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Guildford Rowing News

Support Through Sport UK and Adaptive Rowing

The Charity Support Through Sport UK recently published an article on Adaptive Rowing at Guildford.

Thank you to Danny and Robert for your contribution.

Support through Sport UK had the pleasure of chatting to Guildford Rowing Club’s Robert Hall and Danny Skillman about the club’s adaptive rowing sessions.
Hi Robert and Danny.
Huge thanks for chatting to us today. To begin, can we ask when, and why, Guildford Rowing Club started offering adaptive rowing sessions?
 We first started offering sessions in the early 2000s when a former member of our club – Simon Goody (who’s now the British guru on classification for adaptive and para rowing) – introduced a few people to the club who he thought could make it into the British Paralympic team. Two of these people did indeed make it into the team: Helene Raynsford – who won the first ever Paralympic gold medal at Beijing – and Vicki Hansford, who took a silver in the four. A few years later, in about 2010, I (Robert) was winding down from work and so decided that we should start up the adaptive sessions again. At about that same time, a lady called Claire – who’s a wheelchair user – approached the club about getting involved in rowing. I began by holding her up on a rowing machine and, from there, we acquired some special seats for rowing machines and have since built up a whole fleet of specially-adapted boats (five singles and one double, with another double on the way). This kit has all been funded by external sources. Members of the adaptive squad have won medals at several Rowing World Championships and at the 2016 Rio Olympics (gold), as well as at many local and regional events.
What advice would you give to other rowing clubs – or sports clubs in general – who would like to set up adaptive, or para, squads or sessions?
 I think just do it. Just start. We’ve had a number of clubs come and visit us to seek advice, but it’s not as difficult to do as people might think. The three key things that you need are: (1) equipment (and I’d say that this is almost the easiest of the three things to get as people are really responsive and supportive when you have a story to tell), (2) participants and (3) volunteers. All of these things are critical and there’s nothing worse than when we have people who want to row but we can’t cater for them, or volunteers who don’t have anything to do as we don’t have enough participants. However, over the last few years, we’ve had a fair turnover of people and we’re now one of the most active adaptive rowing clubs in the country.
A few years ago, the Phyllis Court rowing club at Henley invited our adaptive squad to a time trial, so we started going to that, which provided the squad with a good introduction to racing. We’ve actually trialled a number of different racing innovations in order to make racing more open to everyone. For example: as there’s a relatively small number of people racing, we’ve introduced a handicap system that’s based on individual performance, and we’ve also introduced what we call ‘inclusion doubles’, which is where you have a para-athlete with an able-bodied athlete. Chris and Dave from our club recently won the inclusion doubles event at Bedford Head and they also competed in the Pairs Head a couple of weeks ago, which is held on the same stretch of water as the Boat Race.
With adaptive rowing, there are two main streams: para and adaptive rowing. What’s the difference?
 Para-rowing is Olympic rowing and it comprises three very clear classifications: (PR1) Arms and shoulders (there are two events for this category: a men’s and women’s singles event)., (PR2) Trunk and arms (where the event is a mixed double) and (PR3) Leg, trunk and arms (a mixed event (two men and two women), where no more than two members can be registered as visually impaired).
With adaptive rowing, however, we can be far more flexible and aren’t restricted by strict classifications. In the Paralympics, you obviously have to have a clear set of rules, but our mission with the adaptive rowing here at Guildford is to get as many people as we can out on the water enjoying themselves. When someone turns up to the club, I’ll put them on a rowing machine and work out what their capabilities are. For example, with sliding seats, a lot of people can use their legs but they haven’t got strong enough core muscles, so they’re actually much better off in a fixed seat. We have a range of seats they can try and then they can be adjusted to suite the individual. It’s amazing what you can do with a roll of gaffer tape and camping mat! So, to summarise, adaptive rowing is for everyone, and anyone can compete in adaptive racing.
How big an adaptive rowing squad does Guildford Rowing Club now have?
 We currently have about 10 to 12 people.
Did any of your current athletes compete at the recent Invictus Games?
 Yes. Martin Tye and Steve Alman.  Both Martin and Steve actually competed in, and won medals across, a variety of sports including rowing, wheelchair rugby, power-lifting, athletics, wheelchair basketball and sitting volleyball.
If someone is reading this article and is interested in trying out adaptive rowing at your club, who should they contact?
 We’d ask that they fill out an application form, which can be found here.
And, in a similar vein, If someone is reading this article who would be interested in volunteering with the squad, who should they contact?
 You can contact us here. We’d also stress that you don’t have to know anything about rowing to become a volunteer; there are so many different ways that you can help us.
Thanks so much for talking to us, both, and for showing us your fantastic, inclusive club.
You can find the source article and the Charity Support Through Sport UK here:



