Come to Bergerac this summer and she’ll show you how it’s done.
Exciting news: Charlotte Taylor Booth is coming to Bergerac for six weeks from 22nd July to be lead coach for the ChezB training programme.
Charlotte is a rowing phenomenon. Now one of the fastest lightweight scullers in the world, she rose through the ranks in a remarkably short time. Starting as a beginner in 2010, she first entered the GBR Trials in 2013, finishing fifth in the lightweight women’s single sculls.
Later that year she surprised everyone by winning the lightweight elite single sculls at Henley Women’s Regatta, the women’s singles and quads at the Home International Regatta, and the lightweight women’s doubles at the British Championships.
Following this, she and Fran Rawlings (from Mortlake RC) were the fastest female crew in the Pairs Head. (As it happens, 2013 was the year Kosta and I were the fastest Masters crew – so generally a good year for PTRC… “Come on the Town!”). Since then her Senior Singles Trials trajectory has followed a straight line to the top: 3rd in 2014, 2nd in 2015, 1st in 2016.
In a double with Kat Copeland in 2015 she won the gold medal at the European Championships in Poznan. She then went on to the Rowing World Cup in Varese, where she broke the world record time in the semi-finals, and then won the gold medal on the following day by beating the reigning World Champions from New Zealand, in what I heard was one of the most exciting races of the year.
The New Zealanders (Sophie Mackenzie and Julia Edward) then managed to hang onto a half-length lead at the World Championships in Aiguebelette, giving Charlotte her first World Championship silver medal.
Currently coaching at Reading University BC, Charlotte not only knows how to move a boat quickly: she’s also a great communicator. And there are many people (me included) who will want to hear her ideas and try to put them into practice.
Why so many of the best coaches are lightweights
I’ve always believed that rowers of all sizes and weights can benefit from studying the techniques used by successful lightweights.
The reason is simple: there is a more specific power limit on a lightweight rower – i.e. the option of adding more muscle-weight to the equation is not there – so the only route to a higher speed is to optimise available power. Other things being equal, the one with the best power-optimising technique will win.
Three of the coaches who have helped me most over the years have been lightweights: Peter Haining (three times world champion lightweight) taught me many different ways to move a boat quickly and rig it for particular individuals and conditions. Sue Appleboom, (lightweight ten times winner of Women’s Henley and multiple winner of the Scullers Head race) taught me how to smooth out the flow of the boat and remove as many ‘check’ issues as possible. Allan Whitwell (a lightweight World Championship double scull gold medallist, among many other notable wins) focused me on the effective zone and range of the stroke.
Charlotte Booth will be adding to this growing body of knowledge. And she’ll be backed up by me and others deploying our new-fangled metrics equipment. The Internet of Things is upon us – so anyone signing up for the course can expect to be at the centre of a mass of data, from which some useful insights and interesting comparisons should emerge. Our aim will be to make your sculling as comfortable, efficient and effective as possible.
In addition to her coaching, Charlotte will be working with me to develop a new Yoga for Rowers course; and with Craig Drake on a Cycling for Rowers course – both of which are intended to become an integral part of the ChezB training programme.
If you like the idea of joining in with these pioneer sessions in Bergerac, send us your contact details to register your interest, and we’ll keep you posted.
Places will be limited, so don’t delay!