Rowing at the University of York

My name is Rosie and I am a third year sociology student. In my first year, I picked up rowing as a novice and haven’t regretted it since!

Prior to uni, I wasn’t very sporty. I only wandered around the sports section of Freshers’ Fair purely because my flatmate wanted to, I hadn’t intended to sign up for anything.

I got picked for rowing as I am quite tall (5’10) and I suddenly went from practically doing no exercise at all to 6-8 sessions a week once I made it on to the novice squad. Now, I am part of the senior squad and am training 10-14 times a week in the run-up to the regatta season.

So, I thought I’d ask some of the men and women from the squad about what they think rowing is like at the university of York…

What are the facilities like at York for rowing?

“The facilities at York are extensive – we have access to ergos, weights and our boathouse is equipped with all boats for any style of rowing. The river is also extremely long (20km+) which is something that not many other universities have at their boat clubs.”

Ellie, 2nd Year, Economics

“The facilities at York are undoubtedly very good, but what makes them most appealing for me is both how close they are to the University, and how well maintained they are. A fantastic gym right on campus, as well as a boat club on an idyllic river (only a 10 minute cycle away), makes them perfect for novices and more experienced rowers alike.”

Alex, 1st Year, Physics

Why did you choose rowing?

“I started rowing because after 11 years of kickboxing I wanted to try something new and my Chemistry teacher at school (who is an Olympic silver medallist for rowing) recommended I try it because I’m pretty tall.”

Scott, 2nd Year, Maths and Philosophy

“I originally chose to do rowing at university because I wanted to stay fit, but I soon learned that rowing meant so much more to me than that. In the Boat Club you are part of a community that value hard work, dedication and sportsmanship, you make friends for life and you can push yourself to your own limits and work towards gaining new skills.”

Anette, 3rd Year, Business and Management

“I chose rowing because I wanted to find a sport I was passionate about. I’d been forced to play rugby, football, you name it while growing up. But none had actually made me want to come back for more. The squad mentality, the sense of camaraderie, as well as even the physical changes to my body that came from it boosted my confidence on and off the water. It has been invaluable to me”

Alex, 1st Year, Physics

What are the socials like?

“The socials are really fun. We go out every Wednesday, and there is a theme every week. Everyone from all the squads are encouraged to come and it’s a good chance to get to know people you may not row with.”

Ellie, 2nd Year, Economics

“Socials are an interesting one. Rowing doesn’t always attract the going-out type so we’re not as stacked out with people who go to Club Salvation week-in-week-out. However, when we let go we let go. Our legendary toga and kit socials, along with our termly formals, have given me some of my best memories at university.”

Scott, 2nd Year, Maths and Philosophy
Kit Social!

How do you balance training and work?

“The balance between training and work isn’t always easy. But knowing everyone is in the same boat (pun intended) really helps you to deal with the workload on all sides. It just takes being organised and prioritising throughout the year!”

Amanda, 3rd Year, Law

“For people like me who struggle with the chaos of university, rowing is a fantastic way to add structure and routine into your life. In that sense, it actually helps my work. I’m up and awake well before lectures start and I’m normally in bed early enough to get the right amount of sleep.”

Scott, 2nd Year, Maths and Philosophy

“The commitment is, by anyone’s standards, a lot. But rowing has always come second to my degree, and nobody in the club would ever be penalised for such. The fact that the boat club is student-run, as well as having flexible hours for most sessions with multiple slots for each weekly sign-up, makes it more than easy to juggle training, work and other commitments. If 14 sessions a week sounds like too much, then there’s plenty who opt for social rowing, only turn up occasionally and just have fun.”

Alex, 1st Year, Physics

Thanks for reading

Hopefully, this has given you a good idea on what rowing is like at York. As you can tell, most of us enjoy it a lot. However, if rowing doesn’t appeal to you, there are soooo many other sports to choose from. There will definitely be something that suits you, you just have to find it!

There’s a Give it a Go scheme at York. Here you can try out as many sports as you have time for before committing. So make sure you look into that at the Freshers’ Fair.

Thank you to Amanda, Ellie, Anette, Scott and Alex for helping me with this post, their contributions were invaluable!

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My names Rosie, from London. I came to York to do Sociology through clearing having never visited it before (didn’t even know it was in Yorkshire!), and it couldn’t have turned out any better. I have a keen interest in film and photography (I spent the summer working on a Netflix TV show) and I’m hoping to do a Masters in documentary film and ethnographic research.