OUBC trains and prepares two crews for The Boat Race: the Blue Boat and a reserve crew, called Isis. The squad of twenty to thirty rowers train together for the duration of the season, which runs from September to March.
The Fleming Boathouse on the River ThamesThe squad train twice a day, six days a week, often travelling to row on The Boat Race course a little over an hour away in London. Most training is done from the Fleming Boathouse, OUBC’s state of the art facility on the River Thames built in 2006 thanks to a large number of generous donations, most notably from the Fleming Foundation. Land training is done at the Iffley Road Sports Complex in Oxford. The club also carries out extensive physiological testing during the season, the majority of which takes place at Iffley Road. There are two winter training camps during the season: a cross-country skiing camp to Davos in Switzerland just before Christmas; and a January rowing camp to Temple-sur-Lot in France.
The squad compete in two major races in the first half of the season – the Fours Head of the River in November and Trial Eights in December. These races are primarily used to gain valuable Tideway racing experience and for selection, with provisional crews being announced in late January. In the final month before The Boat Race, the provisional crews compete in fixtures against universities and international crews from around the world to hone their race strategies and tactics.
OUBC rowers and coxswains come from all backgrounds and levels of experience. The club boasts a number of Olympic champions, including Matthew Pinsent (GBR), Andy Triggs-Hodge (GBR), Peter Reed (GBR) and Canadian twins Mark and Mike Evans (CAN), who became Olympic champions after rowing at OUBC, and several who joined OUBC after becoming Olympic champions, Malcolm Howard (CAN).
However, most OUBC rowers and coxswains have just a few years experience prior to joining the club and some learn to row while at university. The club runs a development programme for Oxford students aspiring to reach the level required.
OUBC rowers are full-time students at Oxford UniversityOUBC rowers are subject to the same entry requirements and academic rigour as any other student at the university. To be eligible for The Boat Race, OUBC rowers must also be enrolled on a full-time course at the university. As such, they learn to cope with the enormous pressures of managing strenuous academic and training commitments simultaneously.
Alumni of OUBC are called Old Blues and Isis (OBI) and make a huge contribution to the success of the current squad. OBI often volunteer their time and expertise as coaches or on the Executive Committee that manages the club, and financial donations made by OBI are essential to providing world class facilities and training camps.
OUBC runs a Development Squad to provide coaching, training and racing experience for aspiring novice rowers and coxswains. Although the OUBC squad often includes experienced internationals, the squads also include a number of rowers and coxswains who learnt to row while at university and have just one or two years experience with the Development Squad.
Although the OUBC squad often includes experienced internationals, the squads also include a number of rowers and coxswains who learnt to row while at university and have just one or two years experience.