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News > School News > New Head of Rowing: Tom Kellett

New Head of Rowing: Tom Kellett

We are thrilled to have appointed Tom Kellett as Head of Rowing after a global search for the best candidate.
15 Dec 2023
Written by Lynsey Craig
School News
Tom Kellett
Tom Kellett

From an extremely strong field, Tom joined Yarm in August 2023 having moved all the way from Seattle and has now been running the boat club for a term so we caught up with him to see how he has settled in and find out what he thinks of rowing at Yarm…

Can you tell me a bit about how you got into rowing coaching?

I discovered rowing aged 11 when I started Senior School at The Grange School and just fell in love with the sport. As I progressed through Senior School, my love for the sport grew, and coaching felt like a natural progression when I started university at Nottingham Trent. I began by coaching the novices before going back to my alma mater to help out with the J14 and J15 crews.

After graduating, I was offered a position as Head of Girls’ Rowing at The Grange School which kick started my career and allowed me to develop my coaching skills. I moved to Seattle in my mid 20's to coach for Seattle Rowing Centre before launching the rowing program at Seattle Prep in 2016. It was there I realised how much I valued rowing in a school environment. It was during my time at Seattle I discovered my true passion was nurturing and leading school teams.

What have been your biggest successes in rowing coaching so far?

My time at Seattle Preparatory School, a leading senior school in Washington State stands out as my biggest success in my coaching journey. In 2016, I was given the task to launch rowing to the school and craft a successful rowing team from scratch.

Within just 15 months, we achieved incredible feats by getting our first crews qualified to Youth National Championships, 2018 saw our first national medal in the men’s U191x the girls followed up in 2022 in the U17 double.

In my final year, the boys' quad pre-qualified for the prestigious Henley Royal Regatta after a remarkable 6th place finish at Nationals. Watching the program evolve from zero athletes to a thriving team of 72 members with some crews competing internationally in seven years fills me with immense pride.

Alongside the school teams, coaching masters’ boats became an enriching experience. Achieving two course records and securing five wins at the Head of the Charles within the last three years was also a significant achievement for me.

What brought you to Yarm School?

Joining Yarm felt like a natural progression for my career. A combination of admiration for the school’s rowing programme and the desire to showcase a Northern school on a national platform drove my desire to work at Yarm.

My awareness of Yarm School began during my earlier days of watching them race at Henley Royal Regatta, often in composite crews alongside my Grange School teammates.

Northern schools can sometimes be looked on as underdogs on the national stage and my aim is to demonstrate the rowing expertise and competitiveness that exists outside the Thames Valley bubble.

Yarm is also an incredible school. The setting, to be located on the river and a boathouse on site is definitely a dream scenario for any coach.

What has been your experience of Yarm / YSBC?

My experience at Yarm School Boat Club has been fantastic so far. Getting to know the pupils has been incredibly rewarding, and I've been excited to implement new systems aimed at helping them reach their full potential. It's been a great start, and I'm looking forward to seeing the progress and growth we can achieve together

What are you looking forward to in 2024 at YSBC?

In 2024, I am looking forward to experiencing a full calendar year with the YSBC team, getting to understand and explore the full spectrum of opportunities on offer. We have a fantastic group of pupils and I am interested to discover the depths of their competitive spirit.

Additionally, we have two pupils taking part in the GB trial system and their progress over the next year will be something I am eager to support.

One of my key focuses for the year ahead involves positioning Yarm School within the broader rowing community and what impact we have to support Northern rowing.. 

In January it is my first YSBC Dinner and I am looking forward to meeting the wider Yarm rowing community including parents and former pupils. I am excited about growing our links with former pupils and engaging them in the boat club’s success.

What are your aims for YSBC?

My number one goal is squad development. Breaking down the barriers of age categories and getting a strong group of athletes committed to working together to support the competitive mission and long term vision for the program.

My ultimate goal is to secure qualifying for a men’s and women’s quad at Henley Royal Regatta.

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