Reading University Boat Club

Focused on sculling, focused on success, focused on you.

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Big day for Boat Club

4th March 2017 was a big day for Reading University Boat Club.

Preparation had started weeks ago for our annual head of the river race and annual dinner that took place in the evening but as members of RUBC arrived bright and early at our club, based in Caversham, things began to really take shape.

Trailers from all over the country had been arriving the evening before and more started to arrive as the morning pressed on and marshals set up position and laid buoys over the course which stretched over 4.6 kilometres downstream from the Roebuck hotel to just outside RUBC. Due to it’s timing, two weeks prior to eights head in London, our race attracted some of the country’s top crews such as Oxford Brookes and Leander as well as some competitive senior and junior quads such as Headington and Windsor Boy’s school. It was an exciting event to be part of and due to the calibre of those racing and proved a great opportunity for our seniors to prove themselves and our novices to enjoy their first racing experience.

Boating for the first division began at 9am and while most members of RUBC were on registration and setting up refreshments and cake stalls inside, we had seven crews boating for division one at 10.30 AM.  There were four boats entered into the IM24X which was a pretty loaded category. Current RUBC members Ross Jones, Jack Gibson, Chris Dove and Bryn Hassan raced well, coming fourth against some top competition and beating the ‘old boys’ or alumni quad of Vince DeLuca, Corey McDowell, Rob Johnston and James Robinson into 8th position and the 2nd quad of Johannes De Jong, Nikolas Gavrias, Chris O’Bryan and Ollie Irwin into 9th place and our top novice boys quad of Ben Nurse, Angus Abbott, Scott Somerville and Dan Gregory had a great first race with plenty of support from the rest of the club. Also racing in the first division was the IM1 alumni girls quad of Ally Brooks, Jenny Spencer, Rose Wiloughby and Midia Hadjixenofontos who boasted a decent time despite no opposition. It was the first race for our novice girls quad of Alicia Pears, Hettie Horler, Sophie Bullock and Ellen Smith who joined Amber Mayall, Helen Such, Molly Regan and Issy Heighton in a WIM34x event full of competition including a fast Oxford Brookes boat who took the win.

John Kerry and Christiana

John Kerry and Christiana

The first division cheered on by a special guest as we were joined on the river bank by the former US Secretary of State, John Kerry. He seemed impressed by the day and took time out to speak to the students and alumni.

After some good racing in the morning which saw Oxford Brookes take the Elite 8’s win over Leander and Radley College (Now coached by former RUBC athlete and coach Sam Townsend) took the win in the junior eights and Star and Arrow in the Junior quads.

Mad8 2017

The alumni crew “Mad8″ raised over £5,000 for RUBC – AMAZING!!

The afternoon division began boating at 1pm after some members of RUBC served the marshals lunch in the canoe club looking over the river and plenty of tea, coffee and cake was sold in the club house. We had six boats in this division as well as the ‘Mad 8’ a group of 9 ex-university rowers who. After 40 years abstinence from the sport, set up a JustGiving page to raise money for the University boat club and help get them down the course. They raced under Ortner Boat Club and came 2nd in the Masters F category. From the oldest to the very newest, it was the first race for more of our novice girls in the WIM24X category. Claire Hesketh, Katherine MacPherson, Maddie East and Freya Cory raced well against a quick Borlase crew and the senior girls Kit Swales, Beatrice Roe, Victoria Norton and Katy Ratcliffe who took the win in that category. Anna Smart, Amy Fuller, Lou Grove and Lucy Ryan had a really good row in the Elite quads category, holding off Reading Rowing Club’s top women’s quad for most of the course. On the boy’s side, two boats were entered into IM34x. Harvey Jacklin, Sam Palmer, Laurence O’ Connor and Rob Mcpherson took the win by nearly 30 seconds and for the novice boys of Harry Hannam, Daniel Adkin, Vincent Moulton and Liam Bates (also in the same category) it was a decent first race as well. Reading University’s top boys quad won the IM14X category against a strong Reading Rowing Club boat and took home our third win of the day, very well done to them.

As well as our crews that won there was some strong racing across the board from our elite women to our novice scullers who put the disappointment of last weekend’s cancellations behind them and really enjoyed their first racing experience.

