Rowing is a sport that in the UK at least is often associated with University sports, and the UWE Boat Club (UWEBC) is certainly one of the most prominent clubs in terms of competition, training and commitment. Tom Williams interviewed UWEBC President, Hannah Eardley to learn more about the UWEBC.
Western Eye: How many members does the boat club have this year and how does this number impact the performance?
Hannah Eardley: About 60 members, which is relatively low; usually we have 100+. We toe the line between being an elite club competing amongst the best universities and being a social club. In an ideal world we would have enough equipment to have every member competing at an elite level.
WE: How do the competitions work?
HE: Winter is a head format; a long distance time trial where boats race the same course one after another. Summer racing begins around Easter and is a regatta format, which has six boats side by side racing 2km. There are BUCS Rowing events for all universities and holds a head event and a regatta. The head race was cancelled due to weather and flooding and the regatta is scheduled for May bank holiday weekend. We won a variety of medals last year – including two gold – and hope to win more this year!
WE: How has the season been so far and how has this set you up for the summer?
HE: The winter season has been a challenge; weather conditions have prevented many clubs training and races are being cancelled most weekends. Thankfully, our club is based on a canal which meant we are able to get out and train. This will hopefully give us an advantage come the summer regatta season.
WE: Varsity is fast approaching. What chance do you feel UWE has this year?
HE: We won overall last year, 3 to 2, but the format has changed slightly and only 4 races will count towards winning. UWE are tougher and have trained harder, attending sessions no matter the weather, so we have every chance of retaining our wins this year.
WE: What would you say are the benefits of joining the UWEBC?
HE: Rowing offers the opportunity to learn a new sport from scratch. Our novice program is designed to introduce people to rowing in an enjoyable manner. By the end of the first year members get the chance to represent the university at the biggest races in the country even in a ‘first’ boat. This is something other clubs are unable to offer to novices. The sport is incredibly social, we spend a lot of time together as a squad and many members choose to live with each other, and we are notorious for a huge night out! The intense training offers the chance to learn time management and self-motivation, worthwhile skills to have at university that often improve members’ grades. We support each other and are always ecstatic to welcome new members.
The UWEBC certainly offers a mixture of socialising, training and competition whilst giving every member the chance earn a place on the racing team, something unique to the club. The 20th Anniversary Varsity rowing will take place on 26th of April at the harbour side.