National Schools’ Regatta today officially announces Mike Martin, previously NSR Committee Member as Chairman effective from1st June 2023. Mike succeeds George Hammond, who recently announced his retirement from the role having served for nearly 40 years on the Committee.
“Taking on the role of Chairman of National Schools’ Regatta is a daunting, yet exciting, prospect. A spectacular festival of Junior rowing, National Schools’ Regatta has become an iconic event in the British rowing calendar.
George has been instrumental in the growth and success of junior rowing in the UK. He has been a constant in every National Schools’ Regatta that I have attended (and that is a lot ). It is an honour to be invited to take up the mantle.
I am in the very fortunate position to have a hugely talented, supportive and dedicated team on the Committee who work so hard, and with such skill and aplomb, to pull the event together each year. I thank them for all they do, and will continue to do, in support of School and Junior Rowing in the UK. "
Mike brings over 30 years’ teaching, rowing coaching, and sports administration experience to National Schools’ Regatta. Mike has been a competitor, successful Junior Rowing Coach, and Teacher of Mathematics, and most recently Senior Depute Rector and Head of Senior School at a Hutchesons’ Grammar School in Glasgow.
Mike learned to row in wooden, restricted, fours on the River Nith in Dumfries while still at school. Enthusiastic and competitive, Mike has had more success through coaching than from leaning on the oar – though he still tries. Having studied Mathematics with Education at Heriot-Watt University he took up teaching directly after graduation.
In his first professional position at George Heriot’s School, Edinburgh, Mike complemented his role as a teacher of Mathematics with another, as School Rowing Coach. This combination has served Mike well and over the intervening 30 years Mike has maintained these dual roles; teaching an academic subject with coaching sport.
Mike took on the role of Master i/c Rowing at Abingdon School in Oxfordshire in 1989, where he remained for 19 years, still teaching Maths and also taking on the role of Middle Master. Over his time at the school, he became known and respected as one of the most successful Rowing Coaches in the UK. Mike enjoyed considerable success winning a number of National Schools Medals and a number of Schools Heads Pennants. The most notable achievement is a much sought after season success known as ‘The Triple’. This is when a Junior 18 crew wins the three most highly prestigious events in the same season; The Schools’ Head, Championship Eights; National Schools Regatta, The Queen Mother’s Cup; and Henley Royal Regatta The Princess Elizabeth Challenge Cup. Mike achieved this incredible result in 2002 with Abingdon School First Eight (after a good few years of trying!). This was the first time Abingdon had won the Princess Elizabeth event at Henley Royal Regatta.
Mike has been responsible for developing Abingdon athletes to achieve Great Britain Junior team selection from 1992 - 2008. He coached the Bronze Medal Junior Eight at the Junior World Championships in 1996, and also held the position of Team Manager for the Great Britain team at FISU Championships 2002. Mike has also been involved with the Great Britain Junior Team for over 25 years, as coach, supporter, and latterly as Independent Selector for the GB U19 team.
On moving back to Scotland, Mike has continued to be involved in rowing, though in a different capacity. Mike has sat as Chair of the British Rowing Junior Rowing Committee for 12 years. This role was followed by the position as Chair of the British Rowing Junior Championships from 2022. He has also had a lot of involvement through the volunteer committee structure of BR. In Scotland, Mike has been a member of the Scottish Rowing High Performance Rowing Group, which has been targeted with developing pathways to international rowing success from Scotland.
Mike has found that through his mentoring role with Lee Boucher as Junior Development Coordinator with Scottish Rowing (via the Junior Academy and Scottish Argonauts projects) he has been able to enjoy being back coaching. Being out with a megaphone and stopwatch supporting crews (and telling others what to do and how to race) is what he loves best.
In Mike’s new role at National Schools’ Regatta he will continue to retain the focus on delivering a first class racing experience for competitors, their coaches and teachers, and the spectators. Mike will also become a Trustee to the charitable arm of the regatta and will be looking to continue to ensure that more young people are given the opportunity to take up rowing through junior rowing programmes across the UK.