Posted: 14th August 2023

Now that the season is over, we take a look back at the 2022-23 Junior Academy.

The third edition of the Scottish Rowing Junior Academy aimed to provide education, opportunity and community for athletes (aged J16 - J18), coaches and parents, creating pathways for more Scottish rowers to continue in the sport and achieve success nationally and internationally.

The Junior Academy programme was developed by the Scottish Rowing performance team with input from the sportscotland institute of sport and the GB Rowing Team.  Academy athletes benefitted from a camp-based programme delivered between October and April focusing on physical preparation, crew boat skills and performance behaviours.

Applications for the Academy opened in August 2022 and with 34 juniors applying to take part the selection process was a difficult one. A total of 16 athletes from clubs across Scotland were selected and began their journey at the end of September with a welcome webinar and an online community group created using the Spond app. The Academy was split between 5 camp dates across the year from October to April, each with a different focus and delivered by multiple coaches and sporting professionals.

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The class of 2023 was made up of 8 female athletes and 8 males ranging from J16 to J18. There were representatives from Aberdeen Schools Rowing Association, The Glasgow Academy/Glasgow Schools Rowing Club, George Heriot’s School, George Watson’s College, Stirling Rowing Club and St Andrew Boat Club. With such a mix of athletes from across Scotland there were great opportunities to learn from one another. The athletes were also accompanied by some of their coaches who brought their own insight to the Academy programme.

Each of the camps were run by numerous coaching professionals from rowing coaches to sport performance psychologists. This allowed for a huge depth of learning to be passed on to the athletes and their coaches.

The Academy began in October with a residential camp, which had a mixture of on-water and land elements. Guest coach Lewis McCue (Edinburgh University) took the water sessions with Mike Martin (Scottish Rowing Junior Co-Ordinator) running a 2x1500m water test on the second day. The S&C sessions were run by Chris Robinson (Senior Physical Prep Coach, sportscotland).

Following on there were another four camps spread across the year each focussing on different elements of athlete preparation, featuring on-water technical sessions, indoor land training and psychology workshops.

As we said thanks and goodbye to Kim Murray (Scottish Rowing Junior Academy Co-Ordinator) in December there were several guest coaches including Colin Williamson (Head of Rowing at Edinburgh University) and Lindsay Flockhart (Scottish Rowing Junior Development Coach) who ran on-water and indoor sessions. There were also numerous sportscotland institute of sport practitioners who ran sessions on physical preparation and performance behaviours.

Alongside the camps, sportscotland ran a webinar for the athletes, parents and coaches titled ‘Supporting Athlete Transitions,’ which focussed on preparing athletes for the world stage. The webinar was run by three SIS Performance Lifestyle Practitioners and supported by Joshua Matthews (Strathclyde Park RC and GB U19 Team).


The 2022-23 Junior Academy was lucky to work with such a wide variety of people with a range of knowledge that was passed on to the athletes and coaches during the camps.

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Success at Events

Coming into the main racing season there was a lot of success for the Junior Academy athletes at both national and international events. An impressive 80% of the Academy athletes achieved selection for either the Scotland Rowing Team or the GB Rowing Team in 2023.

First up in the calendar was the Women’s Eights Head of the River Race on the 4th of March. This saw the Scottish Argonauts crew take 6th in the School/Junior category, finishing 43rd overall. This was the highest ever placing by a Scottish Argonauts crew at WEHORR. There were five athletes (Sarah Happs, Amy Newton, Carmen Buter, Sofia Neilson and Kloe Hunter) from the Academy in this crew.

Moving on to the Head of the River Race on the 18th of March, the Scottish Argonauts ‘A’ crew, which featured four academy athletes (Murray Bone, Sam Doherty, Harry Pearce and Andrew Wright), took 5th in the Open Junior category and placed 81st overall. Followed by the ‘B’ crew, which featured, Ollie Plank, coming in 10th in the Open Junior category and 135th overall.

The first of the GB selections saw Amy Newton, compete in the JW4- at the Munich International Junior Regatta on May 7th, where she and her crew finished 5th in the A Final.

In June, Carmen Buter, Sofia Neilson and Kloe Hunter were part of the Glasgow Academy JW4+ who took home The Groton School Challenge Cup from Henley Women’s Regatta. This marks the third year in a row that this event has been won by a Scottish crew.

Back to Strathclyde Park for the British Junior Championships in July. Three of the winning crews featured Academy athletes, the ASRA JW4- (Freya Hughson and Ella Brooks), the ASRA JW8+ (Freya Hughson, Ella Brooks and Sophie Sinclair) and the George Watson’s College JM2- (Conor Haughney).

The Home International Rowing (HIR) Regatta took place over in Ireland on the 22nd of July, with a total of nine Junior Academy athletes selected to compete as part of the Scotland Rowing Team.

  • Ollie Plank raced in the JM1x ‘B’ finishing in 1
  • Sarah Happs competed in the JW1x ‘B’ coming 2
  • Freya Hughson and Ella Brooks were part of the JW4- finishing 2
  • Sophie Sinclair took her spot in the JW4+ finishing 3
  • Murray Bone and Conor Haughney made up half of the JM4-, together they finished 3
  • Harris Bisset came 3rd as part of the JM2-.
  • Andrew Wright also came 3rd with his partner in the JM2x.

The second group of GB selections was for the Coupe de la Jeunesse at the end of July, which saw three of the female Academy athletes return with medals. Carmen Buter, Sofia Neilson and Kloe Hunter won Gold in the JW8+. Kloe also gained Silver in the JW4+.

Finally, as we move into the start of the new season, we prepare for the HIR Beach Sprints which will take place in Saundersfoot, Wales on the 9th of September. Harris Bisset has been selected to compete as part of the Scotland Rowing Team. Good Luck, Harris.

All sixteen of the 2022-23 Junior Academy athletes got the opportunity to compete at high level events during the racing season. Everyone should be exceptionally proud of the hard work, determination, and commitment that they have given to the programme and the sport.

We look forward to continuing to support our athletes as they progress through their rowing careers.

Well done, Junior Academy class of 2023!

The 2023-24 Junior Academy Applications will be opening on the 16th of August