Merry Christmas from OUWLRC

From all of us at OUWLRC, we would like to wish our members (past and present) a very Merry Christmas, and extend our best wishes for 2019.




2018 has been a very busy year for OUWLRC, with representation (and success!) across many regattas and competitions.  Check out the News section of the website for full results of all our races, and keep up to date with updates from the squad on our social media (Instagram, Twitter and Facebook).



Boat Naming: Nanda Pirie

Following the end of racing at Trial Eights, we had the honour of naming one of our 4+ shells after our outgoing Executive Committee Chair, Nanda Pirie.  Nanda raced in the 1985 Blue Boat, and has given many years of service to the club in recent years as Senior Member and then as Executive Committee Chair.  It is a fitting tribute to name a boat which has already won a Boat Race earlier this year (Lightweight Women’s Reserve Race 2018), and two HOR4s pennants in the last two years after someone who has given so much to the club.

As she steps down from her post, we thank her for all the countless hours she has spent working tirelessly behind the scenes to aid the running of our club and wish her all the best!


Trial Eights Report 2018: Speculation vs. Faff

The OUWLRC Trial Eights took place over the weekend of the 8/9th of December, with the race schedule set to to include an omnium of six races over three different distances.  The winner of each race would be awarded points with 2 points awarded for a win in a 500m race, 4 points for a 1000m race and 8 points for a 2000m race.  The two crews were named “Faff” and “Speculation” after the coaches most resented squad habits.

Saturday’s racing took place at Eton Dorney, with the two 8+s competing in four races (two 500m and two 1000m) in a breezy cross-wind.  The two 500m races were closely fought, with Speculation taking the first win, but Faff drawing level on points after a win by a bow ball in the second 500m.  Speculation took both wins for the 1000m races, leaving them ahead by 10 points to 2 going into day two.

Sunday’s racing saw both a change of location and of conditions, with the Eton Dorney lake swapped for the Henley course and consistent breeze replaced with relatively calm conditions, with scattered gusts.  Faff (racing in white baselayers) entered the second day of racing needing to win both 2000m pieces to win, while Speculation (racing in dark baselayers) knew that a win in the first race of the day would guarantee them the overall win on points.  Speculation won the toss and chose to race on the Bucks station first, giving them the advantage of sitting in the stream.  After a strong start, Speculation took the win in the first 2000m race by 2 lengths, thus giving them the overall win of the competition.

The final race of the day saw both crews racing with nothing to lose. Faff could not win the competition, but now had the favoured station with no races for which to save themselves.  Speculation would be racing for the near white-wash of the competition, looking to win 5 of the 6 races.  A stronger start from Faff in the slight stream of the Bucks station but them slightly up of the start, gaining to a length lead by 1000m in.  Speculation fought back, gaining ground in the final 500m to finish only 3/4 of a length down.  The final standings left Speculation ahead, leading Faff by 18 points to 10.


Crew Orders:

NB: The rowers were consistent across the two crews for all races, but the coxes were switched between all crews for races.


  • S: Grace Joel (Balliol)
  • 7: Jane Ellis (St Edmund Hall)
  • 6: Ellie Watts (Wolfson)
  • 5: Oriane Grant (St Catherine’s)
  • 4: Emily Hinson (St Hugh;s)
  • 3: Katie Hurt (Corpus Christi)
  • 2: Leah Mitchell (Balliol)
  • B: Katherine Ferris (Trinity)


  • S: Fiona Jamieson (Corpus Christi)
  • 7: Grace Hanna (Exeter)
  • 6: Amanda Thomas (Trinity)
  • 5: Tuuli-Anna Hulkuri (Nuffield)
  • 4: Laura Boddy (St John’s)
  • 3: Jessica Wang (Christ Church)
  • 2: Anneloes Hoff (St Antony’s)
  • B: Anna Glück (Somerville)


  • Jolet Mimpen (Green Templeton)
  • Charlotte Lee (Balliol)
  • Ruby Harrison (Corpus Christi)
  • Cal Shearer (St John’s)




OUWLRC Squad Members Compete at GB Trials

This year Oriane Grant, Naomi Holland and Ellie Watts attended the GB Rowing Team’s 1st assessment in Boston Lincolnshire. Despite illness and some initial teething problems on the static ergs all three achieved 2k PBs, enabling them to progress through to the second day of trialling. Ellie Watts came 7th overall, Naomi 17th, and Oriane was the 8th fastest under 23.

