What was the most difficult part of being a new team?
Trying to explain to people the performance culture and standards for high performance – the training needed and the erg scores. People needed to understand that they’re accountable for things they do well and things they do badly. For example: we set a cut-off ergo score and athletes say “I was 0.1 seconds off and feeling a bit ill and I’ve gone faster last year” and we say “No, you didn’t hit the cut off”. People needed to learn that’s the way we are running it. quickly people realized that we meant it.
We took over national rowing to develop a system so that when we leave it’s in place and someone can carry on… filling a pipeline with athletes so there’s sustainability.
Three years on, what’s happening?
We have 1 girl qualified for the Olympics and 5 U23 crews and 3 junior crews. Last year our womens single won Ireland’s first ever junior medal. A lot of girls are now getting scholarships to US universities to study and continue rowing.
How do you handle athletes training overseas and trialling for Ireland? Rob has visited US and built relationships with their coaches. We encourage athletes to take the opportunities offered by American University rowing programmes.
How many people row in Ireland? About 3 -4,000 we have mainly clubs and 6 universities plus some schools. There are now 11 people training at the Cork national training centre…. we are struggling to get right number of athletes.