Down Your Wey – The Guildford Rowing Club Newsletter Nov17


Martin Tye wins 6 medals and Steve Allman one at Invictus Games in Canada

Robert Hall and Jeff Watling win at Pairs’ Head

Wins at Wallingford, Bedford and Upper Thames autumn head races

Chris Boys wins the Frank Toner Cup at Bedford

New Adaptive double scull to arrive this month – to be named ‘Invictus’

 Invictus Games

Martin Tye and Steve Allman from the GRC Adaptive squad took part in the Invictus Games for disabled ex-servicemen held in Canada in September. Martin set a World record in the Heavyweight Powerlifting with a lift of 188 kgs to win Gold. He also won Gold in the 1 minute rowing and Silver over 4 minutes, followed by Silver in the Wheelchair Rugby, Bronze in the Wheelchair Basketball and bronze in the Shot Put. His family were there to watch this outstanding performance.


 Steve Allman also won a Gold medal in the Mixed 4 x 50 metre freestyle relay.


At Wallingford Long Distance Sculls, the women’s squad had Aimee Marshall and Helen Gray being the third fastest women’s double, by only 0.2 sec over the 5km course.  Aimee also won fastest women’s Masters A single in 21mins 15secs with Annika Gleichmann coming in at 20mins 37secs but racing in a different category.

Scott Warden came in 12/29 in the men’s singles in a time of 17mins 49 secs.

With the new Personal Ranking Index becoming more common across all races for this season, it will take us a little while to become familiar with how events split the competition in their events.  Win/results reporting may therefore be a little unfamiliar for a while yet.

Bedford Autumn Head saw another healthy GRC entry with some good results for club crews.  The novice women’s sweep crew finally got a chance to race after some difficulty getting entries over the summer. Hopefully they can build on their experience over the coming season.  The women’s masters racing squad coxed quad of Aimee Marshall, Eleanor Mead, Claudine Chiplin, Rachel Townsend and coxed by Becky Tsao were joint winners in the coxed quads in a time of 8mins 30secs.  The other combinations from the masters racing squad and the novice quad (last year’s beginners) also raced with the masters racing squad crews coming in third and fifth with only 18 seconds separating the three different crew combinations.

Chris Boys and David Jillings won the adaptive supported doubles by a comfortable 6 second margin, with Hilary Birkinshaw and Rob Hall also taking to the water, but coming 6/6 in the open event.

The Women’s Mas A/B/C single sculls was well-populated with GRC rowers, and although Jackie Johnson won in time terms on the water, she lost out in the handicap by 4 secs despite being only a couple of months from Mas C herself.  Sue Loughlin also raced well in the Mas D/E/F singles, completing her first race in a single.  The Masters E/F coxed four came in fourth in a very strong field, in a good time of 8 mins 3 secs.

Chris Boys Wins the Frank Toner Cup at Bedford

The Frank Toner Cup – sponsored by Frank Toner would you believe from Bedford to encourage inter club competition in Adaptive Rowing.  Chris has won the trophy on both the occasions there has been competition.  Not only has Chris won the trophy twice but on this occasion he sculled twice the distance and a passer by had to tell him to stop as he should have finished 1000 metres earlier!

Also at Bedford Chris won the supported double with Dave Jillings.  This is a new adaptive event created by the GRC Adaptive team assisted by the GRC newly created handicap system that allows all age groups and genders to compete together and successfully resulting in some closely fought racing across the squad

In the Pairs’ Head, raced over the Boat race course in London, the Mas H double of Robert Hall and Jeff Watling won their event finishing 372nd overall. Chris Boys and Dave Jillings raced in the Supported 2x event and finished 2nd out of 3, 451st overall. We are fairly certain this is the first ever recorded win by a Guildford crew in this event.

At Upper Thames Small Boats Head Robert Hall and Jeff Watling won Mas G/H 2x, rowing as Southsea.

Adult Beginners course

We accepted 24 onto the course starting last month and have 18 now regularly attending.  We accepted what we thought were nearly equal numbers of men and women, although this has now changed to be around 6 men and 12 women after initial drop-outs and gender guesses based on people’s names proved to be incorrect!

Junior Beginners course

We accepted 28 onto the course which started in September. We still have 27 and they have now joined last year’s beginner squad to form a 12/13 squad of 40. We have been fortunate in recruiting several parents as coaches and helpers and the older juniors have played a significant part in bringing the new juniors into the squad.

River use – Bye Laws

Please remember to use the full stretch of river unless it has been agreed otherwise by all users – coaches and rowers. Early turning can lead to confusion and lack of awareness of boat positions and actions.

Boat & Equipment use

We have had a lot of boat handling damage which could have been avoided.  Request help with handling boats – especially at busy times; two people carrying a single is likely to avoid a lot of the damage that occurs to those boats.  It’s not a case of someone being judged as not capable of boat handling on their own, but of preserving the boats as best we can.