On the next day there was a 5k time trial in singles. The strong wind meant progress was slow, but everyone persevered. Oriane was the 9th fastest U23 and Ellie finished 14th overall. Despite a speedy start Naomi had an unfortunate tangle with some outlying branches which damaged her overall ranking. All three gained valuable racing experience and are excited to pursue the rest of the season’s challenges.

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Photos courtesy of All Mark One.

Race Report: British Rowing Senior Championships 2018

Following the cancellation of the 2017 Senior Championships, the 2018 competition took place under sunny but breezy conditions at the National Watersport Centre in Nottingham.  OUWLRC had 5 crews competing across the two competition days (three LW2xs on Saturday and a LW4x and W8+ on Sunday).

On Saturday, the three doubles finished 16th, 22nd and 24th in the time trial, placing them all in the C/D Semi Finals.  Ellie & Naomi finished 3rd in their semi final, placing them in the C final, with both Amanda & Anneloes and Oriane & Grace racing in the D final.  All three crews battled increasingly windy and chopping conditions to finish 18th, 23rd and 24th overall.  Ellie & Naomi placed as the second highest lightweight 2x, with Amanda and Anneloes placing 3rd in the same category.  Grace and Oriane placed 5th in a highly competitive U23 lightweight 2x field of 8 crews.

Sunday’s crews consisted of a lightweight 4x and an 8+, both finished just outside the A/B semi final times in the time trial, and won their respective C/D semi finals to place in optimal lane positions for their C final.  The breeze dropped just in time for both crews to race their final races, with both in contention for wins in their respective categories.  In their final, the 8+ rowed through crews from Oxford Brookes and Nottingham to take 1st place in their final to place 13th overall, and a win in the Women’s 8+ University Shield in a time of 7:25, setting a new record for the category.  The 4x also won their final, placing 13th overall and winning the Lightweight Women’s 4x Shield in a time of 7:42.


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— The W8+ crew being awarded the W8+ University Shield —

— Photo taken by Jill Betts —

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Crew Lists:

LW 2x: Ellie Watts, Naomi Holland — 2nd placed Women’s LW 2x, Final ranking: 18th of all Women’s 2x’s

LW U23 2x: Grace Joel, Oriane Grant — 5th placed Women’s U23 LW 2x, Final ranking: 24th of all Women’s 2x’s

LW 2x: Amanda Thomas, Anneloes Hoff — 3rd placed Women’s LW 2x, Final ranking: 23rd of all Women’s 2x’s

LW 4x: Ellie Watts, Naomi Holland, Grace Joel, Amanda Thomas — Winners of the Women’s Lightweight Quad, Final ranking: 13th in all W4x’s

8+: Jolet Mimpen (C), Fiona Jamieson, Brigitte Schmittlein, Emily Hinson, Grace Hanna, Leah Mitchell, Caitlin O’Brien, Katherine Ferris, Tuuli-Anna Huikuri — Winners of the Women’s 8+ University Shield (for non-HPP), Final ranking 13th in all W8+’s

Pre-Season Training Camp: September 2018, Lake Sarnen

For the third year in a row, we returned to Lake Sarnen in Switzerland for a pre-season training camp in early September 2018.

