How did it all begin?


Early Career

After being discovered through a talent ID scheme in 2004, Rachel Cawthorn has become a big player on the world stage for canoe sprint. When she started racing late 2004, it took less than 12 months to climb to the fastest racing division – something that is rarely accomplished in sprint canoe.


Rachel continued training and in 2006 was selected for the GB junior team. Her first international race was in Bochum, Germany where she was paired with Jess Walker for the K2 500m. The pair powered into gold medal position. Cawthorn and Walker had continued success later that same year, making the A-final for both 500m and 1000m k2.


Rachel competed at the 2007 Youth Olympics in Australia and came home with three silver medals. It wasn’t long after this that she was invited to join the GB senior team. Her first year in the team, and already Rachel’s schedule was full. She competed in two World Cups, the European Championships and the World Championships.

During the 2008 European Championships, Rachel claimed silver in k1 500m and yet another k2 500m gold, this time paired with the extremely powerful Hayleigh Mason.

Dusiberg 2010

European Champion

k1 1000m

2009 – 2012

In 2009, Rachel entered the World Championships in k1 500m. She came fourth, just missing out on a medal position. Annoyed with this result, she returned in 2010 and entered the same event. She made history when she became the first British female to win a world championship medal in an Olympic event. During 2010, she also became European Champion  in the k1 1000m and took a European bronze in the k1 500m. The 2010 haul of three gold and three bronze medals was topped off with a new world speed record for k1 1000m, in a time of 3 minutes 52.461 seconds.


Along with Abigail Edmonds, Jess Walker and Louisa Sawers, Rachel made headlines in 2011 when they qualified a k4 for the 2012 London Olympics.

Rachel pulled out some fantastic results at London 2012, making her way into two Olympic finals. Her 6th position in the k1 500m meant she ranked higher than any other British female competing in this event at the Olympics. Cawthorn along with Jess Walker, Angela Hannah and Louisa Sawers accomplished a 5th position in the k4 500m.

London 2012

Double Olympic Finalist

k1 500m & k4 500m

Looking forward

Very excited for the future, Rachel is training hard for Rio 2016. Along the way she has many European and World Championships to contend with but is more than happy to accept the challenge. In a recent interview, she described her mood as “aspirational” and explained how she “couldn’t wait to get started”. Make sure you follow Rachel on Facebook, twitter and Instagram to keep up with her latest news.


Poznan 2010

World Bronze Medalist

k1 500m

Current Boat Design

This is something that’s getting ever more exciting and interesting, with new shapes and patterns appearing at every competition. The design is hugely important to Rachel and for every new boat, she creates a hand drawn and original pattern. Her most recent boat breaks out from the her trademark red and black stripes. A repeated red, orange and pink pattern, separated with black stripes makes Rachel stand out on the course. This particular boat is a Vanquish Quatro, created and painted by Nelo Kayaks.


Sport Canoe Sprint
DOB 03/11/88
Height 1.76m
Weight 70kg
Home Club Wey Kayak Club
Coach Rob Sleeth
Boat Nelo Vanquish Quattro
Paddles Jantex Gamma Mediums


British Speed Record Holder

k1 1000m

 3 minutes 52.461 seconds

Rachel Cawthorn

“When I was younger, I had this idea that sport was purely team games and didn’t consider myself sporty at all. I was always much more up for more adventurous activities that I didn’t even consider as sports.”

Between 2008 - 2013

5 Time National Champion

k1 500m