This ground-breaking talent identification programme was established in 2001 with funding from the Lottery Sports Fund with the aim to build the future of the GB Rowing Team by identifying and developing potential Olympians.
Cambridge was one of the original GB Start Centres established in 2003 and is now one of 10 Start Programmes running across the UK. The programme is affiliated to Isle of Ely Rowing Club and Rob Roy Boat Club.
The start centre is based at the Isle of Ely Rowing Club rowers on the programme are members of Isle of Ely Rowing Club and are fully involved with all the club’s activities. The relationship that Start has with the host clubs is vital to the success of the programme.
The Programme at Ely
New recruits to the programme will be placed into Isle of Ely Rowing Club, where they will be coached and developed by Peter Lee who is a full-time coach employed by the GB Rowing Team. As part of the training programme, rowers are required to attend the Start Testing Camps, which take place throughout the year, bringing together coaches and rowers from all start programmes. Most of these camps are held at the National Water Sports Centre at Holme Pierrepont, Nottingham.
In 2015, Start athlete Holly Hill represented Cambridge University in the first-ever Women’s Boat Race staged on the same day as the men’s event. She also won a bronze medal in the women’s four at the World U23 Championships in Plovdiv, Bulgaria. Holly has also been selected for the women’s 8 in the 2016 World U23 Championships.
If you think you have the talent to be a top rower you can find out more about the Start programme on the British Rowing website