Next week’s Great Britain Rowing Team Olympic Trials are ‘do or die’ for the rowers according to former Olympic Champion Mark Hunter, speaking as ambassador for SAS, the Official Analytics Partner of British Rowing and the GB Rowing Team.
Having won gold at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games and silver at London 2012, and having twice gone through the trials and tribulations of Olympic qualification, Mark Hunter understands the added pressure that comes in an Olympic year.
“The final assessment is always a little nerve-wracking but also a great chance to race your teammates. For the boats which did not medal at last year’s World Championships this has much more significance; it is do or die for some of them, as these are the seats which are, and will be, up for grabs,” commented Hunter.
With such a strong Olympic history to uphold and only fractions of a second likely to be the difference between gold and silver, marginal gains will be crucial in the team’s quest for medals in Brazil this year. SAS, the Official Analytics Partner of British Rowing and the GB Rowing Team, is working with the coaches and rowers to better understand how they can use data to ultimately make the boats go faster.
During his much-heralded rowing career in the lightweight double sculls, Hunter was a keen exponent of tracking his performances through the use of data, an area of focus for SAS’s partnership with the GB Rowing Team. SAS has been working with the athletes and coaches to streamline data collection, storage and analysis. Once collated it is used to track an individual athlete’s training programme, forecast problems and solutions and ultimately improve performance; which can be crucial in Olympic years such as 2016.
“Every performance counts when you’re trying to establish yourself, no matter how big or small the assessment or test, but the Olympic Trials are really the last opportunity you get in one of the smaller boats to prove yourself and make the coaches take note that you’re a serious candidate”, explained Hunter.
The GB Rowing Team Olympic Trials take place on 22 & 23 March 2016 at the Redgrave Pinsent Rowing Lake in Caversham and all results will be available on the British Rowing website – www.britishrowing.org
PHOTO CREDIT: SAS / George Powell