Scull sprint to Olympics 2028

Friday 24 November 2023

The University has recently been announced as one of five new GB Coastal Sculling Academies by British Rowing. The Academies were established following the inclusion of Beach Sprint Rowing at the Olympics taking place in Los Angeles in 2028. The only Scottish location on the list, the Academy in St Andrews will be supported by Scottish Rowing and led by specialist Beach Sprint Pathway Coach Iain Docwra. The Academy will support and facilitate athletes looking to represent their country, in addition to providing an environment for rowers from other disciplines to start their coastal rowing journeys.

Beach Sprints is an exciting and emerging discipline of rowing, combining a run on the beach with a 500m slalom row out to sea and back, in a side-by-side knock-out format. It is the most dynamic form of rowing and can provide the most exciting races. Coastal Sculling also incorporates long distance offshore rowing races.

The award of academy status recognises the steps the University has taken to embrace Coastal Rowing. St Andrews has quickly demonstrated its capacity to be a world-leading training and event venue for the sport. The first Coastal Boats arrived in September 2021 and later that season, St Andrews held the second largest Beach Sprints event in the world. East Sands was also the host venue for the inaugural Home International Rowing Beach Sprints Regatta in August 2022, and is where the University Boat Club’s annual Saints Regatta takes place.

Several members of the University Boat Club have won national medals for Beach Sprint and Offshore rowing in recent years, with some selected to represent their country. Aidan Graham and Harris Bisset represented Scotland this summer at the Home International Beach Sprint Regatta, and 2023 graduate Ryan Glymond was selected to represent Great Britain at the World Rowing Beach Sprint Finals for the last two years. The club sessions are also welcoming for complete beginners.

Director of Rowing, Alan Sinclair, said “I’m so proud and thankful to the University, the Boat Club and everyone that has volunteered their time and energy to put our programme on the map and gain this recognition from British Rowing.”

UStABC President, Alice Vine, said “This is such an exciting announcement for the club, and it strengthens the Coastal Rowing programme we have already built here. It will provide incredible opportunities for our members, and the wider rowing community in Scotland, and I can’t wait to see what happens going forwards.”

Lee Boucher, Scottish Rowing’s Head of Performance and Pathways, said: “We are delighted to see the University of St Andrews confirmed as a GB Coastal Sculling Academy, one of the first accredited venues across the UK.

“Scottish Rowing has been working closely with the university to develop coastal sculling opportunities with joint ambition for a world class training and events venue as we build towards Commonwealth and Olympic Games over the coming years.

“East Sands has already played host to a number of events, including the inaugural Home International Rowing (HIR) Beach Sprints last year, and exciting discussions are underway with the university and local partners to further develop opportunities in the area.

If you wish to get involved or would like to receive further information about the GB and Home Nations Beach Sprint programmes contact the University Boat club, Iain Docwra [email protected] or register your interest.

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