Sunday, December 22, 2013


Yes that's right its been a busy year and one I have thoroughly enjoyed. Its been awhile since I last created a post so I won't even try to catch up on everything just a few highlights.


  • Being part of the many changes with the Australia Rowing Team through my role as Head Coach.
  • Developing some great relationships with other National coaches that I am learning greatly from. Obviously my role is to help lead our direction and setting the strategy with the High Performance Team has me involved in being the connector to our National Coaches.
  • Watching and seeing in 12 months some great advances in our athletes group. We now have some solid performers as key benchmarks in each of our categories. This was seen at the recent Dec TT's with many athletes and crews positioning themselves at the front of each category with very credible performances which show some positive trending.
  • Having our Category Lead Coaches take up the challenges of planning and leadership with each of their categories. This is a great initiative and one I feel will make a great difference as we continue forward with categories like our ParaRowing, Women's Sculling, Men's Sweep, Women's Sweep, Men's Sculling, Men & Women's LWT Sculling and Sweeping.
  • We are about to go live with out Athlete Learning & Performance Planning.. Yes this has taken some work behind the scenes and many contributors and finally we are close to launching it with our Athletes and we serve as a platform for further reflection, analysis, action and sharing and collaboration between athletes and coaches. 

ARTeam Athlete Learning & Performance Plan Form
  • Another highlight has been working with some great people at Rowing Australia. Its been amazing with working with Chris O'Brien in our different roles and to be again working with Jaime Fernandez who I rowed with way back in 1995. Wayne Diplock was a 1992 Olympian in the eight with Jaime and its been great working with him in the HP Team, with Chris and Jaime. Add to this all the people from the RA centre in Canberra who make everything happen. Plus we have a unique situation with all the key State Institute Head Coaches and staff involved in rowing, its amazing the network of people which reaches out through coaches, athletes, states, clubs and all the providers of services like medical, physio, sport science, S&C, massage and the list goes on. Being part of this is pretty bloody amazing and unique.
  • My final two highlights are being able to enjoy the precious time with my family when home. Our kids are growing up so fast and I have traveled a lot this year but the reward has been when home just making the most of the time together. Recent we got the kids new bike and I found myself in the park near by in St Kilda with my wife just watching them ride around and around. I joy was a pleasure to watch. My wife has been an exceptional support through this last year. Its strange and exhilarating to think we have been married since 1999.
  • Finally 7 weeks ago I made a decision to get my self fit and health again. With all the travel in 2013 I was starting to feel physically poor. The contrast to being an athlete training daily had increased and so I decided a change was required. I set my mind to getting back on the bike and thought simply I just need to get a routine going and break the back of feeling unhealthy. The first two weeks was the hardest but after those two weeks of 500km's I was away and have since settled in to a routine of 450-550km per week with 12 - 16 hrs of activity. I now feel heaps better and am loving being back on the bike.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Something To Share: ARTeam Vision & Values

Cover Page

ARTeam - Vision & Values

Over the last 7 months working with the Australian Rowing Team has been great and yet we have only just started to scratch the surface of whats possible and whats needed. It will be years before we as a High Performance Leadership Team see the outcome of many of the decisions and initiatives we have started with and with so much more to come it will be interesting to see what ca be created. This is all combined with a team of coaches and athletes from all over Australia. With all the different centres and locations we have been working to support each to be the best training environment it can be. Its the teams of people at each centre which will make this happen so our HP Leadership Team are really only the guides and initiators.

With Chris O'Brien as Director and Jamie Fernandez as his deputy, then Wayne Diplock as our operations and team manager its been great to build our small team to help  guide and work for our whole team. Now this is not all, but we have National leaders in various fields from medical, physiotherepy, sport science, strength & conditioning, psychology, and nutrition. With this comes a vast network of practitioners and specialists working specifically with all our key coaches in each major training centre. So we have all these satellite centres all working to be the best they can be and what we have been working hard to create is the engagement, connection, the integration and closeness which is critical give the vastness of our Country.

This is one of the main reasons for creating this single page for the ARTeam Vision & Values. Its been part of a review process which began after London and has included much of the work and meeting with athletes, coaches and support staff.

