STAGING CEO Membership Column - August 2020 - British Rowing

CEO Membership Column – August 2020

This month Andy highlights how we are moving towards a new normal on the water.


After nearly 30 years with British Rowing, Jürgen Grobler OBE stepped down as Chief Coach of the GB Rowing Team in August. As many of you might be aware already, his outstanding career includes coaching 20 Olympic champions to 33 gold medals from eight crews for Great Britain. At world championship-level, a staggering 23 crews have medalled since 1991 with 16 taking home gold medals.

Jürgen’s presence will be hugely missed when the GB Rowing Team return to full-time training this week. As the countdown to Tokyo begins once again, the GB rowers will be training across three sites – Caversham and Longridge for on-water training and then Bisham Abbey for land training.


Life is also nearing a greater normality for the wider rowing community as we have now moved to Phase F in our Return to Rowing guidance (V6). This means that mixed household crews in coxed and coxless doubles and pairs, coxed and coxless fours and quads, eights and octuples are all now permitted to be out on the water.

There is also a phased return to competition with some internal and inter-club events allowed. You can check our detailed guidance on how to be COVID Secure in our latest Return to Rowing (V6) coronavirus advice above.

Thank you to all the clubs who are following the guidance set out so far – we appreciate this involves a huge effort for many volunteers to work out how to make your club environment’s COVID Secure. We welcome your feedback, so please do get in touch if you think further adjustments need to be considered.

In order to ensure we are providing the best possible advice for competitions in how to be COVID Secure, we will be holding up to two test events in September. Feedback from these will be used to improve the advice we provide to competition organisers for the future.

With many rowers itching to return to competition, we’ve also brought forward the launch of the British Rowing Challenge Hub. Starting with a 250m Autumn Dash Challenge which can be completed on any stretch of water, the Challenge Hub will enable British Rowing members to complete different competitive challenges throughout the year. This will also mean that we’ll have a league table for on-water rowers for the first time. You can post as many times as you like, so get involved and we can then see what everyone likes about it and what changes we need to make to ensure this platform provides you, our members, what you need.

New challenges will be added to the Challenge Hub over the coming weeks and months as the platform develops and please do feed back any views or comments to

Finally, I’m pleased to let you know that the deadline for the British Rowing Club Emergency Fund has been extended by three months to 7 December. The fund supports clubs that are experiencing significant financial hardship as a result of COVID-19. So far, we have had 13 applications and all clubs that have met the eligibility criteria have received funding.

Enjoy your rowing and stay safe.