Meet the OJRC Team

 

Amelia Wright - Course Director

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Being introduced to rowing at the Dragon and Headington as a child, rowing soon became more than just a hobby. Amelia pursued her love for rowing as a career through coaching at various clubs and schools including the Dragon and Wolfson College Oxford, setting up a rowing clothing business and latterly as Director of Rowing for Hinksey Sculling School in Oxford from 2009-2017.  Amelia has a wealth of experience in coaching children of all ages and of managing a community club which included an annual training camp in France.   Amelia saw great success while at Hinksey including coaching the first ever girls to a National medal.

She believes passionately that young people should be able to unlock their potential and reach their goals by building a 'toolkit' of essential life skills.  Amelia has learned through many years of experience that the most  effective way of doing this is through engaging, fun and challenging activities including sport, but especially through the unique challenge offered by rowing.

Angus McChesney - Coaching Director

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After twenty five years teaching children in both prep and senior boarding schools Angus has considerable experience to bring to OJRC. He has coached rowing from beginner to elite level. At Radley College, as well as having been the Senior Housemaster, he was also Master in Charge of Rowing and coached the school first eight to Henley and National Schools titles. Recently he started a rowing club at Hall Grove, a prep school in Surrey, where the children are learning the basics and taking their first ever rowing strokes. Reflecting on his own experience as a junior sculler and member of the GB Junior team:

“It is just as important for children to have fun and make friends as well as to learn good rowing technique.”

Andrew Wright - Life Skills Coach

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Andrew’s 27-year career in the media and communications industry has brought him into contact with tens of thousands of people in an eclectic range of multinational and multicultural environments. His experiences have ranged from managing hostile media interviews in conflict zones, negotiating complex media rights contracts, running live news broadcasts as a producer and journalist, to consulting on advanced communications techniques like body language and vocal intonation.

Now Andrew is not only a busy media owner, consultant and employer but also a committed and passionate skills trainer, working in the international corporate sector as well as developing leadership skills in some of the UK's top schools.  He now devotes his time to providing communication, presentation, and negotiation skills training as well as being an in-demand producer of content for radio, TV and online in both the public and corporate sectors. 

Annabel Eyres - Senior Coach and Wellbeing Co-ordinator

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Annabel is an Olympic rower who represented Great Britain between 1987 and 1996 after learning to row on the Isis while at Oxford University. Annabel’s love of rowing and what it gave to her, naturally led her to coaching, and her focus on every rower that she coached has led to success by any measure.

Annabel has introduced children to the joys of rowing for many years, ranging from supporting those who were taking their first strokes, to those winning gold medals at the National Schools Regatta. She has never strayed far from her original rowing home in Oxford and has coached at Radley College, Hinksey Sculling School, Magdalen College School and Magdalen College.

Annabel champions the concept that rowing is an inclusive sport which, as a result of its reliance on water and nature, can increase general wellbeing in all, regardless of age and ability. She is also an advocate of improving performance by utilising other physical and mental disciplines such as meditation and yoga.

Annabel combined her interest in rowing with her training and practice as an artist and formed the rowing outfitters Rock the Boat in 1989 with two fellow international athletes, a business which has provided thousands of rowers with fun and functional rowing kit over the years. 

Louise Hankinson and Rachael Williams - Mindfulness Coaches

 
 

Louise Hankinson is a clinical psychologist.  Since qualifying in 1999 she has worked in both mental and physical healthcare settings, primarily with adults, and also has a private practice in Oxford.  She is a qualified mindfulness practitioner.  Louise currently works at the Churchill Hospital, Oxford.

Rachael Williams has worked as a school counsellor for over ten years, primarily at Wellington College, and Clare's Court School (Junior and Senior).  She also has a busy private practice in Beaconsfield.  She is very experienced at supporting children through adolescence, and has given many talks to teachers, parents and organisations throughout Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire.

For the past 3 years Louise and Rachael have developed a shared interest in mindfulness based approaches, and have brought their knowledge and skills together to support work in schools.  They are currently running a staff training programme in Oxfordshire, and have also run local Inset Day training.  Together they are 'In Two Minds'.  On the course, they will introduce the idea of mindfulness/focused awareness, and will look at techniques the course members can practice during their week. 