Thought I would share it here ...

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Time Warp: Bosbaan Experiences & Great Memories

It was really cool this weekend seeing some old faces who I must say inspired me as a young athlete. These faces were of the men from the 1996 Dutch eight. Many of them legends and it was funny to be chatting to Nico Rienks stroke of that crew and to be honest all I could think was this how amazing he was when I recall seeing them in 1995 for the first time and through the 96 year as they made the eight event their own. Why I like what they did had so much to do with the way the rowed and the flow. So standing there some 16 years on I was enjoying our casual chat about rowing. As I said over the weekend I spotted many of his crew mate from the period and must say I enjoyed seeing them all looking like they are playing a role in the Dutch rowing now.

In 1996 I recall the Dutch eight doing work on the course while we trained in the four. We did a lot of paddling on speed and each lap they were doing sets of 20 plus strokes on rate 40 and making it look easy. they looked like they had so much time. The relaxation was amazing. The call would get made as they came up behind us and sitting in the bow of the four I could see the whole crew swinging together so smoothly but with a loose speed which was exciting. All great memories. Should add here to the best argument I have had with the crew I am in happened in 96 with the four. It had to do with if fish feel the cold. I will leave the rest as it become quiet absurd but in retrospect bloody funny.

After this I started thinking about the times I had raced on the Bosbaan. Then a funny thing happened. The team manager Wayne Diplock and I were under the tent near the finish line when I guy came up and introduced him self. He made mention of an eights race in 1998 which we put together the two Australian fours. The Sydney based four was winning selection races in Australia and our Melbourne based four had raced them over the year since the guys returned to the sport post 1996 Olympic break. So this guy started talking about this Australian eight that went close to breaking the World record and asked if I was Drew, from the crew. I said yes and he said the cox who assisted us during the event who was Dutch was at the event today. Wilem was his name and this guy brought him over to meet up after all these year.  So there we were talking about that day. He was really a club cox who was available to help us out. From start to finish he just kept saying this is very good, very F&%k'n good. The when he asked by our stroke James Stewart to call us up to the line the little English he knew at the time was used. I recall F Off being used for each step and we went within .2sec of the WBT. It was heaps of fun and I remember thinking those are the experience in rowing which stay with you. So today I got to relive it all over again.

Then I thought about going to Amsterdam in 2000 after the Vienna World Cup when I had made it back after my serious back injury that year. I must admit going to the Bosbaan on this occasion was short sighted and with miserable conditions my back started playing up again and we pulled out of the racing if I recall currently. Two weeks later I was out of Lucern and thought my rowing career was over.

You could say I have had some great experiences on the Bosbaan and mixed also. Over the last two days it was great to fly in and watch Kim Crow our Australian WX1. So new memories now are seeing her take on a classy International field with the current Olympic and the former Olympic champions in the Women's single scull. Kim made a simple statement of intent and has set her International season up well. After the racing she said we need to get apple pie and so our small group headed up to the cafe and enjoyed the best bloody apple pie with ice cream and cream I think I have ever had. Another great memory.

Monday, July 01, 2013

dginn's photostream

Recent photo's while on tour

Thursday, June 27, 2013

ART - Australian Rowing Team: Observations & Update

It must be said I loved being back at an International event even through the fields were a bit light on again. Seems Eton World Cup like the Sydney World Cup suffered from poor turn outs from various Countries.

Call this what you want but I say its a bit sad that some of our sports major events to earn great support. I get crews don't want to race in every event and many Countries pick and choose their marks, it was just with a touch of sadness I stood in the boat park in Eton and though where is our sport going if even with once of the best World Cup crowds ever some events had few few crews. Its not a criticism just an observation. The crowed turned out but half the elite performers were on hand to enjoy the atmosphere.

