2020 Crew Announcements

We are excited to announce our crews for the 2020 Lightweight Boat Races, where we will race Cambridge on the Championship Course for the first time.

2020 Squad at MAA Boat Club

2020 Blue Boat:

Blue BoatCoxCharlotte LeeGreen TempletonCambridge (6 lengths)
StrokeClare LeckieSt Catherine's
7Emily HoogkamerLinacre
6Leah Mitchell (President)Balliol
5Amanda ThomasTrinity
4Sarah RobinsonWadham
3Anne-Fleur JanssenJesus
2Amy HoskingJesus
BowLaura BoddySt John's

2020 Reserve Boat:

TethysCoxClare CockerMagdalenOxford
StrokeEliza ArgyropoulosKeble
3Alice CaddockNew
2Lucie Ayliffe-DalyLincoln
BowMiriam StrickerWolfson

We look forward to seeing Oxford supporters in London in just under three weeks!

A word from the Chair of our Executive Committee, Zoe De Toledo, ahead of the Lightweight Boat Races next weekend…

When I took up the role of Chair for the OUWLRC Executive Committee in 2019, I wasn’t quite prepared for the huge period of change that we have seen over the last year. The 2020 Women’s Lightweight Boat Race will be contested on a new race course, with a new coaching team at the helm, and will be the first race for OUWLRC as a full blue sport. This is all on the background of one of the worst winters for rowing weather in recent memory. 

I want to take this opportunity to say thank you to the athletes of OUWLRC, who have managed all this change with the grace, determination, and passion that I have come to expect as standard from these incredible women. I have been so impressed with your hard work, both on and off the water, to drive the club forward. I’m so proud to be a part of this small but mighty club!

The best of luck to all the CUWBC lightweight athletes in their final preparations to race. You are the only other people who can truly appreciate what it means to get yourselves to the start line of these races, and I hope our clubs can continue their strong relationship, and, dare I say it, further build our friendship, long into the future.

I’m sure all the alumni, friends, and family of OUWLRC will join me to wish our crews the best of luck for racing next weekend, on Saturday 14th(reserves) and Sunday 15th(Blue Boat) March. Please continue to follow our social media channels for more information on watching the races, or email . Thank you all for your support and generosity so far, and we hope to see as many of you as possible on the riverbank next weekend.

New sponsor announced for the Lightweight Boat Races


The Women’s Lightweight Boat Race has taken place on the Henley Reach since its inauguration in 1984, however in 2020, for the first year, the race will take place on the Championship Course on the Tideway. This historic move will see all four Oxford-Cambridge Boat Races, and their reserve crews, racing on the same course.

The Lightweight Boat Races are excited to announce a Race Day sponsor of Interactive Investor. The Race date will take place on Sunday 15th March 2020. Keep an eye on your inboxes for announcements of supporter events on the day.

“This is wonderful news. We are hugely grateful to ii for their interest and involvement in supporting the Lightweight Boat Races. I am personally very excited to see OUWLRC race on the Tideway and am looking forward to supporting all the Oxford crews in March.”

Professor Alison Salvesen, Senior Member for OUWLRC

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Joint statement from the Lightweight Boat Races and Interactive Investor:

The organising committee of the Lightweight Boat Races is pleased to announce that the 2020 races will be sponsored by interactive investor. This sponsorship agreement ensures the event can continue to go from strength to strength and also supports the move of the Lightweight Women’s race to the Tideway for the first time. The CULRC vs OULRC and CUWBC Lightweights vs OUWLRC races will take place on Sunday 15 March 2020. 

interactive investor (ii) is a fast-growing and multi-award winning UK investment platform, providing investment tools and insight to investors who take direct control of their financial future. With over 300,000 customers with £30 billion of assets invested, all for a simple monthly fee, ii is the UK investment platform of choice for the engaged investor (www.ii.co.uk/sponsorship).

“We are delighted to partner with ii. Their support allows us to continue to build the profile of the Lightweight Boat Races, and lightweight rowing generally, in this special year where we will have both the men’s and the women’s races on the Tideway for the first time.”