A squad of 14 athletes comprising both returners and new recruits set their alarms for the horribly early time of 0245am to head from Oxford –> Luton –> Zurich –> Sarnen.  Greeted by glorious blue skies, stunning picturesque mountain scenery and a glassy 5km Lake Sarnen, we were all keen to jump straight into training.  We were treated to a week of perfect rowing conditions, ideal for the small boat training we had planned.

As with previous years, this camp predominantly focussed on technique, with long steady state paddles mixed with pure technical sessions in singles, pairs, doubles and a coxless four.  We couldn’t help but take advantage of the spacious lake, regularly rowing eight boats side by side.  The space also allowed Head Coach Chris O’Hara to get creative with his sessions, inventing what he claims to be the first ever omnium-style “elimination race” of blocks of r18 paddling interspersed with 30 second free rate bursts, with the boat in last place being eliminated at the end of each sprint.

As well as Chris and assistant coach Jill Betts, we were joined by our nutritionist Jasmine Campbell and sports psychologist Heather Moon who both give excellent support to aid our recovery between sessions and preparation for the upcoming season.

This training camp, as with previous years, was an incredibly valuable opportunity for our squad to kick off our season in preparation for the 2019 Boat Races.  We cannot thank Chris, Jill, Jasmine and Heather enough for their dedication in organisation, planning and running of the camp, as well as the team at Swiss Rowing for hosting us and allowing our use of their facilities.



Start of the 2018-2019 season

As the new academic year draws closer, we are pleased to announce the start of our 2018-2019 Lightweight Boat Race Campaign.  All rowers and coxes interested in trialling with OUWLRC are invited to an introductory meeting and training session on Wednesday 19th September, at 5pm in the Rowing Gym at Iffley Sports Centre.

We understand that some people might not be back in Oxford yet or are otherwise presently committed.  If you plan to trial for a place in our team this year, but you can’t attend on Wednesday, please drop an email to Head Coach Chris O’Hara ( to let us know your circumstances and the date you will be joining us.



2018 Summer Regatta Report

Since the official end of the 2017/18 season, members of our squad have continued to train and compete at a large number of regattas.  OUWLRC has been represented at the following regattas:

Met Regatta (3rd June)
  • LW1x: Amanda, Grace J, Caitlin
  • W2-: Fiona & Grace H
Henley Women’s Regatta (22nd-24th June)
  • LW1x: Ellie, Anneloes, Amanda
Reading Town & Visitors (30th June)
  • Tethys 4+: Jolet, Emily, Naomi, Amanda, Katherine
  • 1x: Emily, Caitlin, Fiona, Anneloes, Ellie
  • 2x: Naomi, Amanda (Win in Band 1)
  • Dev Squad: 4+, 8+(A), 8+(B)
Molesey Regatta (21st July)
  • 1x: Oriane, Fiona (1st and 2nd respectively in Band 2)
  • 2x: Fiona & Oriane (1st in Band 3)
Henley Town & Visitors (4th August)
  • 1x: Amanda (1st in Band 3), Naomi (1st in Band 4), Anneloes (2nd in Band 2), Oriane (2nd in Band 4)
Warwick Regatta (18th August)
  • 1x: Naomi (1st, representing Warwick Boat Club)
Oxford City Regatta (18th-19th August)
  • 1x: Caitlin (1st in Band 2)
  • 8+: Jolet (three 1st place wins as cox for W8+ events with Green Templeton College Boat Club)


Processed with MOLDIV

Top row:

Caitlin O’Brien and Jolet Mimpen winning at Oxford City Regatta // Naomi Holland winning at Warwick Regatta // Amanda Thomas winning at Henley T&V

Middle row:

Naomi Holland winning at Henley T&V // Fiona Jamieson and Oriane Grant winning at Molesey Regatta // Ellie Watts competing at EUSA

Bottom row:

Naomi Holland and Amanda Thomas winning at Reading Town Regatta // Grace Hanna, Fiona Jamieson, Grace Joel, Amanda Thomas and Caitlin O’Brien at Met Regatta // Anneloes Hoff at Henley Women’s Regatta