Diploma in Sporting Excellence

Supporting talented young athletes to combine sport and education so that they have the skills, knowledge and competence to pursue sporting excellence alongside a career.

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What is the Diploma in Sporting Excellence (DiSE)?

The Diploma in Sporting Excellence programme is an education programme aimed at supporting young athletes to develop and achieve their full potential as well as gaining an additional qualification. The programme, which supports the key messages which all potential GB team athletes are required to understand, covers subjects from technique and race planning to career planning and sports ethics. The programme is designed to be delivered alongside the athlete’s higher education studies, which must be completed at a state-funded school or college.

“The DiSE modules helped me realise what I needed to include to increase my performance!” Millie Warren 2020

What happens when you complete the programme?

On completion of the 18 month DiSE programme you will receive the Diploma as well as 64 UCAS points. We can also provide references and sign posting as applicable for your next step, whether that be university, a gap year or the working world.

We encourage anyone who meets the following criteria to apply for the DiSE programme.

Am I eligible to apply?

To apply you must be aspiring to perform at national or international level. Applications can only be accepted from rowers attending a state-funded school and between ages 16 – 18 years. For those who have an Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan, we accept applications from athletes aged 19 – 24 years.

More Information: 

Apply for the 2022/23 Season



DiSE Mentors:

Each athlete is supported by a DiSE mentor, with each mentor being a highly experienced coach. Your mentor will support you via in-person and distance-learning and will also arrange club visits to see you in your club environment. Find out more about our DiSE mentors below.

