Darvill and Thompson Announced as 2024 RowOn Coaching Conference Keynote Speakers
Announcement/ Dec 7

Darvill and Thompson Announced as 2024 RowOn Coaching Conference Keynote Speakers

The 2024 RowOn Coaching Conference will take place Nov. 30 – Dec. 1, 2024.

The 2024 RowOn Coaching Conference is just under a year away, but the headliners are already in place as Row Ontario and AMP Rowing are pleased to announce that Michelle Darvill and Paul Thompson will be the two keynote speakers for the event.

Darvill, who coached the Canadian women’s eight to a gold medal at the Tokyo 2020 Oympics, is a current National Team Coach in the Netherlands, while Thompson is the current Performance Director for Rowing Australia.

“We are incredibly excited to share the news with the rowing community that Michelle and Paul will be the two keynote speakers for the 2024 RowOn Coaching Conference,” said Andrew Backer, CEO of Row Ontario. “Their experience coaching and leading rowing programs in several countries throughout the world speaks for itself, and we know they will deliver insightful and meaningful keynote speeches at next year’s Conference. Thank you to our partners AMP Rowing for yet again delivering on two amazing headliners for the Conference. We just came off a successful 2023 Conference, and I’m already excited for next year.”

Darvill got her start rowing as an athlete at the University of Toronto and went on to become a three-time World Champion for both Canada and Germany. Her first World Championship gold came in the LW1x (1993) for Canada and later won gold in the LW2x (1997) and WL4x (2000) for Germany. Following her athletic career, she turned to coaching where her success continued at the development levels of the sport, including coaching three women’s U23 crews to World Rowing Championship gold medals, before she began coaching with the Canadian Senior National Team in 2016. Following the Tokyo 2021 Olympics, Darvill was named both the Canadian Coach of the Year by the Coaching Association of Canada and the World Rowing Coach of the Year. She will look to lead the Dutch women’s team to more Olympic success in 2024 before returning to Canada to speak at the Conference.

Thompson has a long track record of success in rowing, which has included coaching crews to medals at every Olympic Games since 1996. He began his coaching career at the Australian Institute of Sport in the early 1990’s and coached the Australian W2- to a gold medal at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, before moving on to a long tenure of almost two decades with British Rowing. Thompson’s highlights with the British Rowing Team included coaching the women’s team to become the top women’s rowing nation at both the London 2012 and Rio 2016 Olympics. He became head coach with Chinese Rowing in 2019 and helped lead the Chinese W4x to the top of the podium at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Thompson was named Performance Director of Rowing Australia in December 2021.

“For those who may not know Michelle is the ‘M’ in AMP Rowing along with Peter Cookson and myself,” said Al Morrow, partner with AMP Rowing. “It will be great to have Michelle back in Canada to speak on her great experiences in the Netherlands over the last few years. And having Paul Thompson, who is a world leader in our sport, as a keynote at the Conference with all his experience and success throughout the globe is amazing. We want to keep raising the bar for the Conference every year and I think with these speakers we’re well on our way to doing that.”

The announcement of Darvill and Thompson was first made to the 140+ participants in attendance at the 2023 RowOn Coaching Conference last weekend. After returning to an in-person Conference in 2022 for the first time in three years, the 2023 edition more than doubled in size from 2022. Coaches from across Ontario, the northeastern United States and even some from Western Canada participated in two days of lecture, practical, and group discussion sessions.

The 2024 RowOn Coaching Conference will take place on Nov. 30 – Dec. 1, 2024.