Exploring athletic data down to the individual stroke

Katherine Chinn addresses members of the GB Rowing Team squad
Katherine Chinn addresses members of the GB Rowing Team squad

Since my opening blog post about our new partnership with British Rowing and the GB Rowing Team, I’ve had a deep dive into their data, and we’re now close to our first key milestone – having all the data about a rower in a single location, so we can then start analysing that information and discover key insights to help make the boat go faster.

The data is often collected under extreme pressure in multiple locations (up mountains, beside lakes and away on training camps), so it’s been difficult to develop a standardised approach. The challenge has therefore been to link all of that information together – i.e. to link data in one spreadsheet to data in another spreadsheet about the same rower. However, we’ve now managed to do this in relation to most historical data, and a new consistent approach to recording data going forward is now in place.

Straight away it means coaches will be able to see everything they need to about a particular rower, rather than having to wait days for the information to come in from various sources. Biomechanical data from out on the water, for example, is now combined with all the indoor rowing data and other information such as blood lactate levels. Even sleep patterns are recorded to assess recovery between training sessions.

Members of the GB Rowing Team squad and staff recently visited our UK headquarters in Marlow. As well as finding out more about SAS and what we do for our customers, it was an opportunity for me to demonstrate the developments made with their data so far and show how easily and quickly this can now be accessed and displayed via SAS® Visual Analytics.We had a Q&A at the end, and there was no shortage of questions from the rowers and the support staff. They seemed genuinely interested and excited about the things that we can do for them, particularly allowing rowers to access their data – even to the extent they can look up a single stroke on any given day across their entire history.

I was really excited to see their reactions when we showed them the full extent of SAS’ capabilities and the advantages that this could bring to the training and their sport.

After a successful World Championships, the squad are now turning their attention to the next Olympic Games in Rio, which is less than two years away. I could sense they view the partnership with SAS as being a key driver of improved performance – and, ultimately, that precious gold medal!

Find out more about SAS UK & Ireland's partnership with British Rowing.


About Author

Katherine Chinn

Analytics Specialist, SAS UK & Ireland

Katherine is an analytics specialist working for Laurie Miles' team at the UK headquarters in Marlow. She is working on a number of customer projects, including the partnership between SAS UK & Ireland and British Rowing. SAS is now the Official Analytics Partner of British Rowing and the GB Rowing Team. SAS will be working with the GB Rowing Team to improve performance at elite international competitions, including the Olympic Games. The work with British Rowing, the sport's national governing body, will focus on building up a better understanding of its membership to help recruitment of new members, reduce churn and increase participation rates.

1 Comment

  1. Hi Katherine,

    I've just stumbled across your blog and as a rower and fellow IT Consultant, found it really interesting. Would love to know how things have progressed and/or how you got into this field?

    Many Thanks,

    Sean Geddes

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