Personally I think in my Country a decision was made after Beijing not to support a Women's eight for example and I understand the thinking behind the approach. Problem is, that as one of the bigger nations in terms of team size I feel the Australian Rowing Team has an obligation to support more events with numbers or else these event start becoming non events. If our team and others don't boat crews for various reason eventually I am sure its seen by sponsors, TV and even our own sporting community as systemic of possible other things not functioning as well as we need for our sport to stand out and be proud

So I stood in the boat park and wondered why the low numbers and where is it leading our sport. As a nation we brought a small group but will have a larger team in South Korea. I wondered about our decision. Sure it helped us target things better but it felt a bit of a missed opportunity in a way yet we as a team achieve close to expectation given the targets for our crews.

Anyway that was just an observation. As for my experience as Head Coach of the Australian Rowing Team I loved it. We hit our marks pretty well and although the standard difference for many of our crews is obvious I felt satisfied our athletes and coaches worked well to make the most of their preparation and the racing opportunity give what I had seen back home.

Women's Pair
Had a bit a shake start even though they launched themselves as the favoured GB crew in the heat it was a World apart a perfect learning for the girls to realise the level of World Class athletes in a boat class they seem to understand really well. Our girls worked hard and show good speed early but I am sure they will agree they didn't row the boat as well as they would like and need too. In time they will develop the understanding and care for moving together which in pair returns the favour. The deeper understanding of keeping their boat at speed will come. The effort is not the question it's the subtle deliver of fast and efficient boat speed. Bill Tait as the coach has a great template for this crew after last years silver medal at the Games, but is loving the challenge of a completely new crew who can create their own approach to making a pair fly.

Men's Four
Obvious the change to this boat from last year have meant the need to re-establish themselves and to learn about the new crew dynamics. The guys did a good job of executing what they have been working on and the rhythm is growing and as they continue to push themselves they will carry better speed in the back end of races. Funny thing is having been in the boat last year much of what they are doing is looking like its heading in the right direction. Some of the base work looks amazing at times and in time will transfer up through the gears and as they start to hit race rates consistently it will be exciting to see how far they can take this boat this year. Tom Laurich has done a great job as coach coming from U23's him self to take the leads with this crew and is using his experience as an athlete and now coach to find the balance between effort, ease and relentless rhythm.

Men's Quad
This was an interesting thing to observe with the guys initially struggling to find the groove of their movement together. As the week progressed they became more certain and I thought raced sensibly to pick up places and have now set themselves well for this training block. Plenty of learning going on for the going as its a real mix of experience, inexperience, sculling backgrounds with sweep backgrounds. Having spent a few rows with the guys now in Italy I am liking the effort and concentration going into the rowing and I am sure it will pay dividends. Their coach Rhett Ayliffe is working with the guys to ensure targets are meet through this next phase and his enthusiasm for competition will have the guys picking their mark for Lucern and later in South Korea.

Women's Quad
The girls who have fun off the water and then show boldness once out on the training track and more so in racing is good to see. Huge learning happening as they are learning to go from the U23 ranks last year into the senior event this year. Their heat was ok but in the final the lined up and put it out their early to the satisfaction of their coach Jason Lane. Sure the girls lost contact with the top two crew but that will with greater awareness for the moments in the race and the realisations of whats possible for them.

We are now into our Italian block and as the fatigue builds I know all are motivated to make this time count. We have talked about what it means to be part of our Australia Rowing Team. We are all proud and humble in a way as many of the athletes and coaches are new to the senior team. Its something to cherish, to be grateful for and to take with both hands and to make the most of.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Reflecting on the challenges athletes seek out or face...

Have to admit its a bit of a rushed post as I am in the middle of completing some work before leave for out National Team tour. Why I am posting these images are they are a great example of athletes seeking out and face challenges. This was a camp conducted back in late 2012 with many of these athletes making it onto the Australian Rowing Team its great to think how important moments like these are. Moments where athletes have realisations, moments when athletes open up, push themselves, learn about themselves and those around them. They wake up in a way and its becomes clear they have to make choices and take action.

Rowers in ACTION

Why I reflected on this was hearing about two of our National Team Rowers having a crack at the 24 hr record right now. Sam Loch and Matt Ryan have taken on this mammoth challenge and doing so in support of the fight against Leukaemia.

Here are a few links 

Great example of inspiration LINKS