Farewell to Men’s Development Coach Franz Imfeld

After a highly successful two seasons at Sydney Rowing Club, Men’s Development coach Franz Imfeld has resigned in order to return to the UK, taking up the role of head coach at Molesey Boat Club. While disappointing for SRC, Franz must be congratulated on this fantastic opportunity and thanked for the positive influence he has had on SRC during his tenure. 2019 Henley Royal Regatta Champion Oscar Carr-Middleton has reflected on the influence Franz has had.

“The first time I met Franz was in the front room of the boatshed. I remember thinking how young he looked and that he certainly couldn’t be a coach at his age. However, over the past two years, along with the entire Men’s squad, I have learnt that this is a deserving indication of his ability as a coach. To have achieved as much as he has so early in his career is incredibly impressive. I believe that Franz’s crowning achievement has been the profound impact he has had on the development of his athletes on and off the water. In his tenure he has nurtured a group of athletes from schoolboys to athletes worthy of U23 podiums and beyond.

The difference in my mind between a good coach and a great one comes down to athlete management, being able to work out how to motivate an athlete, when to use the carrot and when to use the stick. It is a fine line; one that Franz knows how to tread. Working out how to get the best out of someone requires taking a genuine interest in getting to know them as a person, learning what makes them tick, when to pump their tires and when to give them a reality check. It takes time to build the rapport and trust that comes with a personal connection. It can’t be faked and there are no short cuts on the journey. Franz cares, that is clear in everything he does; all you need to see is how he acts at a regatta to be convinced of this. It is the personal attention and willingness to go above and beyond that led to the Wyfold Four last year endearingly calling him “Dad”, much to his dismay!… These skills are also in addition to an incredibly perceptive eye for technical detail. His ability to identify exactly where in one’s stroke changes and improvements can be made has led to substantial individual and squad wide gains.

On a personal note Franz totally retaught me how to row after reconstructive surgery on both hips. In less than a year he took me from an out of shape schoolboy who could barely get past half slide to a Henley winner. For this alone I will be forever grateful. I know that we’ve all had a coach firmly in our corner for the past two years and look forward to seeing Molesey go from strength to strength under his stewardship. As a native Brit I know that wherever Franz is I will always have a boat and club to row out of! We can only hope that he returns to these shores once more in the hopefully not too distant future!” – Oscar Carr-Middleton