All members of RUBC worked well in the lead up to and on the day of the event and it was great to see just how much everyone contributed to such a successful day, from collecting launches from Pangbourne, to baking cakes and handing out medals all before rushing off to quickly change out of our lycra in time for the annual dinner.

The RUBC formal takes place following on from our head race every year. It is held in Park House on the University Campus and this year was exceptionally special due to the numbers of alumni that returned. Social Secretary Anna Smart said ‘Thanks to everyone who came. I’m sure I speak for everyone when I say that it was great to have students and alumni from the past 50 years in one room together.’

As well as reconnecting with our previous captains and members from years back, there were several teary speeches and some awards given out too. Olly Dix, men’s captain, was awarded ‘Man of the year’ and ‘woman of the year’ went to Lucy Ryan. ‘Most improved’ went to Amber Mayall on the girls’ side and Sam Palmer for the boys. Scott Somerville won ‘Novice of the year’ and Bryn Hassan won ‘Most committed.’ ‘Team-mate of the year’ was awarded to Jack Gibson and The ‘Positivity’ award went to Chris O’Bryan with Meg Park winning the ‘Ambassador’ award. It was a very well organised night with special thanks going to Social Sec’s Amber Mayall and Anna Smart, President Simon Williamson and the organisers at the Meadow Suite.

Press – Katy Ratcliffe

BUCS Head 2017

Reading University Boat Club returned to the north after a spectacular BUCS head last year with plenty of titles to defend. Following the news that beginner events on the Saturday were to be cancelled due to high winds, it was only the senior squad that undertook the seven hour journey up to the Tyne to battle strong winds and attempt to steer the tidal river.

First off (first out of all crews in the entire event) was the Championship men’s quad of Simon Williamson, Franklin Hamilton, Olly Dix and Luke Reiser. They had tough competition but lead fearlessly down the course with an aim to defend their number one spot. In the end the boys came away with a creditable fourth, disappointing as always to be just outside of the medals, they will definitely be using this result as motivation in the coming races as we move into regatta season.

In the intermediate category, we had three men’s quads. The first boat of Chris Dove, Rob Mcpherson, Sam Palmer and Matt Rogers raced very well, taking our first gold of the day. The second boat of Jack Gibson, Harvey Jacklin Laurence O’Connor and Bryn Hassan struggled with the tricky course and ended in seventh place, a little disappointing for them. The third boat of Nikolas Gavrias, Ollie Irwin and Christopher O’Bryan and Johannes Pedro de Jong had a strong race, placing well in the top 10, an impressive result showing the strength and depth within the men’s squad.

The last race of the first division was the women’s lightweight quad of Amy Fuller, Katy Ratcliffe, Victoria Norton and Anna Smart who also lead the field, defending a two year winning streak. They faced tough competition and came away satisfied with bronze.

It was a quick turnaround for the lightweights as they would be racing again in the second division. Two lightweight men’s quads took to the water, looking to improve on their silver from last year the first boat of Simon Williamson, Franklin Hamilton, Matt Rogers and Christian Dove found a strong, aggressive rythmn, overtaking last years winners and taking the win. The second lightweight boat of Rob Mcpherson, Jack Gibson, Johannes Pedro de Jong and Ross Jones followed soon after, taking silver.

On the girls side, the championship boat of Louretta Grove, Lucy Ryan, Anna Smart and Victoria Norton were also set off first. They took on some very strong competition from University of London and Edinburgh but held their own and took a strong bronze medal, a very impressive feat in such a strong field. We next had two intermediate boats with Amy Fuller, Poppy Durkan, Meg Park and Kit Swales winning silver and the third boat of Amber Mayall, Helen Such, Molly Regan and Beatrice Roe coming an impressive 5th.

Going into this year it was clear that the competition had stepped up, and following the success of last year it was going to be very hard to beat. We returned from the north this year with 2 golds, 2 silvers and 2 bronzes and are currently 6th on the medal table. We look forward to taking these results and using them in the coming months in our own head race this weekend and looking forward to BUCS regatta in the spring. Well done all, a successful weekend and plenty more medals to come.



