Talent ID project, supported by SAS, will provide long-term edge

At the 48th World Rowing Championships in Plovdiv, Bulgaria, 13 British Rowing athletes, who began their careers on the specialist talent ID programme - World Class Start - have earned three medals between them as they start to build towards the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

Additional strong performances in 2018’s international regattas, including three World Rowing Cups and the European Championships, will help athletes such as Karen Bennett and Holly Hill – women’s eight crewmates – and Jacob Dawson – part of the men’s four – in their personal campaigns to make the squad for the Games in Japan.

While Tokyo 2020 remains the team’s primary focus, work is already underway to achieve longer term goals at the Paris, 2024 and LA, 2028 Olympics.

British Rowing’s development pathways, including the World Class Start programme, are receiving a further boost from Official Analytics Partner, SAS, to help maintain the GB Rowing Team’s competitive advantage.

World Class Start was established in 2001 to help identify potential Olympians with little or no prior rowing experience who, given their physique and mental attitude, could be developed into future medal-winners. As a mark of its success, every Team GB boat that medalled at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games had at least one crew member who came into rowing through the programme. In total, it has produced 10 Olympic medal-winners.

Commencing in 2018, and with support from SAS’ leading data scientists, the Athlete Longitudinal Profiling (ALP) project is helping British Rowing reduce the time, and streamline processes currently used, to more accurately identify and train future elite rowing talent.

With SAS’ data analytics, British Rowing is pushing the boundaries of how best to initially identify future athletes; how long it takes for athletes
to progress through its Performance Pathway; and, most importantly, how we can streamline the process, reducing the time for an athlete to win a medal in international competition.

Annie Hairsine, Senior Project Man ager – Technology Projects at British Rowing, commented: “The analytics we now have access to from SAS is incredibly powerful. Through careful analysis of athlete data and resulting trends we can identify the key indicators coaches are looking for in athletes’ performance much earlier on. The ALP project will allow us to combine both quantitative and qualitative approaches that complement one another. There’s no doubt that we’re at an incredibly exciting stage.”

Find out more information about the partnership between SAS and British Rowing here.

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