Georgina Roberts - Yoga Instructor

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Georgina Roberts is a former ballerina and fashion designer who lives in Oxford and teaches all ages the benefits of yoga.  She is fantastic fun and full of enthusiasm and encouragement. She is working with the OJRC to develop Yoga for rowers - Rowga!

Iyengar yoga is for everyone, regardless of age, gender or physical ability.  A typical Iyengar yoga class involves a sequence of asanas (poses) designed to create space and mobility in the body, as well as stability and alignment.  Through repetition of poses and regular practice, an awareness of the body results in improved alignment, stamina, flexibility and an overall sense of wellbeing.  Iyengar yoga uses props in the form of foam blocks, blankets and belts, to enable the student to achieve maximum benefit in the poses.

 'Yoga is an art, a science and a philosophy.  It touches the life of man at every level, physical, mental and spiritual. It is a practical method for making one's life purposeful, useful and noble'.  

Alison Mowbray - Nutrition Speaker

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Dr Alison Mowbray is a PhD Scientist and an Olympic silver medalist in the quad sculls from Athens 2004. Alison trained and competed with the GB rowing team for seven years, illness and injury free. Since retiring from rowing 14 years ago she has completed 17 marathons, 2 Ironman triathlons, 2 Ultra-marathons and numerous long-distance cycle tours and wilderness hikes, all still illness and injury free. 

Alison believes that what we eat is essential for building and maintaining a strong, healthy body. On the course, Alison will run an informal nutrition session, sharing her Guiding Principles, Healthy Habits, Top Tips and recipes for healthier eating in sport and life. She is currently writing a book entitled How to Eat More Veg, so that may give you a clue as to what to expect. If you have questions about food and what to eat to stay healthy and row faster you can ask them in the session.

 

The OJRC Rowing Coaching Team

Please find below our wonderful team of OJRC coaches. Not all coaches will coach on every course as some have other commitments at certain times of the year.

Andrea Thies

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We are excited to introduce our guest coach Andrea, who will be joining us for Week 2 from the States. 

The sport of rowing has been a lifelong pursuit for Andrea, culminating with competition at the 1992 and 1996 Olympics. Andrea first learned to row at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York.  Following her Olympic career, Andrea taught freshmen women to row at Princeton University and later attended Harvard University to become a middle and high school mathematics teacher.

Andrea has coached rowing to all levels of athletes from ages 8 to 80. Most recently, she spearheaded the effort to establish Otsego Area Rowing, Inc. as an accessible community-based rowing club in Cooperstown, NY. Her focus has always been on teamwork, determination, and commitment to personal goals.

Joe Wilson

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I’ve lived in Oxford all my life and have been rowing for almost 11 years now, having first learnt to row on Hinksey Lake. I rowed for Hinksey Sculling School for 8 years during which I won gold at the National Schools Regatta and a bronze at the British Rowing Championships.  After my time at Hinksey, I moved on to row with Wallingford Rowing Club.

I started coaching 6 ago years and have since coached junior rowers at all levels and ages. Rowing is a fantastic sport that is built around camaraderie and teaches you so many more skills than just how to look after your body and stay healthy; from my personal experience it has always helped me maintain a healthy work/life balance especially during stressful exam periods. OJRC understands this and through its lifeskills workshops aims to improve these vital skills.  I am now studying medicine at Oriel College, and am really looking forward to being a part of the Oxford Junior Rowing Course.

Floss Smith

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My name is Florence ‘Floss’ Smith. I first learnt to scull at City of Oxford Rowing Club when I was 10 years old and then started coxing at 13. In 2010 I steered CORC’s girls’ junior 16 4+ to wins at Henley Women’s Regatta and the British Championships, and was selected to represent England at the Home International Regatta. In 2011 I was then selected to cox the junior women’s GB trialist 8 at the Women’s Head of the River Race.  During my gap year I coached at the Dragon School and Cheney Falcon Rowing Club.

I graduated from the University of Glasgow in 2017 with a First Class Honours degree in History, and in October will begin a Masters in Modern British History at the University of Oxford, with ambitions to cox for both my college (St Hugh’s), and the University Blues squad.  I am looking forward to coaching with the OJRC team and sharing my passion for the sport with others.