Ben Crystal, Chairman of the organising committee of the LBR

“We are thrilled to be supporting The Lightweight Boat Races. It is a fantastic event where the clubs and athletes involved work tremendously hard all year to perform their best on race day. We wish them the best of luck.”

Richard Wilson, Chief Executive, interactive investor

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ii Disclaimer: The information contained in this press release does not constitute investment advice or personal recommendation. Past performance is no guide to the future and the value of investments can go down as well as up and you may not get back the full amount invested.

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Trial Eights 2019

On Friday, two OUWLRC matched eights headed to the Tideway for this year’s Trial Eights race, the first ever to take place on the Championship Course from Putney to Mortlake.  The crews were named “Puppets” (racing in white tops) and “Parrots” (racing in dark tops).

Puppets won the toss and chose to race on the Surrey station, giving Parrots the Middlesex station.  Both crews got strong starts and stayed level for the first part of the course, with some exciting side by side racing.  Coming under Hammersmith Bridge, the headwind against stream made for some challenging conditions and Puppets pulled ahead to open up clear water before Chiswick Eyot.

The race was not over yet, however.  Parrots fought back over the straight between Chiswick Pier and Barnes Bridge to reduce Puppets’ lead.  After a last push from both crews to the finish, the final verdict saw Puppets win by 2 ½ lengths.


 Puppets Parrots 
CoxClare CockerMagdalenCharlotte LeeGreen Templeton
StrokeClare LeckieSt Catherine'sSarah RobinsonWadham
7Emily HoogkamerLinacreAmanda ThomasTrinity
6Leah Mitchell (President)BalliolLaura BoddySt John's
5Miriam StrickerWolfsonAnne-Fleur JanssenJesus
4Amy HoskingJesusLucie Ayliffe-DalyLincoln
3Alice CaddockNewHelen StarkGreen Templeton
2Eliza ArgyropoulosKebleJessie MorganKeble
BowAlice EvansUniversityLucy ManlyNew

OUWLRC New Assistant Coach

OUWLRC are delighted to welcome Nic Thomas as our new assistant coach. Nic comes to us after coaching at a number of local schools and Magdalen College. She was also involved in the King’s Cup UK Armed Forces squad. We are excited to have Nic joining us and look forward to working with her over the coming season.

Nic with some of our athletes at Wallingford this weekend

Applications open for assistant coach position

OUWLRC are looking to recruit a part-time assistant coach for the 2019/2020 season and beyond.
This would entail around 2-3 weekday sessions and 3-4 weekend sessions, both on and off the water, attendance at races and training camps throughout the season, and a small amount of administrative work to support the Head Coach.
Mini-bus driving and trailer towing (or the wish to learn these skills) are desirable, but not mandatory.

Boston Marathon

15th September 2019

After rowing a marathon on the erg for their EUSA fundraiser, Naomi and Anneloes thought it would be fun to also row one on the water, so they entered the notorious Boston Marathon, a race of 49.2 km from Lincoln to Boston (UK).

Naomi, Mx2x:
It makes for an interesting change of pace to come straight out of a high-intensity training programme preparing to race at EUSA and into a 49.2km race in a mixed double scull with your partner after two training sessions together in an unfamiliar boat. Coach Chris O’ had given some detailed advice on the rigging and gearing of blades for a mixed double in a long distance race; sadly the subtleties were somewhat wasted on us, since one of the gate pins on the boat was bent and due to the weight distribution the boat sat at an alarming angle in the water. Nonetheless we soldiered on, and on two occasions decided to add a cross-training element to the race by climbing out of the boat to go for a short swim and disentangle weeds that had jammed the rudder to one side. Despite these adventures, it was amazing to finish as the 15th fastest boat of the day and to gain a new “most calories burned” and “longest distance” on Polar Flow!

Anneloes, LW1x:
‘You’ve got to row it to know it’, they say… I suppose I can only confirm. The course was long, the weeds prolific, and my hands not prepared, but at least the tailwind into the finish made the final stretch feel breezy. I can’t imagine a better (or more intense) goodbye to the single I have enjoyed so many races with over the past two years! To top it off, I got our club a course record for the women’s lightweight single in a time of 4:26:28, which also made me the fastest female crew of the day. Thanks to Boston Rowing Club for the great organisation and atmosphere, and for creating lightweight categories for this event!

