CUWBC Chief Coach Wins Coach of the Year Award

British Rowing has announced today that CUWBC’s Chief Coach, Rob Baker, has won the Educational Performance Award in their Coach of the Year Awards.

Rob Baker, who has been the Chief Coach of the Women’s Boat Club since 2012 has led the Cambridge University Women’s Rowing Programme through vast change as the Women’s Boat Race moved to the Tideway in 2015. In 2017, the Cambridge Women working in Rob’s programme won a historic clean sweep of all 3 Boat Races (Blue Boat, reserve crew Blondie and Lightweight Crew) and both spare pair races (openweight and lightweight) – something that has not been achieved for 20 years!

Alongside the Boat Race performances, Rob has been responsible for the development of many athletes during their time at Cambridge University most notably Melissa Wilson and Holly Hill both of whom started rowing after joining the University and in 2017 came 4th representing Great Britain in the coxless pairs at the World Rowing Championships.

Rob’s Cambridge crews have also won multiple medals and titles at British Universities & Colleges Sport (BUCS) Regatta, Henley Women’s Regatta and the British Rowing Senior Championships. Below a selection of the achievements from the 2016/17 Season:

World Rowing Senior Championships
GB Women’s Pair Melissa Wilson, Holly Hill – placed 4th

European Under 23 Championships
GB Women’s Eight – Oonagh Cousins Bronze Medal

World Rowing Under 23 Championships
GB Lightweight Women’s Quad – Imogen Grant – placed 5th
GB Women’s Eight – Thea Zabell – placed 6th
GB Women’s Coxless Four Oonagh Cousins – placed 6th

British University Championships
Women’s Championship Eight – GOLD,
Women’s Championship Coxless Four – GOLD,
Women’s Championship Pair – SILVER,
Women’s Championship Lightweight Four – SILVER,
Women’s Championship Lightweight Quad SILVER,
Women’s Championship Coxed Four – BRONZE,

Women’s Eights Head of the River
First Eight placed 2nd Overall and fastest University crew,
Second Eights placed 7th overall
Third Eight placed 62nd (this was a beginner crew)

Quintin Head
First Eight placed fastest Women’s Eight

British Universities Small Boats Head
Top of the Overall Medal table (with other clubs entering men’s and women’s crews)

Fours Head of the River
Coxless Four – WON Elite category and fastest coxless four of the event

British Rowing Senior Championships
Women’s Coxed Fours – A Crew Gold, B Crew Bronze
Women’s Eight – SILVER – fastest University women’s crew in a record time
Second Eight placed 7th
Third Eight placed 8th

In reaction to Rob’s win, CUWBC Executive Committee Chair, Dr Cath Bishop said:

“The versatility and commitment of Rob as CUWBC coach has enabled Cambridge University Women’s Boat Club to offer something to everyone who comes through the doors of Goldie, whether a novice or experienced international. His programme has seen universal improvement from all parts of the squad and is based on a strong culture of high support and high challenge in order to help all the student rowers to learn how to deliver their best on the water and at the same time in their studies.”

Rob will receive his award from Alex Gregory MBE, double Olympic Champion on Saturday 3rd February amidst preparations for this year’s Lightweight Boat Races on Sunday 18 March and The Cancer Research UK Boat Races on Saturday 24 March.

Find out more about the CUWBC Coaching and support team here.  Cover photo (C) Howard Guest.