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Durham University

Durham University News


Professionals making a splash

(11 May 2004)

University sport is shaking off its amateur image. Both teams competing in this Sunday's eighth annual Northumbrian Water University Boat Race on the River Tyne are trained by full-time professionals.

Callum MacDonald, 41, from Glasgow, was appointed full-time coach of Newcastle University Rowing Club in December. And he believes there will soon be more professional coaches at British universities.

The married father-of-two said: "My family are still based in Glasgow. I go back there on Sundays and Mondays and the rest of the time I am in Newcastle training the rowing team.

"There are a lot more jobs in sports now than when I graduated. There is a lot more professionalism involved in sport at universities. Gone are the days of the plucky guy standing in a tracksuit with a stop-watch in his hand.

"Rowing is the biggest sport in universities in the UK. I am the first professional coach appointed by Newcastle University but I wouldn't be surprised if other sports follow."

Callum's rival coach at Durham University is 25-year-old Peter Lee. Peter, originally from Stratford-upon-Avon, and now living in Brandon, Durham City, was appointed full-time coach of the senior men's and women's teams last November.

He said: "I took up coaching, took some qualifications and saw an advert for the Durham job in a rowing magazine. I train the senior men's and women's team.

"We go out on the water seven or eight times a week and then there is some gym work. There is a lot of shouting involved on my part. I try to be as positive and encouraging as possible.

"I try to get the rowers in the state of mind, that they should train as they race. They should have the same intensity in training, so they have done all the hard work by the time they race. Racing is just another day in the office and that helps relax their nerves. My philosophy is train hard, race easy."

As reported in The Journal 11 May 2004

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