Novice Women

If you’ve never rowed before, or have very little experience, then the UCLBC Novice Women’s Squad is the place for you. Speaking from experience, it doesn’t matter if you’ve never been in a boat before. Everyone is in the same position, and the nerves and excitement you all feel make you bond quickly. Plus, due to the excellent coaching provided, you will progress rapidly and, before you know it, have great confidence on the water.

You may have heard about gruelling training schemes, but for novices, it’s more relaxed, so there’s no need to panic about 4am alarms. However, do expect to be working hard (which will happen regardless as you improve and bond with your crew). We aim to be down at the boathouse in Chiswick at least three times a week, and time on the water is complimented by land training (and a recommended circuits class at Bloomsbury Fitness with the rest of the club). It may sound like a lot, but it will all be worthwhile as you see your fitness rapidly progress.

The winter season includes head races of varying lengths up to 6.8k, many of which take place on the Thames (including Quintin and WEHoRR), although races take you cross-country to other cities such as Cambridge and Newcastle. Throughout the year, we also have training camps which are extremely rewarding experiences to be a part of. The first takes place on the Thames in January during the holidays, whereas the second is in Portugal during the Easter break. This is where you craft your skill, push your endurance and create some of the best friendships (bonding doesn’t come much better than taping up each other’s blisters).

After this the regatta season starts, when the hours spent rowing in the cold and rain are made worthwhile, and where you get to enjoy the fast pace and adrenaline rush of the summer races (including BUCS, Peterborough and Reading). The pinnacle of the year, Henley Women’s Regatta (HWR) swiftly follows, and this year saw two fours compete on the world-famous course. Both teams put in respectable runs, with the 1st crew beating many of the more senior crews.

Of course, as a welcome relief from the hard work both on and off the water, the club also offers many fantastic social events, from an annual boat ball to Christmas and summer dinners (which is also an exciting opportunity to hear from alumni and other accomplished rowers). Every year, the senior/novice and male/female squads become more integrated too, allowing you to develop friendships outside of your squad, and overall creating a great club to be a part of.

In summary, we have a friendly and welcoming atmosphere, and a challenging but rewarding training program. Ultimately, joining UCLBC is one of the best decisions you’ll make during your time at UCL; not only will you benefit from an increased physical and mental strength that you never knew you had, you will also create unique bonds with your crew members as you share with one another the thrill of rowing.

If you fancy giving it a go (we hold ‘Give it a Row’ taster sessions at the start of the year), you can sign up on this website, or visit us instead at our Freshers’ Fair stall to have a friendly chat with members of the club. Alternatively, please get in touch with me via email (, and I will be very happy to answer your questions.

I look forward to seeing you down at the boathouse soon!

Laura Riggall

Novice Women’s Captain (2018/19)