Fiona Dennis replies: Moving the British Champs date

Fiona Dennis Photographed by Peter Spurrier

Fiona Dennis is Chairman of the Working Party and has written a reply giving her views on the wide ranging discussion that’s been going on both on this site and others about the new date for the National Rowing championships of Great Britain.

Whatever the format we come back to the key question what is the purpose of the Championships and I appreciate that views vary and there is merit in all the suggestions that have been made. The view from Council and a variety of coaches, rowers and others involved in the sport is that if we are going to have a National Championships then that is what it should be, i.e. the best rowers competing for the medals. The concern is that at present this is certainly not the case for a variety of reasons so we are trying something different…..

We have now published an article on the British Rowing Website which exlains the rationale for the changes in more detail.

I am aware that ‘a squad’ crew turning up would be a turn off for clubs. The intention is that individuals go back to their clubs as they do for the heads, however I appreciate that a number of clubs provide a large percentage of the internaional team so the number of international rowers per crew will be limited, this is not about medal hunting for the squad and definitely not (although incorrectly interpreted as) intended to focus soley on the internationals.

What we are aiming to achieve is a format that enables the most competent rowers from across the sport juniors, universities and senior to compete.

However, I have no doubt that there will be amendments after next year and we need to consider how the event develops over the next few years – this is the first step. I appreciate your comments and it may be that as the resource in terms of organisational capacity increases the Championships considers expanding the range of events. .

Many thanks for your feedback, I appreciate people taking the time to comment as it helps us move forward.

Fiona Dennis

Chairman of the Working Party

4 thoughts on “Fiona Dennis replies: Moving the British Champs date

  1. James Wilson says:

    Interesting comment moving National Championships although you only have to look to Sweden or Norway to see that these events are held in September as last regatta of the season. They are seen as club championships so all oarsmen have to compete for there registered club. A composite crew may compete but will not receive a medal if they win.

    • Tom Carter says:

      “Interesting comment moving National Championships although you only have to look to Sweden or Norway to see that these events are held in September as last regatta of the season..”

      True, but Norway and Sweden do not have a Henley Royal Regatta! Rightly or Wrongly the Royal Regatta is currently seen as the high point and end of the rowing season after a very tough winter season that starts in September – March and Regatta season that goes from April – June (leaving July and August time for relaxing and unwinding).

      “They are seen as club championships so all oarsmen have to compete for there registered club. A composite crew may compete but will not receive a medal if they win”

      The problem with having just a club championships are that this is more or less being done 3-4 times a season with the Regatta’s being held at Dorney Lake, if it were club only then the the National Championhips would just be “another mulitlane regatta” not bringing anything new to the current regattas that are being held

      Although it is good to read Fiona’s response here unfortunatly it doesn answer any of my questions or concerns that I raised (see the previous post) and only really seems to focus on the perceived concerns of crews from Leander and Molesey filled with GB athletes dominating events at the National Championships. Personally I have no concerns with a National Championships which include current GB athletes, however I do have major concerns with an event being held in October as it really seems to have been totally focused on being timed so that GB athletes can attend and completely ignores the calendar of the GB Club Athlete.

      As highlighted before, April is really the only date where both the GB Athletes and the Club athletes are both “free” enough to attend a National Championships, so that would be the best date to hold one.

  2. jy says:

    I’m in the April camp myself.
    October is a compromise that doesn’t suit anybody.
    For the squad rowers it will be little more than an inconvenience.
    For club rowers it is out of kilter with the rest of the season.
    Weather and daylight are against you.

    The only way to make a National Championship mean anything to squad rowers is to make it part of the trials process and that means April:

    Thursday, Small boats time trial
    Friday, Small boats heats
    Sat AM, small boats finals (inc B, C, D etc)
    Sat PM, Big boats heats & reps
    Sun, Big boats SF & F

    So trials could be pretty much the same as now, followed by 1.5 days of big boat racing, with possibly club level small boats running along side.

    In an attempt to even things out a bit, in the big boat events, I would advocate clubs only being allowed to enter one crew per event and banning composites.

  3. richard Philips says:

    Define an International Athlete.

    Senior team in year in question?

    U23 Team?

    U23 medallist ?

    Sound just like the issues that HRR have for their events.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.