Victoria Rees

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I started rowing in my first year at Oxford University, and it quickly became a huge part of my life. I was women's captain, and then president of Lady Margaret Hall Boat Club, rowing in the women's first boat and coxing the men's first boat at a number of bumps races and external regattas. After graduating from my Masters, I moved to London for an internship, where I coxed a masters VIII at London Rowing Club, competing and medalling at the Head of the Charles Race in the USA.

I have been a part-time rowing coach in Oxford since, coaching a number of Oxford College crews on the Isis, as well as junior rowers at Hinksey Sculling School. Working with junior rowers has been a great experience, and I am very excited to be part of the OJRC this summer. Aside from rowing, I am a big sports enthusiast, organising modern pentathlon events, competing in Ironmans, and running the London Marathon in a rhino costume every year. 

Anna Carbery

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I learnt to row at George Heriot's School in Edinburgh, then started coxing at Pembroke College in 2015, where I study Biochemistry.  With Pembroke College Boat Club, I have coxed the men's 1st VIII to a Torpids headship as well as a Henley Boat Races victory in 2016 and at Henley Royal Regatta in 2017. For the women's team, I was captain in summer 2017 as well as rowing in the 1st VIII that finished second on the river. 

I've been coxing with Oxford University Boat Club since 2016, and coxed Isis in the 2018 Reserves race. 

I have experience in coaching rowers of all ages and a range of abilities, as well as coaching coxes on and off the water. I am very excited to join the OJRC team this summer and share my enthusiasm for the sport.

Stuart Walter

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Stuart learnt to row at Worcester College, Oxford and after two years he became Club Captain and started coaching, which he has been doing ever since. In addition to coaching college rowing with Worcester, Hertford and Balliol Colleges, Stuart spent a gap year coaching at Peterhouse School in Zimbabwe.

Now a Teacher and Assistant Housemaster at Radley College, he is also a keen member of the boat club, coaching their J14s.

Greg Atkin

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Greg is currently the rowing professional at Magdalen College School.  He has increased the rowing profile of MCS, with more crews making it to finals at National Schools Regatta, along with more pupils choosing rowing as a school games option. He believes in a challenging, fun environment for individuals to thrive and have longevity in sport.

He began coaching in 2008 at Trentham Boat club whilst studying Automotive Technology at Staffordshire University, and coached for a season in Australia. In 2013 Greg got a scholarship at Hartpury College to complete a master’s degree in Coaching Science, whilst coaching at Gloucester Hartpury with the start program, under the leadership of Tom Pattichis. After completing his degree he went to Welsh Rowing working as the Academy Coach and satellite start coach under the leadership of Ian Shore.  During his time as a coach many of his athletes have gone on to represent Great Britain at Junior, U23 and Senior level, as well as being in the Boat Race.

 Ollie McChesney

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I have been rowing for five years on the tideway in London, having learnt to row at Latymer Upper School in Hammersmith. During that time, I have competed at the National Schools Regatta on five occasions, collecting four medals and have also competed three times at Henley Royal Regatta. I have competed and won medals as a part of the GB junior team. I am currently rowing at Thames Rowing Club in Putney. 

During my time at Latymer, I not only competed, but in my final years there, helped coach the younger athletes. I am now continuing to coach at Latymer this year. I've also had further experience instructing sailing for children aged 8 to 14. I find coaching very enjoyable, as it allows me to pass on my passion for sport to other people.  

James Innes-Ker

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I started rowing at Radley College in Oxfordshire where I have rowed in the school’s 1st VIII for two years, winning medals at National Schools Regatta & Head of the Charles in the USA among others. I’ve competed at Henley for the past two years in the Princess Elizabeth Cup, making the semi finals and final. In my second season of rowing, I was selected to represent GB in the Coxed Four at Coupe de la Jeunesse, where I won two gold medals. I am currently on a Gap Year, and look forward to sharing my appreciation for the sport with others.

Helena Smalman-Smith

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Like several others on the OJRC coaching team, Helena learned to row in Oxford, in her case, over 30 years ago. Most of her racing – including wins at Henley Women’s and Henley Royal - has been as a cox, but she’s keen to stress there’s far more fun to be had in rowing than simply racing. Her enthusiasm for long-distance “expedition rowing” led her to row across the Atlantic in 2012 with her husband; she plays various roles in organising regattas and heads; and is currently writing a history of GB women’s international rowing. She’s coached juniors at Hampton School and St Peter’s School, York, and seniors in every boat she’s ever coxed.