Meet the DiSE Mentors

Loretta Williams (DiSE Manager) Eddie Bryant Gabor Marton
Loretta has worked for British Rowing for 20 years starting out as a Development officer in Yorkshire, the North East and Cumbria. She has been involved in the sport of rowing however for 25 years, as an athlete and cox. Loretta is also a silver level coach and has supported athletes on the DiSE programme since 2012, and has been managing the programme since 2016
When asked what she enjoys most about the programme Loretta said “It can be the little things, those moments when the penny drops with an athlete or when an athlete tells you how much impact the course has had on a really important Championship race. Basically, it’s when you see the positive impact that being part of the programme has made to an athlete whether it’s big or small!”.
Rowing as a junior and graduating from university with a degree in Sport and Exercise Science with Physiology, Eddie took up a job as a development coach with British Rowing, involving working as a World Class Start coach with several athletes in Yorkshire. Eddie then moved to Durham School where he is now Director of Rowing and more recently Head of Boys’ Games and Director of Performance. He is a Coach Educator with British Rowing and a mentor and a Lead Coach on the Women’s Development Programme. Gabor started rowing at the age of 13, progressing into the Hungarian national team before moving to London and rowing with the Lea RC in Hackney. He is Head of Rowing at a girls’ school in Central London, as well as a Coach Educator and Women’s Development Programme Lead Coach with British Rowing. Gabor is looking forward to working with talented athletes on DiSEwho have the aspiration to progress to the international stage, as well as their coaches.
Dan Cooper Paul Willcocks Rachel Hooper
Dan started rowing in 2004, but being “slightly” shorter than his fellow crew mates he found that coaching allowed him to fulfil his sporting goals. Dan is passionate about the impact that sport can have on youth development and has coached at grassroots (LYR), club (Lea RC), talent identification and development (World Class Start) and currently works as the GB Rowing Team Junior Programme Assistant coach. Dan is also UK Anti-Doping Educator and regularly runs workshops on this subject. When asked about the DiSE programme Dan said “It is a fantastic learning opportunity for athletes that are starting their performance pathway journey as it covers so many of the skills that the individual will need.” I have a 20-year background in the Health and Fitness Industry, graduating from Surrey University with a Sports Science Degree. I started the sport of rowing quite late, at 23 with Vesta Rowing Club and then in the main with London Rowing Club.
As I moved into coaching, I spent a few years back at Vesta before taking 2 years off to retrain at University to be a Teacher. During this time, I enjoyed working at, London Scottish Rugby Club, with a strength and conditioning focus. I developed my teaching practices working within a PE department in west London, with an emphasis on A level and GCSE PE, at the same time I returned to coaching with Molesey BC, with their Juniors and finally Senior Men.
I currently am enjoying my coaching time at, St Georges College, Weybridge, whilst balancing my time as a Coach Educator on the DiSE programme with British Rowing.
Rachel Hooper is a former international junior athlete with over 20 years’ experience as a coach and coach educator. A UKCC Level 4 coach, she has recently completed a Masters in Professional Practice in Sports Coaching. Rachel holds a number of positions in the North West, including Chair of the Coaching Committee and Lead coach for the Women’s Development Programme. As a DiSE Tutor, she is particularly looking forward to working with coaches and athletes from some of the smaller programmes in the region to help them reach their full potential.
Maria Crowfoot Emily Stout Katie Sparks
Maria comes from a rugby background, having played from the age of 4. She has a degree in Sports Science and Geography from Loughborough University and is currently studying a masters at St Mary’s University in Professional Development: Rugby Specialism. She has a Level 3 in personal training and a level 2 in gym instructing. Maria is a level 3 rugby coach, and is Head Coach at Lichfield Ladies RFC, assistant coach with Nottingham Trent University Performance Men’s team alongside being an Elite Sports Assessor at Loughborough College on the volleyball DiSE programme. She is looking forward to working with athletes, enabling them the opportunity to develop and thrive on the DiSE programme. Emily is a Doctor of Sport & Exercise Psychology (In Training), with a particular passion for supporting the development and wellbeing of young athletes. As a former international level youth tennis player, Emily has first-hand experience of navigating elite level sport alongside educational commitments and hopes to draw on this experience in her role as a DiSE Mentor. Emily has worked as a Sport Psychologist and Athlete Lifestyle Advisor across a range of organisations and sports including Liverpool John Moore’s University, England Water Polo and Manchester United amongst others. Emily is a also an LTA qualified tennis coach and welfare officer, along with being an Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (AFHEA). Katie comes from a Sport Psychology academic and rowing background. She started rowing in her first year of her undergraduate Sport Science degree at University of Birmingham and has continued to row ever since. The rowing continued and so did her studies, now finishing a PhD in Sport Psychology, specialising in the understanding of the psychology behind competing under pressure and the beneficial impact of sport and performance specific mindfulness. During her doctoral studies she has worked with athletes as a sport science assistant, coach, mindfulness teacher, taught sport psychology at an undergraduate level and is now a Lifestyle consultant for DiSE athletes at British Rowing. She has completed a number of courses Level 2 Fitness Instructing, Mindfulness practitioner, Level 2 Counselling and Level 2 talented athlete lifestyle advisor. At the moment she is finishing her Level 3 talented athlete lifestyle advisor course. All of these courses and experience will support her current role as a DiSE Lifestyle consultant to give the athletes the best possible service.
Loretta Williams (DiSE Manager)
Eddie Bryant
Gabor Marton
Loretta has worked for British Rowing for 20 years starting out as a Development officer in Yorkshire, the North East and Cumbria. She has been involved in the sport of rowing however for 25 years, as an athlete and cox. Loretta is also a silver level coach and has supported athletes on the DiSE programme since 2012, and has been managing the programme since 2016
When asked what she enjoys most about the programme Loretta said “It can be the little things, those moments when the penny drops with an athlete or when an athlete tells you how much impact the course has had on a really important Championship race. Basically, it’s when you see the positive impact that being part of the programme has made to an athlete whether it’s big or small!”.
Rowing as a junior and graduating from university with a degree in Sport and Exercise Science with Physiology, Eddie took up a job as a development coach with British Rowing, involving working as a World Class Start coach with several athletes in Yorkshire. Eddie then moved to Durham School where he is now Director of Rowing and more recently Head of Boys’ Games and Director of Performance. He is a Coach Educator with British Rowing and a mentor and a Lead Coach on the Women’s Development Programme.
Gabor started rowing at the age of 13, progressing into the Hungarian national team before moving to London and rowing with the Lea RC in Hackney. He is Head of Rowing at a girls’ school in Central London, as well as a Coach Educator and Women’s Development Programme Lead Coach with British Rowing. Gabor is looking forward to working with talented athletes on DiSEwho have the aspiration to progress to the international stage, as well as their coaches.
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Dan Cooper
Paul Willcocks
Rachel Hooper
Dan started rowing in 2004, but being “slightly” shorter than his fellow crew mates he found that coaching allowed him to fulfil his sporting goals. Dan is passionate about the impact that sport can have on youth development and has coached at grassroots (LYR), club (Lea RC), talent identification and development (World Class Start) and currently works as the GB Rowing Team Junior Programme Assistant coach. Dan is also UK Anti-Doping Educator and regularly runs workshops on this subject. When asked about the DiSE programme Dan said “It is a fantastic learning opportunity for athletes that are starting their performance pathway journey as it covers so many of the skills that the individual will need.”
I have a 20-year background in the Health and Fitness Industry, graduating from Surrey University with a Sports Science Degree. I started the sport of rowing quite late, at 23 with Vesta Rowing Club and then in the main with London Rowing Club.
As I moved into coaching, I spent a few years back at Vesta before taking 2 years off to retrain at University to be a Teacher. During this time, I enjoyed working at, London Scottish Rugby Club, with a strength and conditioning focus. I developed my teaching practices working within a PE department in west London, with an emphasis on A level and GCSE PE, at the same time I returned to coaching with Molesey BC, with their Juniors and finally Senior Men.
I currently am enjoying my coaching time at, St Georges College, Weybridge, whilst balancing my time as a Coach Educator on the DiSE programme with British Rowing.
Rachel Hooper is a former international junior athlete with over 20 years’ experience as a coach and coach educator. A UKCC Level 4 coach, she has recently completed a Masters in Professional Practice in Sports Coaching. Rachel holds a number of positions in the North West, including Chair of the Coaching Committee and Lead coach for the Women’s Development Programme. As a DiSE Tutor, she is particularly looking forward to working with coaches and athletes from some of the smaller programmes in the region to help them reach their full potential.
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Maria Crowfoot
Emily Stout
Katie Sparks
Maria comes from a rugby background, having played from the age of 4. She has a degree in Sports Science and Geography from Loughborough University and is currently studying a masters at St Mary’s University in Professional Development: Rugby Specialism. She has a Level 3 in personal training and a level 2 in gym instructing. Maria is a level 3 rugby coach, and is Head Coach at Lichfield Ladies RFC, assistant coach with Nottingham Trent University Performance Men’s team alongside being an Elite Sports Assessor at Loughborough College on the volleyball DiSE programme. She is looking forward to working with athletes, enabling them the opportunity to develop and thrive on the DiSE programme.
Emily is a Doctor of Sport & Exercise Psychology (In Training), with a particular passion for supporting the development and wellbeing of young athletes. As a former international level youth tennis player, Emily has first-hand experience of navigating elite level sport alongside educational commitments and hopes to draw on this experience in her role as a DiSE Mentor. Emily has worked as a Sport Psychologist and Athlete Lifestyle Advisor across a range of organisations and sports including Liverpool John Moore’s University, England Water Polo and Manchester United amongst others. Emily is a also an LTA qualified tennis coach and welfare officer, along with being an Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (AFHEA).
Katie comes from a Sport Psychology academic and rowing background. She started rowing in her first year of her undergraduate Sport Science degree at University of Birmingham and has continued to row ever since. The rowing continued and so did her studies, now finishing a PhD in Sport Psychology, specialising in the understanding of the psychology behind competing under pressure and the beneficial impact of sport and performance specific mindfulness. During her doctoral studies she has worked with athletes as a sport science assistant, coach, mindfulness teacher, taught sport psychology at an undergraduate level and is now a Lifestyle consultant for DiSE athletes at British Rowing. She has completed a number of courses Level 2 Fitness Instructing, Mindfulness practitioner, Level 2 Counselling and Level 2 talented athlete lifestyle advisor. At the moment she is finishing her Level 3 talented athlete lifestyle advisor course. All of these courses and experience will support her current role as a DiSE Lifestyle consultant to give the athletes the best possible service.