  • Crew Supper – the 2017 GRC Crew Supper took place on Thursday 2nd Over 40 members enjoyed fish and chips followed by chocolate cake and Prosecco and the Captains presented awards to members of their squads and from the wider squad. The occasion was made particularly memorable by the presence of Martin Tye, along with a selection of his Invictus Games medals. He was presented with an Outstanding Achievement Award by Chris Boys on behalf of the club.
  • Christmas Panto – the 2017 GRC Christmas panto is ‘Puss in Boats’ and will be performed on Saturday 16th December. Please contact Richard Coldrick if you would like to take part. No previous experience necessary.
  • Christmas partySaturday 16th December. Contact Helen Gray. Tickets for the party and panto will go on sale later this month.
  • Christmas Scratch RegattaSunday 17th December. Contact Danny Skillman. Pre-entry preferred but entry on the day will be possible. Events for all ages and abilities accompanied by snacks and drinks to get you in the Christmas spirit.
  • 2018 Spring Fling – date and venue TBC. Contact Helen Gray with suggestions and/or offers of help.

Committee Notes

Next meeting Wed 8th Nov. Send your questions and views to the Secretary or through your squad Captain.


Winter is here – wear high visibility tops and warm layers underneath for training.

Be aware of safety requirements and briefings at events on the Thames and open water – the conditions will be very different to our sheltered and benign River Wey.


Report damage or carry out self-help repair and inform the Bosun – John Redmond – so replacement parts can be ordered.

The boat fleet is complete and fit for use along with blade sets and ancillary equipment.

Thank you to Victoria Starr for checking and maintaining the ergo fleet – some spares are awaited. Please clean after use and fix loose items before they break.

Club Development

The major build project has planning permission thanks to the efforts of many club members. Guildford Borough Council is prepared to sell the club the extra land required for the project.

However, Sport England funding opportunities have been significantly reduced after being assessed as having had minimal impact on numbers participating in sport since 2012. The development sub-committee are re-examining options for the next steps in realising the aspirations of the club for the long-term. But some difficult decisions will have to be made if we are to make the best of what we have, what we need and what we can afford.


Another 12 wins to end the GRC summer season


First Win for our Ladies at Maidenhead

See the results page for details.  To summarise, 12 wins across all squads. Despite thunderstorms at Staines cancelling some events we recorded 4 junior wins.  The masters double of Rob & Jeff achieve back to back wins at Henley Town & Visitors and Maidenhead.  7 wins at Maidenhead from Adaptive and Senior.  Aimee wins her first 1x and the Mas F4- get two for the price of one, having to re-row after Walbrook collided with a paddling crew straying on to the course.

End of Season for Junior Beginners

Molesey winning J12 crew

Cameron Cashen   George Guest   Henry Chadwick (cox)   Charlie Hall   Lucas Hanin

It is suddenly the end of the summer term and our junior beginner squad have completed their last regatta. The Club thank the coaches and helpers who work to make it all happen.  Many have already gone on holiday and the rest will follow soon. Sadly this means it is the end of the official rowing season for the beginner squad and the new season kicks off in September as follows:

The current J13s and WJ13s move up an age group and will join the main Junior squad. There is a meeting for juniors and your parents at the club at 10.00 on Sunday 3rd September.

The current J12s and WJ12s become J13s and WJ13s on 1 September. The first training session will be at 9.00 on Sunday 3rd September.

The new beginner course starts on Saturday 9th September at 14.00 and will run for 6 Saturday afternoons. It would be appreciated if the current J12s and WJ12s would help with the course whenever they are able to do so.

Between now and September most of the coaches will be on holiday but we can offer the following holiday sessions:

Wed 2 Aug    16.00 – 18.00

Sun 6 Aug    9.00 – 10.30

Sun 13 Aug    9.00 – 10.30

Wed 16 Aug    16.00 – 18.00

Sun 20 Aug    9.00 – 10.30

Wed 23 Aug    16.00 – 18.00

Wed 30 Aug    16.00 – 18.00

Please email or text Danny to let him know if you wish to attend any of these sessions. Some parental help would be welcome.

It has been a fantastic year and on behalf of all the coaches and helpers we would like to thank you and congratulate you on achieving so much and with such great enthusiasm, humour and commitment. We hope you have enjoyed it as much as we have and we look forward to seeing you progress in your rowing careers wherever you may pursue them.

With very best wishes for a great Summer,

The Junior Coaches


5 Junior Wins at Kingston

Guildford Juniors win 5 at Kingston:



Win:  J16 4x- of Henry, William, James and Nathan

Win:  J16 1x of Lucy Stevenson rowing up a year as WJ16


Win:  J14 4x+ of Zac, Richard, Joe, Josh and Reece (cox)

Win:  J14 2x of  Joe and Josh

Win:  WJ12 4x+ of  Darcie, Ella, Imogen, Ellie and Silvia (cox)

Final: J14 2x of Ben and Zac

Final:  J12 4x+ of Ben, Benjy, Charlie, Lucas and Adelaide (cox)

GRC Juniors are Eagle Radio Team of the Week

Four of our youngsters featured on Eagle Radio as ‘team of the week’ here is the recording that was aired:  We also feature in he latest edition of Rowing & Regatta magazine.


