“To Have Hard, Factual Data Coming Back… is Really Important for Me” says GB Rower Helen Glover

Helen Glover

Helen Glover at Royal Albert Dock Trust at an event organised by SAS, the official analytics partner of British Rowing. 

Watch her in action

Although often thought of as a “pulling” sport, in fact, rowing is much more dependent on the “pushing” forces of a rower’s legs. To demonstrate this, SAS, the Official Analytics Partner of British Rowing, invited double Olympic champion Helen Glover to row in an indoor practice tank rigged with sensors on the oars and footplates. As Glover was rowing, SAS collected and analysed data to visually illustrate each stroke and show there is always an opportunity to improve performance, even at the elite level, by highlighting inconsistencies, strengths and weaknesses.

Data collection and analytics are now being adopted across many different organisations, and sport has seen a considerable increase in use of data. It is no longer enough to simply record the speed or angle of a boat in the water, but a huge array of different data types are available to SAS to help allow British Rowing athletes to perform at their best and give them the best chance to succeed at international level.

For rowers benefitting from enhanced data analysis, the development has been vital in ensuring peak performance is achieved. Speaking at an event hosted by SAS, Helen Glover said: “For me, data analytics was fundamental to my build-up to Rio. Having that information about myself, and knowing that I was going to be my best self on the start line was crucial.”

As a previous Henley Royal Regatta winner and double Olympic Champion, Glover understands the impact that data analytics can provide as rowers up and down the country prepare for this year’s regatta. Every athlete understands their performance and how they can improve upon it, whether they are an Olympian getting ready for Tokyo 2020, or club rowers taking part at Henley but Glover identified the reassurance that data analytics can provide when training to be the best in the world, giving her the “edge” over her competitors. “To have hard, factual data coming back and backing up what you’re doing in training is really important for me. Your body is your machine when you’re competing, so anything that you can find out about your body, your mechanics, your physiology, your psychology, is going to make you that better athlete on the start line.”

Speaking about the types of data collected, Steve Ludlow, Principal Technology Consultant at SAS UK & Ireland, said: “British Rowing collects all sorts of data that we can help analyse. We can look at data from the sensors on the boat, the biomechanical data including the angles and forces working on the boat, temperature data, and even medical data.” To put the sheer amount of data collected into perspective, Ludlow described how a new piece of data is collected “every two one thousandths of a second, so if you are doing a session of 24km, then you are collecting gigabytes worth of data [in a single session].”

For more information about SAS, visit www.sas.com

Learn more about British Rowing by visiting: www.britishrowing.org

About British Rowing

British Rowing, as the governing body for the sport, is responsible for the development of rowing in England and the training and selection of rowers to represent Great Britain.

Rowing has a proud history as one of GB’s most successful Olympic sports producing World, Olympic and Paralympic champions from across the UK. The GB Rowing Team is supported by the National Lottery Sports Fund.

Over 825,000 row, indoor or on-water, each month according to Sport England’s year one Active Lives survey.

British Rowing’s mission is to lead, enable and inspire excellence in rowing at all levels. Our vision, through rowing, is to promote the positive impact of sport by providing an enjoyable experience for all participants while upholding our position as a leading rowing nation.

About SAS

SAS is the leader in analytics. Through innovative software and services, SAS empowers and inspires customers around the world to transform data into intelligence. SAS gives you THE POWER TO KNOW®.

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