DiSE Graduates:

Diploma in Sporting Excellence graduates include Olympians, World Championship medallists and junior world champions including:

Jack Beaumont Jessica Leyden Ed Fuller
Ed Fuller
Jack competed at Rio 2016 Olympic Games in the men’s quadruple sculls, finishing fifth and won silver at the 2017 World Championships. Jessica was the first female single sculler to win a World Rowing Junior Championships gold medal in 2013 in the year she graduated and has gone on to win bronze at the 2017 World Rowing Championships. Ed is a member of the Para-Rowing Squad. Ed is competing in the 2022 World Cup 1 at Belgrade, Serbia in the PR3 mixed coxed four (PR3 Mix4+).
Jack Beaumont :
Jack competed at Rio 2016 Olympic Games in the men’s quadruple sculls, finishing fifth and won silver at the 2017 World Championships.
Jessica Leyden :
Jessica was the first female single sculler to win a World Rowing Junior Championships gold medal in 2013 in the year she graduated and has gone on to win bronze at the 2017 World Rowing Championships.
Ed Fuller:
Ed is a member of the Para-Rowing Squad. Ed is competing in the 2022 World Cup 1 at Belgrade, Serbia in the PR3 mixed coxed four (PR3 Mix4+).

Read more about the programme from the graduates:


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