Olympic hopeful rowing star helps coach teenagers to follow in her footsteps

A young rowing star who hopes to compete in the Olympics is helping to coach teenagers to follow in her footsteps.

Friday, 11th May 2018, 6:00 am
Updated Friday, 11th May 2018, 9:36 am
Lauren Irwin at the European Rowing Under 23 Championships.

Peterlee’s Lauren Irwin, who has represented Team GB at the world and European under-23 rowing championships, is now supporting teenagers to develop their rowing skills, while also helping them manage the other pressures of their teenage years.

Lauren twice benefitted from Durham University’s Junior High Performance Academy (JHPA) while she was studying at Durham Sixth Form Centre.

Lauren Irwin with Team GB at the European Rowing Under 23s Championships.

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She has gone on to help Team GB claim the bronze medal in the 2017 European Rowing Under 23 Championships and sixth place in the 2017 World Rowing Under 23 Championships.

Now a Sport, Exercise and Physical Activity second-year undergraduate at Durham University, the 19-year-old has become a JHPA coach.

She said: “I benefitted so much from the JHPA. It was great to learn from rowers older than myself, on techniques, health and how to balance sporting, academic and other commitments. It showed me what I might be capable of in the longer term.

“When given the chance to get involved as a coach, I jumped at it. I am pleased to be giving something back. Hopefully I can help younger women, both in their personal and sporting lives.”

Lauren Irwin with Team GB.

The JHPA offers young people aged 15 to 18 with rowing abilities a six-week training programme. In the one-hour, weekly sessions, participants learn about strength and conditioning, psychology and health.

Lauren, a former pupil of St Bede’s Catholic Comprenesive School, Peterlee, who began rowing when she was 12, is now hoping to be part of the Team GB squad for the 2018 World Rowing Under 23 Championships in Poland in July and eventually hopes to take part in the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.

Combining her academic studies with more than 20 hours of rowing training every week, she said: “It is challenging to balance everything but when we have time between sessions we get our laptops out and do half an hour’s work. My course tutors and rowing coaches are all very supportive.”

Wade Hall-Craggs, senior rowing coach at Durham University Boat Club, said: “It is great that Lauren had such a positive experience of the JHPA and is now devoting her own time to supporting younger rowers. She is a credit to herself, her family, her school and college.

“Lauren is an extremely talented rower and we have high hopes that she will fulfil her dream and represent Team GB – and Durham University – at the Olympics.”