Pierre de Coubertin, founder of the modern Olympic Games describes rowing as “the most complete sport that one could imagine”. At Monmouth we are fortunate enough to be able to partake in such a sport on one of the best stretches of river in the UK for rowing in a most beautiful part of the country.
Rowing starts at Monmouth School in the summer of Form II through the Junior Rowing Club (JRC) where boys get a taste of the sport in one after school per week. From the following Lent term of the third form onwards, boys can choose rowing as their games option. If they wish to do so, boys are encouraged to join or continue in the JRC in the Michaelmas term of Form III. For obvious safety reasons, boys are expected to be confident swimmers and a swimming test as well as a capsize drill will be performed during Lent term.
We encourage boys to learn to both scull and row and place great emphasis on teamwork as well as personal development. Crews compete at local and national events including Henley Royal Regatta and we regularly take boys on training camps, often abroad.
The focus for all squads is on both skill and physical development, often in smaller boats. Racing this term is in “Head” races which are longer distance time trials. There are usually two at Monmouth as well as some further afield such as Bristol and Wallingford. Form III boys considering taking rowing as their games option in the Lent term are encouraged to join the Junior Rowing Club after school sessions. During half term, there is also a three day “boot camp” run locally for Form III to give them a kick start into the sport.
Given the time of year, we are dependent on the river conditions, and so much of the hard work in January is on land. Senior boys will be spending many hours on ergometers and in the gym as well as trying to clock up as many miles as possible on the water. We focus more on bigger boats and the main goal of the term is the Schools Head of the River race over the Boat Race course in London.
Form III boys get to take up rowing as the games option for the first time and the emphasis for them is on safety and general boat skills. Swimming tests and capsize drills are undertaken in the first half of term. Depending on how quick their progress is, we hope to have them racing towards the end of term – ideally at the National Junior Sculling Head on the Olympic course at Eton Dorney.
During the Easter holidays we take a significant proportion of the rowing club on a training camp in order to prepare for the Summer racing season. This camp is often abroad (e.g. Seville, Spain) although this is no holiday. Rowing performance is one key improvement goal, but also for boys taking external exams revision is very high on the priorities for the schedule and staff are on hand to assist with this.
The regatta season is the highlight of the rowing calendar. The end of each half of term sees a major event with the National Schools Regatta at beginning of the half term holiday and Henley Royal Regatta right at the end of term. These are major national and international events and the school has a proud tradition of representation at both including a gold medal in Championship Coxed Fours in 2014. We attend other regattas throughout the term for developing rowers such as Evesham and Marlow Town.
Boys are encouraged to pursue international aspirations and many have been selected to represent their country. We regularly have boys selected to represent Wales in the Home International Regatta against England, Ireland and Scotland. We also support high performing boys through the GB trials process with a view to representing Great Britain at either the Coupe de La Jeunesse or even the World Rowing Junior Championships. We have had boys selected for both over recent years including Will who stroked the GB VIII at the 2014 World Championships.
Recent illustrious old boys include Tom Lucy who, after winning a Gold Medal at the World Junior Rowing Championships, went on to represent GB at the Beijing Olympics where his VIII claimed silver. Other former internationals include Steve Pearson, Robin Williams (now coach of the current Olympic Champion women’s pair) and of course Lord Moynihan, cox of the Moscow Olympics bronze medal VIII. And Old Monmothian, Laurence Harvey coxed Isis in the 159th BNY Mellon Boat Race.
Monmouth is fortunate to have an extremely experienced coaching team comprising:
John Griffiths (Master in charge)
GB Lightweight international at World Rowing Championships 1986. Coaching international and club rowers since 1990 including recent junior and U23 internationals. Previously junior coach at Hereford RC for 3 years. Coaching Welsh Juniors since 2010.
Henley finalist, National Champion, U23 International. Decades of coaching experience of seniors and juniors including Welsh and GB Internationals. Former master in charge at Monmouth.
Competed at Henley 1999-2001. Silver Award Coach. Trained strength & conditioning coach. Many years of rowing and coaching experience. Welsh Junior Team coordinator from 2009 to 2016.
Henley finalist, National Champion, U23 International. Previously coached the Oratory School and Abingdon School as well as Thames Rowing Club in London. Coached many junior GB Internationals and crews.
All permanent staff coaches are first aid trained
If you would like to know more about rowing at Monmouth please email John Griffiths, Master in charge of Rowing at email@example.com.