Aberdeen universities invest in High Performance Rowing Coach


Robert Gordon University and the University of Aberdeen have appointed a full-time professional High Performance Rowing Coach to nurture and support the next generation of rowing talent for Scotland and Great Britain.  

Supported by Scottish Rowing and sportscotland, the Aberdeen Head of Performance Rowing will be responsible for leading on the day-to-day coaching and training programme with a focus on identifying and developing talented athletes to an Under 23 international standard. 

34-year-old Michael Hughes arrives in Aberdeen following a hugely successful three years coaching at Newcastle University, one of the leading rowing programmes in the country, where he had specific responsibility for recruitment and talent development.

“Aberdeen has an impressive history of producing talented and successful rowers,” said Hughes. “One of the key aims of this partnership is to look for the next generation of oarsmen and women who are yet to pick up an oar and give them every opportunity to excel in the sport. I hope that somewhere in Aberdeen there is a budding Katherine Grainger

“We also want Aberdeen to become the first choice destination for junior rowers who want to continue the sport at university. Between them, Robert Gordon University and the University of Aberdeen offer a fantastic range of degrees such as medicine, architecture, engineering, pharmacy and sports science; with both institutions offering scholarships and bursaries for talented athletes.” 

Hughes aims to make the most of the excellent resources available to committed rowers in Aberdeen through the partnership between the universities, Scottish Rowing and the sportscotland institute of sport which includes access to sports science expertise, strength and conditioning, nutrition, physiology, bio-mechanics and performance lifestyle management.

“Rowing is a sport that pushes the body and mind to the limits and beyond,” he added. “One of my key responsibilities will be to prepare our athletes for the demands this sport makes on those who want to excel at competition, Scottish and GB Rowing Team trials. 

“Together we hope to help Aberdeen’s university clubs gain a reputation as being amongst the best in the country.” 

Lee Boucher, Scottish Rowing’s High Performance Co-ordinator, added: “Scottish Rowing and the sportscotland institute of sport are delighted to be part of this ground-breaking partnership with Robert Gordon University and the University of Aberdeen, which aims to increase the number of Scottish athletes on GB Rowing teams. 

“Team GB’s rowers made history at London 2012 and 80% of this team had come through University rowing programmes, including an incredible 22% who had picked the sport up for the first time during their student years, outlining the importance of this key strategic appointment.”