Department of Sport, Health Sciences and Social Work

Olympian visits Brookes

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Four times Olympic gold medallist Matthew Pinsent recently visited Oxford Brookes as part of the BBC's coverage of the Boat Race 2011.

The BBC were creating a feature with the help of Filipe Salbany's testing team to compare Matthew Pinsent's physical capabilities at his peak with that of upcoming rower Constantine LouLoudis (Stan). During the day, Filipe, Sport and Exercise Science Consultant in Life Sciences, utilised testing methods to compare the athletes.

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Marketing Co-ordinator Rory Laughton-Scott conducted interviews with both Matthew and Stan. These can be found below.

Matthew Pinsent

Why did you choose Oxford Brookes and Filipe’s testing group?

I’ve known Filipe for a while through various rowing links; he has been involved as a coach and now as a physiologist so he is well known on the circuits. Oxford do some of their own physiological testing in house, but the laboratory at Oxford Brookes has a lot more bells and whistles on it that then they can get access to on a daily basis. So they come here for the expert attention.

How is your TV journalism career progressing?

I have done bits of pieces for the boat race and I have a couple of 2012 projects in the pipeline. I am going round the world to watch people train and compete to try to come to London. I am also doing some fundraising for the Olympic team.

Does Oxford race the Oxford Brookes rowing team?

There used to be a race between Oxford Brookes and Oxford, in the run up to the boat race. Every now and then there is a fixture. We used to race a wide range of teams and universities. The boat race is very early in the normal rowing calendar, so Oxford Brookes wouldn’t be in the required shape to compete with Oxford.

What are your predictions for today?

I haven’t got my stats for when I was 19, but I think Stan's in that ball park, but that’s only part of the story. There is also technique, mindset and rapport with your crew mates to take into account.

The fact that Stan is competing in the boat race as a first year, is a great sign for the future. He should be aiming to row the boat race and to compete in the 2012 Olympics.

Constantine LouLoudis


Have you enjoyed your day so far?

Yes I have, the team have been really helpful. It was really good to use the equipment, such as the mouthpiece and the gas exchange. Oxford University do not have access to this equipment, which is why we come to Oxford Brookes.

Did you come to Oxford Brookes because of the facilities or because of the testing group here?

We come up for both. Sean - my coach, chooses people to work with very carefully, so Filipe must be pretty good. He creates that rapport straight away, and having someone that you know conducting tests makes a big difference; it relaxes you and sets your mind at rest.

Have you heard much of Oxford Brookes’ rowers?

We are really just about the boat race, that is our aim and we don’t race against Oxford Brookes. I know a lot of their rowers, it’s hard to tell if they are as good as Oxford, but I would be up for a race!

What did today’s testing involve, and what are your predictions?

Today we are comparing my performance with Matthew's when he was in his prime. There were six four minute steps which got harder and harder and the seventh step was flat out. Filipe sounded quite positive, but the results will show if I am up to Matthew's pace.

How did Oxford react to last year’s defeat?

Last year, Cambridge went down a length and then overtook on the outside of the bend, that’s not something we want to see again. That loss has given the club quite a lot of drive.

How does it feel to be in the boat race team as a first year?

It’s brilliant working with more experienced guys. It’s great to get in the first year because I could race in a few boat races during my time at Oxford.