Today is International Women’s Day and in the spirit of celebrating women for their achievements, SAS, the Official Analytics Partner of British Rowing<http://www.des08.com/t/33101969/1081069846/73363354/0/39962/?x=eca693d5>, has highlighted some of the outstanding achievements of female British rowers.
As an organisation, British Rowing is a forerunner in the pursuit of equality and inclusivity, as highlighted by its award for National Governing Body of the Year in 2016 at the Women’s Sports Trust #BeAGameChanger Awards.
Among the organisation’s most notable athletes in recent history are Dame Katherine Grainger, Britain’s most decorated female Olympian with five medals from as many Games; Helen Glover MBE and Heather Stanning MBE, an unbeaten pair over five years and 39 races rowing together, and the first British rowers to win back-to-back Olympic gold medals; and Pamela Relph MBE, who is the only Para-rower in the world to be a double Paralympic champion.
Following a directive from Sport England in 2016 for NGBs to address the overall lack of diversity in sport, it is also worthy of note that the former Olympic and world champion rower Annamarie Phelps CBE has been the organisation’s chairman since 2013 and has just been re-elected for a further four-year term. Moreover, immediately prior to Phelps’s election as Chairman, British Rowing’s Chairman for over 20 years was Dame Di Ellis.
Writing in 2015, Phelps said: “In rowing, our female athletes are on the world stage with the same access to funding and have the same media profile as the men, largely thanks to the amazing support of the public.
“The highest prize in rowing, Olympic and Paralympic medals, receive the same recognition whether won by a male or female crew. But we can’t and must not stop there, we need to scratch beneath the surface and ensure that future generations of women in every sport start on a completely level playing field with their male peers.”
Prior to Rio 2016, 16 women had won Olympic medals in Great Britain rowing boats but an incredible nine more first-time medallists in Brazil took that total to 25. This included a historic victory for the women’s eight, a silver in the double sculls as well as gold for the women’s pair.
Phil Hornsey, Director of Membership & Rowing Community at British Rowing, commented: “As well seeing more medal success from the female athletes representing their country, we're also seeing substantial growth in the number of women regularly rowing in their local community clubs, schools and universities, both on the water and on rowing machines in gyms. We don't believe this is a coincidence, but that the two areas are actively influencing the success of each other, which is great news for the sport."
Data scientists from SAS, the leader in analytics, have been working with British Rowing since March 2014, exploring a range of data from training and biomechanics to weather and diet, in a bid to unlock marginal gains that help make the boats go faster, no matter whether they are crewed by male, female, able-bodied or para-rowers.
Steve Ludlow, Principal Technology Consultant at SAS UK & Ireland, said: “In terms of British Rowing’s high performance programme, one significant benefit of having both the men’s and women’s teams training together with the same facilities and support staff is that the data collected is much more uniform and comparable. Having good data collection processes and lots of good data quality is vital to extract meaningful insights from it.”
For more information about SAS’s partnership with British Rowing, visit: http://www.sas.com/en_gb/offers/14q2/british-rowing/Overview.html<http://www.des08.com/t/33101969/1081069846/70996669/0/39962/?x=45c3d4aa>