Winning gold gets GB Rowing Team’s James Fox fired up for the future

British rowing athletes at the World Rowing Championships in Sarasota, Florida, USA, have revealed the importance of data analytics in working towards the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Will Satch and Kat Copeland, gold medal winning Olympians, and James Fox, current Paralympic and World Champion, took time out after their week in the Florida sunshine at the stunning Nathan Benderson Park to share how working with British Rowing’s official data analytics partner, SAS, can contribute to making their boats go faster, as well as their focus and plans for the Olympiad.

James Fox, part of the GB Rowing Team’s Para-rowing PR3 Mixed Coxed Four, speaking with SAS following Gold at the 2017 World Rowing Championships

James Fox: “Winning a gold medal today really gets me fired up for the future, putting in the hard work now and making it easy in three years’ time. The focus for me now is on Tokyo. It was great to win gold at Sarasota this year and we want to win it again next year, but after that we’re in the qualifying year and then we’re suddenly in an Paralympic year, where everything starts to get really real.

“We use data every day, we use it immediately in the boat, we have a speed coach who tells us how fast we’re going and how many strokes we’re taking per minute and that is really crucial to us, especially when racing and so that we know we’re on the red line all the way. The weather has been really different to home, but we know from data that warm water makes the boat go faster; even a little fact like that is really important to know and gives us a confidence boost. It’s important to be able to compare the data from past performance, especially in the lead up to Tokyo 2020, so that when we get there, we know the level our performance is at and how we have progressed throughout the four years.”

Will Satch, part of the GB Rowing Team’s Men’s Four, speaking with SAS following Bronze at the 2017 World Rowing Championships

Will Satch: “Over the four years that we’ve had SAS as our Analytics Partner everything gets analysed. We’re tested about six times a year on the water and six on the Ergo machine, but we’re tested on something almost every day of the year now and it’s put into the system. We see the results of biomechanical analysis, water analysis, but the list really goes on and on. From the moment you wake up in the morning to when you go to sleep, everything is monitored. We’re very lucky to have a partner with SAS’s data analytics capabilities working with us.

British Rowing Athletes
British Rowing athletes (L-R). Will Satch, Kat Copeland and James Fox at the 2017 World Rowing Championship, Sarasota

Kat Copeland, part of the GB Rowing Team’s Women’s Lightweight Double, speaking with SAS following competing at the 2017 World Rowing Championships

Kat Copeland: “It’s a benefit being able to see the data after performing. We can get a better understanding of how to make the most effective stroke on the water and how to make the boat go that bit faster, by looking at the forces and angles working on the boat which has been extremely useful in day-to-day training.

“It’s really great having the data collected, and to then be able to use it and actually interact with it. We get a lot of body measurements, even measuring skin folds, but that data can be really useful in improving performance. In my crew last year we had a bit of a problem with over training and not recovering for long enough and we were able to use skin fold and body fat measurements from the past five years to see that our measurements were too low and too lean. Going in to this year we’ve been able to really eradicate that problem. I really feel that with SAS we have the people around us to help us maximise the use of data and help direct us in our training to improve our overall performance.

“Our team is really focused on Tokyo and the next Olympiad, that’s what we’re all working towards. I’m treating next year as another building block towards Tokyo as we’ve only really got one more year until Qualifications.”

Marginal Gains

Since March 2014, SAS has been working with British Rowing helping to develop their data capabilities to ultimately identify opportunities to make the marginal gains that help makes the boats go faster.

Data captured by British Rowing, for analysis by SAS, comes from an enormous variety of sources, measuring all aspects of training, from biomechanics and physiology to weather and diet.

Click here for more information about SAS, Official Analytics Partner of British Rowing.

About SAS

SAS is the leader in analytics. Through innovative analytics, business intelligence and data management software and services, SAS helps customers at more than 83,000 sites make better decisions faster. Since 1976, SAS has been giving customers around the world THE POWER TO KNOW®.

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