her second year of DiSE, Millie Warren from Ardingly represented England at the 2019 Home International Regatta, winning a gold medal with Evelyn Nutton in the junior women’s double scull.

She said: “I think DiSE has taught me to pay attention to the finer details of the bigger sport. The nutrition side has particularly helped me; as a pescatarian, I always found it difficult to eat enough protein.

“The DiSE modules really helped me to realise what else I needed to include to increase my performance!”

Applications for the October 2020 intake open this week and close on 1 September

How does the course work?

Once students have met certain performance criteria and have qualified for the DiSE programme, they have two options of how to study.

1 – The main route is through British Rowing’s centralised programme

Athletes train as normal at their club and study for the DiSE (which is awarded through Hartpury College) via the central programme, where delivery is at camps, trials and via distance-learning and club visits with DiSE mentors.

Loretta Williams, Programme Manager for the DiSE, said: “In addition to the face-to-face sessions there are online forums and learning opportunities available for the athlete to engage in.

“One of the most valuable parts of the centralised programme is the partnership established between the club, the athlete and the British Rowing mentors.”

2 – The second route is for athletes studying A-levels or BTECs at Hartpury College

Students can row and study for the DiSE at Hartpury at the same time as their main study programme. Accommodation is available on-site for those students who do not live in the local area.

Training at Hartpury

The DiSE offers the chance to train at the state-of-the-art Hartpury Academy, opened by Dame Katherine Grainger in May 2019.

Tom Radcliffe, Director of Elite Sport, at Hartpury said: “Combined with on-site accommodation, the programme offers an exceptional opportunity to achieve both academically and in sport at the highest levels. Students on the rowing academy benefit from specialist strength and conditioning, physiotherapy, nutrition, and psychology support staff, in addition to a number of full-time rowing coaches.

How do I apply?

In order to apply, athletes must have met one of the performance criteria set which is reviewed yearly to ensure it reflects current standards. The criteria is in line with the Junior GB Assessment process, World Class Start testing and Para Talent ID programme.

Applications for the October 2020 intake open this week and close on 1 September.

If you are interested in applying, or have any questions about the programme, you should contact Loretta Williams, Programme Manager for DiSE here in the first instance. You can also apply using the form here.