Ontario Academy of Rowing an Innovative Approach to High Performance Rowing
With the announcement of the launching of the Row Ontario Provincial Rowing Centre in May, another piece of exciting news came in the form of the creation of Ontario’s first and only rowing academy. The Ontario Academy of Rowing will be housed in the Provincial Training Centre and represents an innovative step in developing high performance rowers in Ontario.
Modelled after existing sports academies for hockey, soccer and basketball, the Ontario Academy of Rowing will feature programming developed by a panel of leading advisors targeted at developing the next generation of high performance Ontario rowers.
“When we created the concept for the Ontario Academy of Rowing, we wanted to ensure we were doing something that would benefit the long term growth of Ontario’s high performance rowers,” said Chris Marshall, Manager, High Performance, Row Ontario. “The Academy program will nurture our brightest young athletes’ abilities and put them on a path to achieve their high performance rowing goals. We’re prepared to give the Academy athletes all the tools they need to be successful both on and off the water and we’re looking forward to working with our first class of athletes in the Fall.”
The Academy is targeted at athletes that are seeking the opportunity to train in an ideal daily training environment giving them the best opportunity to develop into elite senior athletes capable of success at the international level. Development athletes aged 15-19 years are the target group for the Academy, but exceptions to those demographics could be made based on where athletes are in their development and their experience in rowing. Transfer athletes from other sports with the desired physiology for rowing will also be considered for the Academy on a case-by-case basis.
The training program for Academy athletes will be a comprehensive, year-long program delivered by full-time professional coaches. Low athlete-to-coach ratios will also ensure a conducive learning environment and a timely progression on the development curve for athletes, and the Academy member’s training programs will be integrated with the Canadian Sport Institute of Ontario (CSIO) and their team of physiologists, nutritionists, bio mechanists, sport psychologists and strength and conditioning coaches.
“The addition of a Rowing Academy will enhance the performance-pathway support for athletes aspiring to represent Ontario and Canada on National and International podiums,” said Murray McCullough, High Performance Athlete Development Advisor, CSIO. “CSIO is honoured to have been a part of the Academy strategic planning process, and looks forward for the continued opportunity to work closely with the athletes, coaches, and technical staff to provide the appropriate support required to embrace the strong high performance Rowing culture, vision, and performance benchmarks shared across Row Ontario and Rowing Canada Aviron.”
Training will be done exclusively in singles and competitive opportunities for Academy will include the National Rowing Championships, Row Ontario Small Boat Trials, RCA NextGen opportunities, Row Ontario Provincial Team programs and other opportunities based on individual performance and progression.
“Rowing Canada Aviron is thrilled to be working closely with Row Ontario on the rollout of the Ontario Academy of Rowing,” said Iain Brambell, High Performance Director, RCA. “We look forward to seeing the Academy’s positive impact on athletes and coaches and their successful progression along the high performance development pathway.”
The Academy will exist in collaboration with the other training groups within the Provincial Training Centre, including National Development athletes and members of the Ontario Provincial Team and will at certain times of the year have integrated programming.
The location of the Provincial Rowing Centre has not yet been determined. In May, Row Ontario distributed a Request for Proposal to all locations in Ontario which were identified as capable of providing the facilities necessary to successfully run the centre. The location will be announced in the coming weeks, along with the Head Coach of the Provincial Training Centre. The expected Fall 2020 start date of the Academy as well as other logistics surrounding the launching of the Provincial Rowing Centre may be dependent on how the COVID-19 pandemic progresses.
Any questions regarding the Ontario Academy of Rowing can be directed to Chris Marshall, Manager, High Performance at firstname.lastname@example.org.