Leyden credits new coach Randell with British rowing turnaround

·3-min read
Jess Leyden was part of the women’s quad sculls crew who claimed a surprise gold in Munich (Ben Gurr)

As a structural engineer when not on the water, Jess Leyden knows all about the importance of forward planning writes Paul Martin.

And the Todmorden ace believes all the ingredients are in place for Britain’s rowers to build on their European success at the upcoming World Championships.

Leyden was part of the women’s quad sculls crew who claimed a surprise gold in Munich and credits new coach Andrew Randell with inspiring a change of fortunes after last summer’s Tokyo disappointment.

Continuing her career away from rowing has been key to Leyden’s satisfaction, as she strikes a balance she believes is benefiting her performances in the boat.

“He [Randell] really cares about our whole lives, it’s not just about what we do here [at training],” she said.

“He wants us to be well rounded, happy people and he lets me keep working as a structural engineer alongside this; he knows that helps me and will make me faster.

“We work together and work things out. He’s had a really positive impact and that’s been shown in the results.

“I did the job full-time while I missed out on the Olympics; I decided to dip my toe into the real world for the first time and it was really cool.

“I’ve found a really supportive company who want to help me learn the ropes and now they let me balance it with full-time rowing, which is great.”

Leyden’s sculling quartet enjoyed a winning margin of more than three seconds in Munich but they have not been resting on their laurels, with the strength of opposition set to increase in Racice.

Five years have passed since her sole World Championship medal and the 27-year-old heads to the Czech Republic determined to find herself back on the podium.

“It has been a long few years since then [2017], a lot of ups and downs with different challenges, so it would be epic to be up there again,” she said.

“You’re always in it for a medal, so we’re just trying to get the right colour.

“We have the Chinese and Australians to race against and we know they are really quick.

“We’ve raced the Chinese this year and we were 1.8 seconds off so we definitely want to keep closing that gap and overtaking them.

“We just want to be competitive in the race, put our best performance out there and see where it puts up.”

British Rowing is the governing body for the sport and is responsible for the development of rowing in England and the training and selection of rowers to represent Great Britain. The GB Rowing Team is supported by the National Lottery Sports Fund. To find out more, and to follow the ongoing World Championships in Racice, head to https://www.britishrowing.org/