Winter news from RUBC


Boat club article for student paper

Reading University Boat Club is consistently one of the highest achieving clubs at the University. Last year, RUBC placed 2nd on the BUCS medal table, raced at tne prestigious Henley Royal Regatta and achieved highly at the European University Games in Croatia in the summer.

Rowing is an intense sport for all members of the club, whether you are a seasoned rower or a novice who has just started this September. The attitude of the club is one that aims to achieve: early morning sessions and aching limbs are worth it when racing and winning medals.

On the 26th November, we have our BUCS indoors event. Reading University Sportspark opens its doors to other rowing clubs, including Essex, East London and Warwick. This event is a big one in the rowing calendar, with many of our athletes aiming to place highly on the table. Most of the club will race 2,000 meters on the rowing machine, which is tough both mentally and physically. Our novices will be racing 1,000 meters, an equal challenge to those who have only been rowing since the start of term. Although rowing is generally a team sport, when you compete on the rowing machine, you are very much challenging yourself, trying to beat your previous personal record, and being mentally tough enough to stick to the targets you set yourself.

Even though we do work hard at the boat club, we also have some crazy socials. After our BUCS indoors event, we are celebrating Christmas early with our annual ‘banterclause’ social. The whole rowing team will be out in force at Union, of course dressed in festive attire and doing the bidding of whatever Mr and Mrs clause (our beloved captains) desire. In October, you may have seen us staggering rou d reading town centre MNQ in another annual event in the Rowing social calendar: our three legged bar crawl.

Despite our intensive training regime and want for medals, the rowing team really do sport a ‘work hard play hard’ attitude. We are a friendly club who enjoy early nights, early mornings and naps but we live for a good union night and a snakebite every now and then!

BUCS indoors event at Reading Uni.

Reading is preparing to host a BUCS indoor rowing event for the 6th year.

This year’s event is on Saturday 26th November and details can be found here.

Britchamps 2016

Reading University took 5 quads up to Nottingham last weekend to battle against the best of the British and hopefully take home the new ‘Non High Performance University’ shield.

Three boys quads were up first. The ‘A’ quad of Olly Dix, Simon Williamson, Franklin Hamilton and James Mackins performed well in the time trial, coming 9th and progressing to the A/B semis. The ‘B’ quad of Rob Mcpherson, Jack Gibson, Bryn Hassan and Chris Dove did very well, 6 seconds behind the A quad they came 16th and progressed to the C/D semi finals. Our third quad put in a solid effort with Chris O’Bryan, Ross Jones, Matt Rogers and Harvey Jacklin coming 27th out of 31. They went on to race next, coming 2nd in the E final after an amazing race, right to the line.

While the top two boys quads were resting for their semi-finals, the girls quads took centre stage with the A quad of Amy Fuller, Lucy Ryan, Lou Grove and Meg Park coming 12th to scrape into the A/B semi’s and the B quad tantalisingly close behind, took 14th with Poppy Durkan, Kit Swales, Vic Norton and Anna Smart racing very well to qualify for the C/D semis.

The next race of the day was the Boys C/D semi with our B quad taking second place in their semi, with four boats battling over three spaces it was the most exciting last 100m of the day! This meant progressing to the C final. For our A quad in the A/B semis it was a quick start, seeing them settle into 3rd place early on in the race. A fast Windsor boys crew took advantage in the dying stages of the race and battled them into 4th place. The boys took defeat well, heading into the B final with a competitive spirit. For the girls B quad, a hard C/D semi had them battling for C final qualification with a strong Nottingham lightweight quad. They crossed the line in second place after a strong row. The A quad had a very competitive line up in their semi-final and crossed the line in 6th position, not as strong qualification as they’d have liked for the B final but plenty to improve on later this afternoon.

The next final of the day was the C final for men’s open quads with Rob Mcpherson, Jack Gibson, Bryn Hassan and Chris Dove racing a strong Newcastle boat right to the line to come 3rd. A very impressive result from our fresher scullers. Our top boys quad were next up in a competitive B final. They had a rapid start, being the first to 500 and just slipping behind at the halfway mark before finding themselves crossing the line in 4th position, taking the university shied. A very creditable race, well done boys.

