The students are supported in their rowing by an extremely dedicated set of rowing staff who devote masses of time and energy to honing the students’ skills.
Director of Rowing – Mark Earnshaw
Mark previously worked as a Men’s High Performance Coach with the Great Britain Olympic Rowing team. He worked with the Olympic team for eight years and with GB Rowing for over 10 years, securing numerous Henley wins, 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 have been lead members of the Olympic team, including Alex Gregory, Sam Townsend, Charles Cousins, Bill Lucas, Dan Ritchie and Natasha Page. 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.
Head Coach and Assistant Director of Rowing - Phil Gray
Phil previously worked as Director of Rowing at Sir William Borlase’s Grammar School where he has led their resurgence as a force in junior sculling. Prior to this he was Head Coach at the University of London where he ran one of the countries top university rowing programmes, regularly reaching finals at Henley, winning medals at the British University Championships and securing top 10 finishes for his top crew eight years in a row at the HORR. He has coached internationally and won medals with crews at the World U23 Championships. He has a huge wealth of knowledge of student rowing and has all the characteristics to help build an exciting future for rowing at the school.
Boathouse Manager and Lead Coach J14 - 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 an active and very fast cyclist.
Assistant Boathouse Manager and Lead Coach J16 - James Robins
James began rowing aged 14 for the King’s School Worcester. Over the course of 5 years at school he managed to win gold medals at National Schools Regatta, Schools Head of the River, Wallingford Regatta and many other national events, before going on to race at Henley Royal Regatta twice. Following school he studied for a diploma in PE and School Sport, then went on to university where he rowed on the GB Start squad, and studied for a degree in Strength and Conditioning. Since finishing university he has stopped rowing competitively and has redirected his focus toward coaching, achieving great success with the squads he has coached.
Assistant Coach - Nick Strange
Nick joined Abingdon as a Senior Coach in 2017. 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.
Senior Squad 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 pupils 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.
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 pupils 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. In 2019 he coached the J16Bs to a Silver medal at National Schools Regatta.
J15 Coach – Hugh Price
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. In 2018 he coached the J15Bs to another Silver medal at National Schools, and in 2023 won Gold in the J15B event.
J15 Coach – Mike Litchfield
Mike is an Old Abingdonian and former 1st Eight oarsman 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 led the 2nd VIII to a silver medal at the National Schools Regatta in 2011. His knowledge of Abingdon School rowing and experience as an oarsman help to maintain the tradition and ethos of the Boat Club.
J14 Coach - Will Stockdale
Will started rowing at ASBC, coached by Mike Webb as a J14 and continuing to represent the Griffen throughout his school career, culminating in a qualification in the Temple Challenge Cup at Henley in the 2nd VIII in his U6th year (again coached by Mike). He then went on to row in the 1st VIII at St Catherine’s College, Oxford, stroking the crew to their highest ever position in bumps racing (fourth), tantalisingly close to achieving ‘blades’ with three bumps across four days of racing. Between leaving university and starting teaching, he worked in high performance sport at the British Olympic Association, supporting Team GB in their success at Rio2016. He has continued to remain involved in rowing, most recently coaching at Westminster School Boat Club across J16, J15 and J14 crews for both sculling and sweep boat classes. In 2023 his J14A crew were 4th at National Schools and went on to win Marlow Regatta.
J14 Coach - Lucinda Powell
Having been brought up in a rowing family Lucinda first learned to row during her time at Bristol University, gaining a place in the first VIII in her second year having a successful season winning University championships (BUSA) and Women’s Henley amongst other events. She then rowed in London at Auriol Kensington before moving to Oxford in 2001 and rowing at Wallingford Rowing Club where she rowed in a composite VIII winning national championships, Women’s Henley and Ghent, the VIII went on to represent England at the Commonwealth Rowing Championships that year. Since having children she has rowed at Wallingford as part of the masters squad on a less competitive basis for the past eight years.
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 Coach - Matthew Kendry
Matt noviced while in his first year at St. John’s College, Cambridge, and rowed for various Lady Margaret Boat Club 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. This year Matt returns to coaching the J14s. Off the river, he loves a good quiz and gets very competitive at the annual FASBC quiz and curry night!
J14 Coach - Maris Elmore
Maris started rowing at Durham University, and then was encouraged into coxing with the promise of lots of hot tea and no late night gym sessions (and the beautiful sun rises you experience while cracking the ice on the river each morning… ) She then coxed at Lincoln College Oxford before joining the Abingdon boat club as a J14 coach.