The boys are supported in their rowing by an extremely dedicated set of rowing staff who devote masses of time and energy to honing the boys’ skills. The coaching set up is as follows:
|year group||teacher in charge||coaches|
|Senior||Mr Mark Earnshaw||Mr Rory Copus||Mr Nick Strange|
|Year 5/J16||Mr Rory Copus||Mr Henry Morgan|
|Year 4/J15||Mr Hugh Price||Mr Mike Webb||Mr Mike Litchfield|
|Year 3/J14||Mrs Amanda McKend||Mr Jonny Garrow||Mr Ben Whitworth||Mr Matthew Kendry|
|Boathouse Manager||Mr Jonny Garrow|
Director of Rowing and Senior Coach – Mark Earnshaw
Mark previously worked as a Men’s High Performance Coach with the Great Britain Olympic Rowing team. He has worked with the Olympic team for the past eight years and with GB Rowing for over 10 years, securing numerous international medals and coaching the Men’s Double Scull to an Olympic Bronze medal in Beijing 2008, the first in this event for 30 years and World Bronze and Silver Medals in 2006 and 2010. Before 2005 Mark worked as Talent Development Coach within GB Rowing, setting up the Reading World Class Start Centre; many of the school age athletes he coached are now also leading members of the Olympic team, including Alex Gregory, Sam Townsend, Charles Cousins, Bill Lucas and Dan Ritchie. Before moving to Abingdon, Mark gained his last international medal coaching the U23 Lightweight Men’s Four to Silver at the 2013 World Championships (the crew included an Old Abingdonian). Prior to this Mark worked as a History teacher in Evesham and coached rowing at the University of Bristol.
I/C J16 and Senior Coach – Rory Copus
Rory joins Abingdon School as Senior Rowing Coach. Prior to this appointment, he worked as Assistant Coach at Oxford Brookes University. Rory is an Old Abingdonian and former 1st VIII coxswain back in 2009, having started his rowing career here at the School. After leaving school, he studied Mechanical Engineering at Oxford Brookes University, and won the Temple Challenge Cup with his brother and fellow alum Jamie in 2014. Rory has competed for Great Britain at every level from GB J16 up to U23 and World University level.
Senior Coach – Nick Strange
Nick joins Abingdon as a Senior Coach. He has an extraordinary pedigree in both rowing and coaching. Nick rowed for GB at the U23 World Championships winning a silver medal and represented GB at the Lucerne Regatta on no less than 12 occasions, winning 7 medals, 2 of them gold. On 14 separate occasions he represented GB at the Senior World Rowing Championships winning 1x bronze and 4x silver and most impressively rowed for GB in the Light Weight Double at the 1996 Olympics Games in Atlanta. Nick has also won both the Wyfold and Visitors Challenge Cups at HRR. Since 2003 Nick has been a High Performance Coach, an Elite Coach and an Olympic Women’s rowing coach. He coached the W8+ at both the 2011 Senior World Championships where they won a bronze medal and the London Games in 2012, where they came 5th. As a Youth Olympic Coach in 2009/10 his boat won a gold medal. His experience will be invaluable.
J16 Coach – Henry Morgan
Henry started rowing at Winchester College before taking up coxing at Oxford. He coxed for his College 1st crews (inc. blades 2005). He then won a half blue coxing for OUWLRC, beating Cambridge in 2005. Henry coached the J15 2nd eight in 2009. Four of the boys won the J15A event at the Reading Amateur Regatta. In 2010 Henry coached the J14 B crew to an excellent victory at the National Schools Regatta. In 2011 he ran the J15 age group and lead the J15A crew to the A final at National Schools and to winning the Reading Town Regatta.
I/C J15 Coach – Hugh Price
Hugh will be tackling the challenging role of managing the J14 rowers again this year. This will be Hugh’s ninth year in charge of the J14s. Hugh learned to scull at Dulwich College and rowed in the Worcester College 1st Eight at University as well as coaching the College’s Women’s Eight. He joined Abingdon from KCS Wimbledon where he coached the J14s. Under his charge, in 2008 and 2009, the J14s performed extremely well with numerous wins under their belt with the highlight being the win of the J14 octuple event at the Marlow Regatta in 2008 where they beat the crew that won the National Championships. In 2010 J14 B crew won the National Schools Regatta and in 2011 the A crew came in with a tremendous second at the Regatta.