Naomi Boston Marathon

Photo credit: David Dallas
Photo credit: David Dallas


EUSA 2019 – Jönköping

4th – 7th September 2019

This was the last ever race for Oxford University for Chris O’ and the whole quad, so we were all highly motivated to ‘retire’ on a high. In order to fundraise for this race, the quad individually did a sponsored erg marathon and endured some heavy-handed flogging at a Wimbleball training camp, so we were confident that we were mentally resilient and fit for this challenge.

The first day of racing was a race for lanes. Our competitors were two Dutch crews from the University of Utrecht and the University of Amsterdam. Conditions were challenging, with strong winds churning up the lake, and we were thankful to be taking on these sea-like conditions in a larger crew boat. For this first race we had agreed to race to the 1k mark and then settle to rate 32 to practice ‘rowing smart’ in the chop. Despite a strong desire to keep chasing the University of Utrecht, who were ahead at the 1k mark, we stuck to our agreed race plan and focused on trying to row as well as possible and ignore the waves crashing over the sides of the boat. We finished the race in 2nd place and were excited to race the final.

For the final, race conditions were similarly challenging, and led to an unfortunate collision with a bouy as we warmed-up. After mopping up the water the best we could, we paddled up to the start alongside the University of Utrecht. Although they pulled away in the first 1k of the race, we were inching back on them in the 2nd half and wound up at the last 500m eager for blood. However, conditions steadily deteriorated over the course of the race, so we weren’t able to wind as effectively as we would have liked. We finished the race with a silver medal, and were happy in the knowledge that we had thrown everything at it. We celebrated with lördagsgodis.

This race was a fantastic opportunity to compete against some of the best university crews across Europe and a great way to herald our retirements. A massive thank you to everyone who donated to our sponsored marathon as well as Oxford Sports Federation and Jesus College for their generosity, and to James Lee for his role in managing the GB university team. Thanks also to Chris O’ for his coaching and support throughout the season and in the run-up to this race, we are incredibly grateful, and wish the new intake of trialists and the new coach Martin good luck for next season!

Race report by Ellie Watts


Assistant Coach Announcement


It is with great sadness that we announce that OUWLRC Assistant coach Jill Betts has taken the decision not to continue in her post for the upcoming 2019-2020 season.  Jill has been involved with OUWLRC for nine years, with the first two as an athlete, competing in the 2011 and 2012 Lightweight Boat Races in the Blue Boat. After her two seasons as an athlete, she continued to be involved with the club as Assistant Coach as well as a member of the Executive Committee.


Jill’s continued and unwavering commitment to OUWLRC has always gone far beyond her formal role. With one of her main priorities as a coach being athlete welfare, Jill could always be relied on to provide a friendly face or a word of encouragement. On the water, she is famous for some launch dancing (usually while sporting a particularly cosy wooly hat), questionable drills (that always seem to do the job), and suggesting that it might be time to stop faffing and “proceed”.


She will continue in her position on our Executive Committee, and will revive the post of Senior Welfare Officer, a post close to her heart that she has previously held for several years.


From athletes past and present, and the rest of the Executive Committee, we want to thank Jill for her dedication to the club and wish Jill all the best for her final year of medical school. We look forward to sharing many more years supporting OUWLRC by her side, now from the banks rather than on the river.

The Big Row in China

12th – 19th August 2019

Free trip to China where the only catch is you have to do a bit of rowing? Yes please.

After a week of training and a painfully long flight we arrived in the city of Xi’an, the home of the World Rowing University Regatta and the 3rd Xi’an Kunming Lake International Famous Universities Rowing Regatta (quite the mouthful, I know). Despite being the third such regatta, it was the first one to which women had been invited. Overall there were around 20 men’s teams (including Oxford’s lightweight men) and 10 women’s teams. A number of these teams were from China, but there were also many international teams including boats from Harvard, Yale, Cambridge, Nottingham, Amsterdam, Milan, Frankfurt, Zurich and St Petersburg.


