Australian David McGowan named Ireland heavyweight coach
36-year-old competed in 2004 Olympic Games before taking up coaching in the Netherlands
Dave McGowan (right) pictured in the Australia heavyweight fours boat at the Athens Olympic Games in 2004. Photograph: Maxim Marmur/AFP/Getty Images
David McGowan has been named as the new Ireland heavyweight coach. The 36-year-old Australian competed for his home country at the Olympic Games in 2004 in Athens as part of the heavyweight four, which finished fourth.
His transition to coaching was made early and with swift success. He moved to the Netherlands, where, still in his 20s, he oversaw the lightweight eight which won World Championship gold in 2007. He took the heavyweight eight to the Beijing Olympics and this boat also qualified for London 2012. The boat was initially coached by Antonio Maurogiovanni before a parting of the ways.
McGowan also coached top Dutch student club Nereus before moving to Sweden, where he has family. He coached at club level there and also concentrated on developing the sport in the country. He also worked with the world governing body, Fisa.
McGowan will be well known to Maurogiovanni, who is now the Ireland high-performance director. The Italian coached the Australian four in Athens and McGowan’s most recent post, as head coach at Swan River Rowing Club in Perth in Western Australia, followed on from Maurogiovanni, who was the head coach at the club until he took up his post in Ireland last year.
In the Ireland system, McGowan will be tasked with helping to build a pathway for athletes from junior, university and senior level to international competition.
He will take up his post early next month and may join the upcoming women’s heavyweight camp in Italy.
“I feel privileged to have been offered this opportunity in such an exciting time for Irish rowing. I look forward to both working with Rowing Ireland and rowing in Ireland and I am excited to be joining the team shortly,” McGowan said in a statement released by Rowing Ireland.
It may be of interest that while he was a heavyweight he was on the lighter side. Ireland men’s heavyweight crews, at least in the medium term, may have to compete with some ex-lightweights as a constituent part.
The last Ireland heavyweight coach, Kerryman Seán Casey, was let go just before Christmas, a decision which drew criticism from rowers.