The girls’ C final was equally tight to the boys’ one with Poppy Durkan, Kit Swales, Vic Norton and Anna Smart battling against Lady Eleanor Holles after a slow start. They stayed strong and crossed the line in second place. The last race of the day was the B final, with Amy Fuller, Lucy Ryan, Lou Grove and Meg Park also off to a slow start but holding their all against the strong opposition. They crossed the line in 4th, winning the University shield and setting a new record in that category, very well done.

Britchamps was the first real taste of racing for our triallists and key members of the squad. It was a great opportunity to test ourselves against the best in Britain and we did ourselves proud with some tight, competitive racing and two university shields to take back home to Reading.

Coaching job at RUBC

Exciting news – We seek to appoint an experienced and talented rowing coach to join Reading University Boat Club’s existing coaching team. Full details on the University jobs pages:

Summer Newsletter

Here’s a round up of the final term in the 2015-16 season.


European University Games, Zagreb – 12th to 14th July

‘The First Croatian Historical Novel’

Reading University sent five crews to the European University Games. This year, the multi-sport event was held in two cities; Zagreb and Rijeka.

Nine athletes and two coaches flew out to Zagreb on the 10th of July to compete against University crews from across Europe as well as crews we had previously raced at BUCS head and BUCS regatta.

Two days of training on the beautiful lake, SRC Jarun was followed by the first day of competition. It wasn’t until early Tuesday morning that the official timings of the heats were released, despite this, all Reading’s crews were excited to get on the water and battle with the 36 degree heat.

Reading University’s first race was the lightweight men’s double sculls. Simon Williamson and Franklin Hamilton raced early in the second of two heats. Their performance in this race would determine whether they would progress straight to Thursday’s final or proceed to the Repechage. They took an early lead and controlled the race from the start, winning their heat in a solid time. A great start from the boys!

Next up was the very competitive men’s double sculls. Dominic Tope and Olly Dix raced very well in the first of three heats and despite coming in last, they raced well and managed a very fast time that would have brought them a completely different result in one of the slower heats. They progressed to the Repechage the following day.

The women’s quadruple sculls was a very exciting race. With three crews from the UK alongside a fast German crew from the University of Munster and two other international crews, Amy Fuller, Katy Ratcliffe, Francesca Bratt and Anna Smart raced well in their race for lanes. After not their best start, a strong middle thousand put them in front but a fight on the other side of the field between Munster and Oxford meant that they crossed the line in 2nd position by 0.8 seconds. An exciting final is in store!

Sam Twine contended the men’s single scull, arguably the most competitive event in the competition. He raced in the second of three heats in a stacked competition and sculled exceptionally well, taking an early lead and moving away steadily to win by over eight seconds. This enabled him to progress directly to the semi-finals on Wednesday.

The final race of the day was a race for lanes for the women’s lightweight double of Amy Fuller and Francesca Bratt who had previously raced in the lightweight quad. The girls managed their tricky afternoon weigh-in and after most of the race battling with a strong Edinburgh double, they pulled away and won by two seconds. A very impressive result!

The Wednesday was a mixed day for Reading. For the lightweights, it was a training day with a chance to relax and plan for the following day’s racing as well as buying the all-important post-race treats which the lightweight girls may have overdone slightly. For the men’s double, their Repechage was a chance to prove themselves and gain a spot in the final. The double sculls Repechage was early on and Olly and Dom put in one of the best performances so far to win convincingly and progress to their Semi-final in a few hours. Racing in lane 1, Olly and Dom fought hard to stay in the action. The times between 1st and 4th were incredibly close but the boys missed out by a fraction, meaning they will be racing in the B final on Thursday.

Sam Twine was also racing in his Semi in the afternoon section of races against some very tough opposition. He sculled very well, staying with the faster scullers off the start and pulling away from the rest of the field to progress easily into the A final on the following day.

Finals day dawned slightly cooler than the previous racing days with much prefferted conditions. With plenty of medals within our grasp, Reading University was very excited to race.

The first Reading crew up were Simon and Franklin in the lightweight men’s double. They battled for a while with a strong crew from Bern before pulling away and sculling a very well-paced race to come through in third. They won GB and Reading’s first medal of the day, a very impressive feat with more to follow!

