Each year we welcome dozens of people who’ve never tried the sport of rowing before to give it a go.

We felt the best way for you tell what being part of the Boat Club is like as a beginner is to hear from someone who’s been in the same position as you. So have a  look at what Lou, Jacob, Meg, James & Zara have to say.

  • LouName: Lou Grove.
  • Joined RUBC: Oct 2014
  • Studying: Classical and medieval studies
  • Home town: Marlborough, Wiltshire.
  • What made you want to take up rowing? The organised club and enthusiastic squad made me want to give it a try. From there on the competition and sense of achievement when I got different concepts, along with new challenges kept me coming back.
  • What have been your best moments? Winning at BUCS as part of a team. The atmosphere of a successful squad is unbeatable.
  • What have been your proudest achievements? Two BUCS silvers. Rowing Henley women’s getting through to the semi-finals.
  • What are the hardest parts of rowing? Sometimes day to day training starts to wear, when trying to fit in both uni and socials; you have to keep in mind where you want to be, and remind yourself this is how you’re going to get there. Everyone has their off days, but the good out-ways the bad.
  • Why do “you” think taking up rowing is a good idea? The feeling of achievement that comes into everyday life, knowing you always have a chance to improve and make a change every day makes the commitment of rowing worthwhile. In terms of future employment, most employers are looking for many of the factors that make a good rower, such as commitment and self-drive. What you gain most is your own uni family, a group of people with common goals, pushing you to achieve what you never thought you could.
  • Other comments? Rowing adds a certain structure to uni that allows you to make the most of your time here, three years pass quicker than you think

  • Jacob Name: Jacob Chapman.
  • Joined RUBC: Oct 2013
  • Studying: Politics and Economics
  • Home town: Birmingham,  West Midlands
  • What made you want to take up rowing? I’ve always been a sporty person. I did rugby before I came to uni and I just wanted a change.
  • What have been your best moments? The best moments were definitely the Easter training camp in Spain.
  • What have been your proudest achievements? My proudest achievement was winning BUCS head, also coming first in our final at BUCS regatta.
  • What are the hardest parts of rowing? The hardest part is the winter training grinding it out for summer racing. It is needed though and definitely pays off
  • Why do “you” think taking up rowing is a good idea? Taking up rowing is a good idea as it gives you structure to your uni life and you get to represent your uni in the most prestigious sport that it offers.

  • MegName: Meg Parks.
  • Joined RUBC: Oct 2014
  • Studying: Psychology
  • Home town: Wallingford, Oxfordshire.
  • What made you want to take up rowing? Initially the friendliness and encouragement of seniors at the fresher’s fayre made me give it a try. I enjoyed the sessions because I was successful and I’m very competitive, so I enjoyed how challenging it was.
  • What have been your best moments? Winning BUCs gold and silver at the head. Working together as a crew for Henley women’s. Racing in the light weight quad. The first time I could run again after being so poorly with my asthma.
  • What have been your proudest achievements? Breaking the novice record on my first 2k. Racing my first regatta at Oxford city and winning.
  • What are the hardest parts of rowing? For me the hardest part has been how my asthma stopped me training and racing, and I missed opportunities because of it, which I could do nothing about. It’s really hard watching your fitness go and other people advance above you when it’s your health holding you back. And the knowledge it could come again without warning. Dieting to get to weight is hard too. The pain of a hard erg.
  • Why do “you” think taking up rowing is a good idea? Winning is the best ever feeling. And if you’re a competitive person the day to day training allows you to challenge yourself. Make friends that you train with and share experiences you wouldn’t otherwise.
  •  Other comments? It’s a very demanding and all-consuming sport, but it’s completely worth it for what you can achieve.

  • JevName: James Everett.
  • Joined RUBC: Oct 2013
  • Studying: History
  • Home town: Bromley, Greater London.
  • What made you want to take up rowing? I saw flyers saying the boat club was the most successful at the university. I tried a few other sports but wanted to try something new that I would find physically demanding.
  •  What have been your best moments? I really enjoyed going on training camps to Spain which were hard work but great fun. BUCs Regatta is another highlight as you get to test yourself against other universities around the country.
  • What have been your proudest achievements? Not one stands out, I would say competing at BUCs events over the past couple of years and doing fairly well.
  •  Why do “you” think taking up rowing is a good idea? The health benefit is pretty obvious. You get to meet like-minded individuals who remain your best friends through university. My studies also benefitted as I developed better time management as I knew I had to complete training every day.
  •  What are the hardest parts of rowing? Daily commitment to improving is pretty tough, especially in the winter when it’s cold and the days are short. Getting out of bed early each morning isn’t easy either but you see the benefit in the summer. You try to push yourself physically most days.

  • ZaraName:Zara Dorrington.
  • Joined RUBC: Oct 2013
  • Studying: Agriculture
  • Home town: Peterborough, Lincolnshire.
  • What made you want to take up rowing? I wanted to take up rowing because I have always been sporty and competitive. I wanted to make the most of the opportunity to try something at uni that I couldn’t back home and be part of a club I knew had a great reputation amongst other universities.
  • What have been your best moments? Making the 2nd VIII for the WEHORR as my first ever race for the club, stroking the Beg4+ to the A final at BUCS, and the training camps to Banyoles at Easter!
  • What have been your proudest achievements? Making the 1st academic VIII for Henley women’s in my first year and earning the seat in the boat again in my second year. Winning double Gold in W.Int.4x at BUCS head and regatta.
  • What are the hardest parts of rowing? The hardest parts can be self-drive, discipline and organisation, which allow you to commit fully to the sport whilst still having time for everything else (within reason!)…which is possible if you achieve all three! For me I enjoyed the physical toughness as I like a challenge and pushing myself.
  • Why do “you” think taking up rowing is a good idea? Taking up rowing is a great idea as you get to be part of a very close squad who always look out for each other, but also help to push you to reach new levels you did not necessarily think you could reach.
  • Other comments? If you are at all interested I cannot recommend more highly to just give it a go, it is a fantastic opportunity to be part of a unique sports club and you may end up surprising yourself!