Nathaniel Reilly-O’Donnell appointed Director of Pathways

We are delighted to announce that Nathaniel Reilly-O’Donnell will be joining British Rowing in August as its new Director of Pathways


After an extensive recruitment and selection process, Nathaniel was the outstanding candidate who will bring not only an extensive knowledge of rowing at every level of the sport but also a level of energy and critical thinking to the organisation, which will make this new role a great success.

British Rowing’s long-term vision is to lead a sport that welcomes everyone and has an opportunity for them to take part, regardless of goal, age, background or ability. The newly established Pathways Directorate brings together the rower journey from grassroots to the GB Rowing Team. Our aim is to drive a once in a generation cultural change that will see rowing reach new audiences and drive diversity amongst those who participate in our sport; a change which will see the rowing system shift from a loose affiliation of clubs and organisations, to a coordinated and joined up network collectively working together towards a shared vision for creating opportunities for everyone.

Nathaniel will specifically be responsible for overseeing the delivery of British Rowing’s new Sport England-funded programmes. Focused initially on establishing new Regional Hubs connecting key deliverers and creating opportunities for rowers starting out for the very first time through to those with the potential to become future Olympians and Paralympians. Working with multiple stakeholders to create networks and opportunities that reach non-traditional rowing audiences through clubs, schools, colleges and universities as well as the delivery of the Talent programmes which will identify, recruit, and develop the next generation of Olympic rowers and coaches. These will open up the pathway to those who might not otherwise enter the sport or excel within a traditional ‘mainstream’ rowing pathway.

Education, support and the development of coaches and clubs to create new opportunities for people to experience rowing and to progress regardless of background will be at the core of everything we do. The Director of Pathways will be a central driving force in leading the team to establish and deliver a future Coaching Strategy and world class system of Learning, Education and Development through which we will support and develop the coaches and people who will be central to the delivery of our ambitious vision for the sport in the future.

Following a successful rowing career that started at St Leonard’s RC Comprehensive School in the North East and then via the University of London, Nathaniel went on to establish himself as a multi-medal winning national team member between 2006-2016. An U19 World champion, Nathaniel went on to have U23 and Senior successes with the GB Rowing Team, including Senior World and European titles. During his time on the team he was elected by the GB Rowing team athletes on to the British Rowing board as its Athlete Director where he served a term from 2015-2018.

Since his time out of the sport he has worked for UK Sport where he has most recently held a senior role within the Performance Department working directly with NGBs to support them transform and build new sustainable performance pathways and systems, as well as leading a range of projects that have sought to create positive change in the UK’s high-performance system. Well versed in developing a systematic approach to improving the diversity of the funded athlete population and for bringing alignment across the performance system Nathaniel’s skills will be incredibly valuable to our future thinking.