J15 Coach – Mike Webb
Mike was in charge of the rowing at Latymer Upper School before joining us in 2001. He had recently retired from active service with the Great Britain National team. He has been a leading light in the sculling squad for a number of years and competed at the World Championships in St Catherine’s, Canada in 1999. He has vast experience and knowledge and is able to get his message across to the boys easily and effectively. He took the J14 squad during 2002/3 and they had an excellent year. A number of inter-school races were masterminded and run by Mike. In 2006 he coached the J16 Eight to a bronze medal at the National School Regatta. Over the last few years Mike has achieved brilliant results with various crews including wins for the J15s at Bedford Regatta, the 2nd Eight at the Marlow regatta and an excellent bronze medal for the 2nd eight at the National Schools Regatta. Mike’s technical expertise and rowing experience make him an invaluable member of the Club.
J15 Coach – Mike Litchfield
Mike is an Abingdon old boy and former 1st Eight oarsmen from 1994. Pictures of him can still be found in the boathouse if one looks carefully. His rowing career has remained dormant since his days at Abingdon but his experiences at Manchester University, in Texas and at BAE Systems will have done little to diminish his competitive drive. Mike has coached numerous crews in his time at the school and lead the 2nd Eight to a silver medal at the National Schools Regatta in 2011. His knowledge of the Abingdon School rowing and experience as an oarsmen help to maintain the tradition and ethos of the Boat Club.
I/C J14 Coach – Amanda McKend (née Moore)
Amanda learnt to row at Henley Rowing Club when she was 12 and raced with them from J14 to J18, winning medals at Nat Schools, Nat Champs and the Junior Inter-regional regattas. She then rowed at Bristol University in their women’s 1st VIII and IV, before coaching in her third year in an effort to save some time – this was not the case! Amanda then gained her coaching qualification, and while studying for her MA at Reading University she ran their women’s Novice Squad, gaining some strong time management skills! Amanda has been involved in rowing all her life, as she and her family help run the Reading Town and Thames Valley Park regattas, and in 2011 she helped found Thames Valley Park Rowing Club, one of the few recreational rowing clubs in the UK! Favourite part of rowing: sculling in a perfect coxless quad. Least favourite part of rowing: de-rigging in the rain!
J14 Coach – Ben Whitworth
Ben started his rowing career whilst a boy at Shrewsbury School, racing against Abingdon on numerous occasions (he optimistically thinks it was about even-stevens over the years!). From there he rowed for Magdalene College, Cambridge and was awarded four sets of blades for both May and Lent Bumps. He then decided it was much easier to coach from a bike rather than from in the boat, and has not looked back since. After a brief stint looking after a squad at Vesta RC in Putney, he helped grow a fledgling boat club for Whitgift School, Croydon where he brought the inexperienced crews up to a level where they could start to compete at national regattas.
J14 – Matthew Kendry
Matt noviced while in his first year at St. John’s College, Cambridge, and rowed for various LMBC crews there, including the 2nd Lent and May VIIIs, and the 1st VIII at the Head of the River. After going nowhere near any form of boat for 8 years, he coached rowing at Clifton College, before moving to Abingdon in January 2014. He has had three enjoyable years of coaching the J14s and now takes on the 3rd VIII and J16 Cs. Off the river, he loves a good quiz and gets very competitive at the annual FASBC quiz and curry night!
Boathouse Manager – Jonny Garrow
Jonny began his rowing career as a cox at Llandaff in 1994 and later went on to represent Wales at Junior level in the 1x and the 4- at the Home International. He went on to study at Newcastle and joined the coaching team at Queen Elizabeth High School, Hexham during his final year. Jonny went on to coach at Monkton and British Rowing as a Henley Stewards’ Coach before taking over the reins at Wycliffe College from 2008-2014. Jonny’s main love is keeping the boats looking pristine as well as eating cake with a good coffee! In his spare time, he is still an active rower.