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Novice Rowing at Univ

Why try rowing with University College Boat Club (UCBC)?

Rowing for UCBC as a novice is a lot of fun: not only is it a fantastic opportunity to get involved in the heart of college life and make lifelong friends, rowing is also a sport that offers a great way to keep healthy and active when you start at university.

Most undergraduates and graduates of University College give rowing a try during their time at Univ. Most importantly, you don't need any rowing experience at all! In fact most rowers in the top Men's and Women's crews begin as novices at Univ, and we have had plenty of them train and race with the university crews!

Novice Training Program

At the start of every academic year in Michaelmas Term (October-December), UCBC focuses on training novices, when new Univites can try out this amazing sport. We have a very welcoming and flexible approach. You are organised in teams depending on how much time you want to spend rowing each week and how fit you are to begin with. This means that however busy, fit, unfit or committed you may be, we guarantee there's a crew to suit you!

MNA 2019 with Cox; Sophie Wicken and Coaches; Ruairi Clayton and Andy Bridger

At the end of the term we have Nepythys Regatta and Christchurch Regatta. These competitions between the University’s novice teams, are always very exciting and a great way to see the rewards of all the hard work during the previous weeks (The Men's Novice A crew won the Nepythys Regatta in 2012!). They are also a great opportunity to get your first piece of ‘stash’ (college-logo emblazoned clothing) and there is a large University-wide party at the end of the week where all our crews go out to celebrate!

Social Calendar - Crew Dates and Cocktails!

There is a great social aspect to the sport, undoubtedly the best social scene of any Oxford sport. No only do rowers meet dozens of new friends in Univ, but we take part in the famous 'crew date', where teams from across the University get together each week to socialise and hit the night clubs. We also attend en masse the amazing University-wide rowing parties after each competition. For the chance to meet and socialise with people from Univ and across Oxford, look no further than the Boat Club!

The 2019 Summer Eights W1

Racing Season - Torpids and Summer Eights

Having trained our novices into skilled teams, Hilary (January-March) and Trinity (April-June) Terms are the high-point in any rower’s racing and social calendar. The highlight of the Oxford year are two major inter-college ‘bumps racing’ events, known as ‘Torpids’ in Hilary Term and ‘Summer Eights’ in Trinity. During these weeks, crews battle to chase down and ‘bump’ other colleges while avoiding being caught themselves, which offers a heart-thumping, exciting competition for crews and spectators alike.

10k+ people turn up to watch racing on Saturday of Eights
The Saturday of Summer Eights is the ultimate moment for an Oxford rower, when tens of thousands of people from across Oxford and England descend on the banks of the Isis to watch the final day of racing - the atmosphere and cheering as our First boats surge past the Univ boathouse can only be experienced first-hand.

But we don’t just row within Oxford; we often send multiple eights to external regattas, such as Henley Royal Regatta, the Head of the River Race in London and Wallingford Regatta, which is held on the Eton Dorney Rowing Lake used in the London 2012 Olympics.

To join UCBC as a novice rower, come along to the Univ Freshers Fair and the Rowing Taster Day (normally on the saturday of 0th week Michaelmas Term), where you can ask any questions (we have an FAQ section as well) and try it all out.

Join UCBC as a Novice Coxswain!

University College Boat Club has a proud tradition of turning novices into first-rate coxswains, our ranks including several Olympic coxes (Acer Nethercott, Colin Moynihan) and even physicist Stephen Hawking. You can read former Men's 1st VIII cox and Captain of Coxes 2011-2012 Jen Thum recounts her experiences coxing for the first time at Univ here, where she explains how steering the boat can bring fun, excitement, and perhaps Olympic glory.

Stephen Hawking coxes the Men's 2nd VIII in the 1964 Summer Eights

Top 10 Reasons To Try Rowing!

  1. Athletes make better students: There is a large volume of research that suggests skills gained from doing sports, while competing at university level or UCBC lower boats can improve academic results.
  2. Fitness - rowing is a great way to keep fit, healthy and active while studying!
  3. Univ's biggest social scene - Our motto at University College Boat Club is 'work hard, play hard' and we are always attending crew dates, formal dinners, pub crawls and university-wide parties.
  4. No experience required - anyone can join UCBC, regardless of prior experience. In fact, almost all of our members began rowing at Univ!
  5. Meet new people - rowing for Univ creates a big group of friends across all the year groups. You’ll often find Boat Club friends in the college bar, or in Hall eating breakfast after a morning outing.
  6. Teamwork - training hard with a group of dedicated friends, you’ll find that being part of a group helps your motivation and allows you as an individual to get more out of the exercise.
  7. A great study break - rowing on the river after a long revision session is a great way to relax. We believe rowing and study go great together - one of our members got the highest University results in PPE prelims while rowing with M3!
  8. Bumps racing! - bumps racing is a heart-pumping and exhilarating type of racing, and it's exciting to take part in all the thrills and spills!
  9. Career skills - rowing teaches a massive range of skills, from time-management to dedication, and looks great to employers!
  10. Stash - you can tell a rower by the fantastic merchandise we wear!