Thames Valley Park Regatta (TVP)

2 wins at TVP and lots of finals.

Win:  J16 4x+ of Henry Miguda, William, James Reckord, Adam and Reece (cox) beat Magdalen College in the first round and then Reading Bluecoat and Whitgift schools in the final.

Win:  J142x of Josh Ingham and Joe beat Eton Excelsior and Kingston Grammar School in the first round and then Henley Rowing Club and another Kingston Grammar School crew in the final.

Final:  J16 2x of James Reckord and William

Final:  J14 2x’s of Emily Wolfendon/Jess and Emily/Ella

Final:  J13 4x+ of

Final:  J15 2x of James Casemore and Peter Denton

Egham Regatta

At most regattas quads and singles are in the same division so we rarely get the opportunity to compete in singles.  We entered only small boats at Egham and the number of race wins we got demonstrated our strength in this area.  All the categories were fully subscribed with a possible total of 4 races in each.  A number of us also doubled-up which proved to be quite tiring!

Win:  After 4 rounds it was an all Guildford final in the J14 2x event with Joe Bryant/Josh Ingham beating Richard Loch/Eddie Vaughan.  Richard Loch suffered an injury so it was another win for Joe and Josh.  This was a tough event with 16 crews entered.

Final:  Emily Wolfendon/Jess Bebbington.  Beat Surbiton High School in the first round, Staines in the 2nd round, Langley Academy in the 3rd and narrowly lost to Reading in the final.


A small squad of 7 Guildford rowers competed at National Masters on 10th June at Nottingham.  With the conditions worsening as the day progressed, Guildford enjoyed success, winning Gold in WMas A/B 4x.  The crew comprised of Annika Gleichmann, Lenka Higley, Emma Pinchbeck and Jackie Johnson.  Lenka, in her first competition of this calibre,  came 3rd in WMas A 1x.  Annika and Jackie faced tough competition in WMas B 2x and fought through to gain Silver.  Well done to Helen Gray and Aimee Marshall who competed for the first time at WMas A 2x and gained valuable experience, and to Rob Hall who competed with Jeff Watling in Mas H 2x.

Huge thank you’s to Peter Scott for all his coaching and support, Eton Excelsior for towing to Nottingham, Richard Coldrick, Rob Hall and Paul Woowat for helping with organising and towing.

Jackie Johnson


Young Juniors share Victor Ludorum prize at Maidenhead Junior Regatta

GRC sent 8 crews to Maidenhead Junior Regatta on Sunday 14th May. This regatta is specially structured for those new to rowing – ‘A’ events for those in their first 2 years and ‘B’ events for those in the first year. The regatta also operates a repechage system which gives the losers of first rounds a chance to race again in the second round. All the crews made it through the first 2 rounds of racing in the morning and in to the afternoon session. This proved a challenge with just 4 boats and the coxswains didn’t get much of a break. By the end of the day the Guildford crews had competed in 28 races – including 2 re-rows after dead heats, reached 4 finals and emerged the winners of 3 events. This earned us joint first place in the Victor Ludorum competition with Henley Rowing Club.

The winning crews were:

J14 4x+    Guy Tregear, Josh Ingham, Joe Bryant, Zac Harrison cox: Fay Dodd

J12 4x+    Lucas Hanin, Charlie Hall, Ben Isherwood, Benjy Kingerlee cox: Hannah Kingerlee

WJ12 4x+    Darcie Moss-Brown, Ella Curtis, Imogen Wells, Ellie Young cox: Sofia Palau

All of the other crews raced really well and were only narrowly defeated. Many thanks to Richard Mattos for towing both ways, to the coaches and helpers, and to the supporters who easily won the prize for loudest cheering effort. A great day out and lots of happy juniors after their first regatta.

The Junior Coaches

2 Medals at Shrewsbury

The vet men traveled to Shrewsbury Regatta again this year.  A small contingent again this year but an event the Club has attended continually for the past 17 years.

This year it was medals not pots for straight final winners that masters events tend to become, but victory still sweet.

On the saturday Bill & Paul won their first event in the pair with the four losing to Nottingham.

On sunday Bill Paul Steve & Richard formed a composite eight with Pengwern, taking victory against the Stourport crew we raced last year – losing last time by 2 feet but ahead by half a length this year. –  so now one each with a re-match promised for next year.  The four raced well against a strong Derby crew that certainly deserved the honours

Paul Woowat