Next up for Reading were Olly and Dom in the B final of the men’s double sculls. They had a huge start and lead a competitive field with another GB double following in second place the whole way. A strong middle thousand and well-paced sprint meant a very impressive B-final win for the boys.

The lightweight women’s quad was the next race. After another smooth weigh-in the girls were very excited to race. A strong start and they were up with Munster University and away from the rest of the pack. Once onto rhythm, Reading began to move away leaving Munster and Oxford to battle it out for the silver medal. A big finish meant the girls won GB and Reading’s first gold medal of the day by nearly six seconds. This started the ball rolling for GB and plenty more golds were won following this!

In the afternoon races, Sam Twine raced well off the start, holding a solid fourth place through the middle of the race. He put in a big push at the 500 but it wasn’t quite enough to catch the enormous Dutch sculler out in front. Sam put in a huge sprint and came through in fourth position, five seconds behind bronze medal position, a very impressive achievement.

The last crew from Reading was the lightweight women’s double who managed another stressful double weigh-in but were spot-on on the scales. They raced well, controlling the race right from the start and re-enacting that solid, long rhythm that worked so well in the morning races. They lead Edinburgh the whole way and both GB crews pulled away from the other opposition. Amy and Fran won their second gold of the day by four seconds, a very, very exciting result from the two young scullers.

With two gold and one bronze medal, this put Reading University Boat Club at the top of the medals table out of all GB Universities. This, in addition to GB winning the prestigious EUSA salver made it an very successful EUSA games and a fantastic way to end the season. A few restful weeks are needed now for all our athletes before the new season in September where we will try and better RUBC’s most successful year to date. Press Officer over and out.

Henley Royal Regatta – 29th June to 3rd July

Reading University had five crews aiming for qualification for Henley Royal Regatta. Three men’s quads racing in the Prince of Wales Challenge Cup and two women’s quads racing in the Princess Grace. Due to injury, one of the women’s quads unfortunately had to scratch and there was a reshuffle of competitors within the first one. Despite this, strong quads from both genders took to the water on the Friday before Henley to race over the regatta course and try to gain one of the rare qualification spots.

There were five available qualification spots in the elite women’s quads event known as the Princess Grace Challenge Cup. Anna Smart, Amy Fuller, Francesca Bratt and Louretta Grove rowed well but struggled in the severe headwind that got steadily stronger throughout the afternoon. In a top event such as this, they achieved a competitive time, less than 30 seconds off the fastest non-qualifier which is impressive for a young university crew.

There were seven available qualification spots in the senior quads event, the Prince of Wales Challenge Cup. Twenty crews were battling over these spots, three of which were Reading University crews. The ‘A’ crew of Olly Dix, Sam Twine, Dom Tope and Simon Williamson sculled very well and managed to qualify their boat. A very impressive feat in such a top-end event. The ‘B’ quad of Franklin Hamilton, James Mackins, Jacob Chapman and Corey Mcdowell and the ‘C’ quad of James Everett, Jack Gibson, Jack Radford and Tom Barak both raced well, not coping quite as well in the wind. They both missed out on qualifying but will have learned plenty and gained valuable race experience.

As the only Reading University crew who succeeded in qualifying, Olly Dix, Sam Twine, Simon Williamson and Dom Tope then waited until Wednesday evening to receive the news that they had drawn an international crew in the following days’ heat. Rudern, Tennis und Hockey Club Bayer Leverkusen and Akademischer Ruder Club zu Münster was a composite crew from Germany. The two boats took to the water for their race at 3.10. Reading put in a rapid start, looking very neat and managed to hold their lead through the barrier, in a very quick time. As one of the selected crews, the German composite was very tough opposition and they slowly began to edge their way back on Reading using international race experience. Reading were down just over a length coming into Fawley but were sculling well. They put in a huge push and moved up on the German crew, very exciting for the spectators gathered on the tow path. Unfortunately, the extra weight and power inside the German crew meant they were able to respond to every push Reading made. The final verdict was 1 ¼ lengths in one of the fastest heat times. Very well done to Reading University, some exceptional racing.

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