G’day Coach Randell

Visa delays Great Britain's new Women's Head Coach

2 minute read
Words Tom Ransley
Photography Rowing Australia and Steve MacArthur
Published 29.01.22

Australian coach Andrew Randell is widely believed to be the incoming Women’s Olympic Head Coach at GB Rowing. A source within British Rowing says the decision was made at the same time as the appointment of the Men’s Olympic Head Coach but the delay is due to the wait involved in obtaining a visa.

It would not be the first example of this kind. Kiwi coach Chris Nilsson, who led Hamish Bond and Eric Murray to their first World Championship title in the men’s four in 2007, was unable to start work in his new role at Cambridge University Boat Club until receiving his visa to live and work in the UK. He joined Cambridge at Christmas in 2008, halfway through his first contracted season. With 16 weeks left before the 2022 World Rowing Cup series starts in Belgrade, Serbia, the British women will be hopeful the Home Office can get the job done.

Photo Andrew Randell
Credit Rowing Australia

Paul Stannard was appointed Men’s Olympic Head Coach, and the news of his appointment was announced on the 5th of January 2022. Andrew Randell resigned from his position at Rowing Australia on the 4th January 2022. There was a single recruitment process for the head coach roles, involving a seven-person appointment panel. British national team athletes expected to be informed of their new head coaches before Christmas 2021. There were whispers that British Rowing had hoped to appoint Josy Verdonkschot, but he ultimately took the Chief High Performance Officer role at USRowing.

Before resigning, Randell held the position of Senior Coach of the Reinhold Batschi Men’s National Training Centre since its formation in 2017. Randell has coached Australian crews since 1995 including multiple world cups and world championships. He has led crews to three consecutive Olympics Games – Beijing 2008, Rio 2016, and Tokyo 2020.

Photo AUS W4x Tokyo 2020
Credit Steve MacArthur

In April 2021, Randell joined the Hancock Prospecting Women’s National Training Centre to support Australia’s women’s quadruple scull with their qualification and preparation for Tokyo. He guided the crew to victory at the 2021 Final Olympic Qualification Regatta in Lucerne, Switzerland. At Tokyo 2020 his crew of Caitlin Cronin, Harriet Hudson, Rowena Meredith and Ria Thompson, upset the form guide and delivered a surprise bronze medal. The result came within the ‘hour of power’ – the most successful period in Australia’s Olympic history.

For the first three years of the Tokyo cycle Randell coached the Australian men’s eight who secured a world championship eighth place in 2017, a silver medal in 2018, and a fourth place finish in 2019.

Upon announcing Randell’s resignation, Rowing Australia Performance Director Paul Thompson MBE acknowledged Randell’s long-standing track record of coaching success.

“Andrew has made an enormous contribution to rowing in Australia, and I would like to take this opportunity to recognise the many years that he has dedicated to fostering some of our most talented athletes to realise their sporting potential, both men and women, sculling and sweep.” Thompson said. “Some of our best and brightest athletes have benefited from Andrew’s coaching over the years, none more so than the Women’s Quadruple Scull who achieved a Bronze Medal at the Tokyo Olympics under the most challenging of circumstances. On behalf of Rowing Australia our coaches and athletes past and present, I would like to thank Andrew for his years of service as a coach and we wish him well for the future.”

The role Randell is rumoured to be stepping into is the position Thompson left in December 2018.

Photo AUS M8+ 2018 World Rowing Championships
Credit Benedict Tufnell

The seven-person British Rowing interview panel comprised of: