The senior rowing squad comprises those with significant previous experience. Many of the senior rowers are "novice graduates" having begun rowing for the first time at UWBC in the novice programme and persisting for further years rowing for the senior section.
Graph of 1st and 2nd VIII finishing positions at the Head Of the River Race as a percentage of boats beaten:
The UWBC novice programme provides the opportunity for anyone to take up competitive rowing. With strong training schedules through all three terms, after a year in the novice squad a great many choose to continue into senior squad training. Socially the squad is very active, with the club meeting regularly for events away from the water.
At Warwick beginners are a crucial part of our club’s success and as such we have a thriving contingent of new rowers every year. Whether you’re a former top athlete in another discipline or you’ve never been the sporty type before, Warwick Rowing is interested in you. Our beginner programme is designed to take completely novice rowers from their first rowing stroke up to competent oarsmen and women, along the way developing physiology, mental strength and team work skills. Alongside rowing on the water and rowing machine we develop knowledge and skills in cross disciplines such as weightlifting and nutrition. Training plans are provided and monitored by a team of dedicated coaches and all aspects are covered. Our programme at Warwick produces successful athletes year on year.
The first term is spent learning the basics of rowing technique and terminology as well as fundamentals of athleticism and weight lifting technique. Due to the nature of the sport and the club, there is a selection process for both Men and Women half way through the term, but don’t worry, it is our aim to give you all the skills required to perform to your very best! This selection process picks out the best potential from each squad to take forward in developing. During the first week of the Christmas Holidays, those who pass the selection process go on a development training camp in the UK. This is a crucial trip for our beginners as it gives significant time on the water improving skills.
In term two we move on to developing your physiology and mental toughness with weights, the rowing machine and cross training. You’ll learn how to approach a training session in the most productive way. This term sees your first chance at external racing with several time-trial ‘head’ races, normally held over times of 10-20mins depending on the race. These include the Men’s and Women’s Head of the River Race in London over the Boat Race course, normally attended by up to 400 crews, and the BUCS Head, normally held in Peterborough and attended by all the university boat clubs. On top of this we attend several smaller races around the country.
The summer term sees the beginning of shorter regatta races, generally held over 1-2km. The training moves towards learning the ebb and flow of a regatta race as well as preparing skills you’ll need for the transition into the senior squad at the end of the year. At the end of the Easter Holidays we go for a second one week training camp to the Netherlands to prepare for the second BUCS event of the year. Racing moves to regattas, side by side races on lakes or rivers and these continue throughout the term. Unlike many other sports at Warwick that stop at this point, we’re just getting started and this is really what all the hard graft over the year is about. This is a mixture of multi-lane regattas such as BUCS (the kind of racing you see at the Olympics) and one-on-one knock out competitions. For the beginner first boats the often culminates in Henley Royal Regatta or Henley Women’s Regatta qualifiers to see where you sit against some of the country’s best.
Since circa 1965, Warwick has been churning out hundreds of oarsmen and women from its stable of rowing excellence on the river Avon near Barford. In 2002 discussions were started in establishing an Alumni club. We decided that it was high time that a club should be formed to give old rowing friends a chance to meet up, get back in a boat, have some fun, reminisce over a few drinks and maybe even try to compete against the young upstarts of today!
In return, we hope to offer the current students a number of benefits stemming from our age, experience, wisdom (?) and maybe one day our financial resource!
In February 2004 the WGBC (Warwick Graduate Association Boat Club) was formally established and registered as an ARA club. So, in March of that same year, a crack team of 8 one-time formidable athletes gathered on the tideway in Putney to prepare to take on the 7km course in the 'Head of the River' race. The gentle warm-up went superbly. Joints and limbs were creaking back into action with some success! Unfortunately the wind and waves picked up and in the interests of safety the race was called-off. A curious mix of emotion ensued; on the one hand the race that we'd prepared so diligently for over the past hour was just not going to happen. On the other hand, it was 3 o'clock on a Saturday and we were all primed towards channelling our racing aggression into an evening social, which finished unspectacularly in an embarrassing club in Fulham.
Since then, WGBC have rowed at various other events; Bedford regatta in the spring, and Burton and Peterborough regattas in the heat of the summer - all great fun! At Burton 2004, WGBC were represented in more than 15 races over the two-day regatta. But it was the barbecue and trip to the pub on the Saturday night where we really showed our age - with most members of the club too tired to resist returning to their tents before 10pm - shameful.
The 'Head of the River' and 'Peterborough Regatta' have now both become firmly established in the UWBC and WGBC social calendar. In addition, the UWBC annual rowing club ball gives a chance for the old boys/girls to party and show the youngsters how it used to be done before Tony Blair took the grants away!