School of Sport & Exercise Science

Graduate Spotlight: Dennis Newton (Sweetwater Coaching)

October 6th, 2016 · No Comments · Graduates, Students

Congratulations to Dennis Newton who has received a British Canoeing Regional Volunteer & Recognition Award and been nominated for the National Award for his work in the UK with the Athlete Support Programme (ASP) and the GB freestyle team, alongside other projects for recreational paddling. These honours are just the latest recognition of Dennis’ passionate commitment to promoting freestyle kayaking and paddlesport in general.

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Freestyle kayaking – this is intentional! (Photo: Dennis Newton)

Dennis graduated from the BSc (Hons) Sport & Exercise Science, where he was always searching for ways to apply new knowledge to his coaching of freestyle kayaking. In doing so, he taught everyone a lot about the sport: when he talked about “doing somersaults in my kayak” it turned out that he actually meant exactly that! In return, Dennis says his time in the School “helped me develop a valuable skill set, which I use frequently within my day to day career. In addition to enhancing my understanding and practical skills in physiology, psychology and biomechanics, it provided a strong grounding in the value and methods of research. These have proved invaluable in working with athletes and improving my coaching techniques.”

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Dennis preparing for his dissertation research, which explored the feasibility of 3D motion capture in freestyle kayaking.

Dennis was already a highly-accomplished coach within the sport, and he has continued that work through his company Sweetwater Coaching. Amongst his many achievements in this area, he has been British Canoeing’s Performance Coach of the Year, been Head Coach for Team GB and a number of other countries, and coaches eight time world champion Claire O’Hara.

Equally exciting has been Dennis’ promotion of whitewater paddling around the world, running courses across Europe and North America, as well as adventures on the Nile in Uganda. The enthusiasm, knowledge and commitment to excellence that he has brought to all of these projects led to his nomination for the Foundation Award at the 2015 World Paddle Awards. The profile that accompanied his nomination gives many further insights about Dennis and his work.


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Dennis’ coaching extends beyond paddling – dancing in Uganda (Photo: Dennis Newton)

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