At the airport we were greeted by our Chinese helpers (who were lovely) and many, many cameras (which were much less lovely after an eleven hour flight). The many cameras stuck around all week but I think I eventually learnt to embrace them (ish). We were also greeted by the incredible heat and I think everyone was suddenly a little bit apprehensive about how we were going to race when we couldn’t even walk more than a few metres without sweat dripping down our backs.




Once at the hotel, Fiona and I, who learnt to row together at Corpus four years ago, remarked how incredibly surreal everything was, and how bizarre it was that we had somehow made it from our beginnings at Corpus to, well, this. That mood pretty much summed up the week. The hotel was amazing, especially considering that all 30 teams rowing at the regatta were being put up there by the sponsors. The food was great and I particularly enjoyed the variations on ‘fried item filled with red bean paste’ that were presented for desert. The best thing about the food however was undoubtedly the labelling of dishes, which ranged from inaccurate to downright hilarious. Personal favourites were ‘Shredded cabbage shredded shred’, ‘Auspicious elements’ and (best of all) ‘The cod discharge’.


China_7On the morning of the first day, Leah, Katherine and I went on a visit to a local school. Walking in we were treated to displays of work by the students which showed the students to be incredibly talented. Once in the school hall we listened to a number of speeches, made doubly dull by the fact that they were line by line translated into Chinese/English (depending on the original language). Sir Redgrave (as director of Chinese rowing or something) did also make a speech which was, of course, pretty damn cool – he definitely got the biggest round of applause. We were also treated to performances by students, including some traditional dancing and a Chinese-Western fusion band. After the formalities in the hall we took part in a cultural exchange activity where we painted masks. My skills were sadly lacking so to save you having to see that monstrosity, I have instead included a picture of OUL’s efforts. My favourite part of the morning came as we were leaving the school and a boy came up to me and told me how he really likes the Beatles before serenading me with one of their songs.

In the afternoon we attended a press conference. This was a truly surreal experience as we arrived to a professional set-up including UN-style personal translators. Highlights of this (which were few and far between given we were subjected to basically the same speeches we had heard that morning) included one of the German teams answering a question on how they had prepared for the weather by saying they had erged in a sauna. I believed them. Turns out I should not have believed them.



Between the press conference and the opening party, which was being held that evening, we headed to a local supermarket. This was much more of an adventure than it sounds. Lightweights enjoy a supermarket trip at the best of times but the intrigue of not knowing what anything was really added a new dimension to the fun. Oh, and fun fact, you can buy a ‘live’ tortoise from such a supermarket for only 15.80 Yuan (equivalent of less than £2).

The party was quite fun, with food and alcohol which, as a large group of rowers, we fairly quickly demolished. When the wine had run dry, we headed back to the hotel, where we asked our helpers where we might go to get a drink. After they suggested Starbucks we realised there had been a slight miscommunication. They seemed shocked that we would want to drink before a big match which really highlighted a cultural difference (or maybe just highlighted that we weren’t very invested in this competition). However, they kindly took us to a supermarket where we picked up rice wine (delicious) and snake skin (apparently not so delicious).

China_14China_13Training began the next day at Kunming Lake. The lake was beautiful, and was certainly not just the hotter version of Dorney Lake I had been expecting. Each team had their own tent equipped with chairs and a table, a water fan, a water dispenser and a cooler. On this first day we managed to spend the entire day at the lake, to spend less than an hour on the water. This meant most of our time was spent trying and failing to keep cool, a task not helped by the fact we were invited to the opening ceremony, an event where we were forced to listen to the same set of speeches for a third time, but this time stood in the blaring sun. We were however introduced to our boat – a heavyweight men’s boat with no wiring – which added a nice extra challenge to the racing.

China_15 China_18 China_17 China_16

I hadn’t been expecting much from our racing, and so was extremely pleasantly surprised when the time trial results came out and we found ourselves in third! With our confidence somewhat bolstered, we went on to win one heat, come second in a second heat and the semi-final, ultimately earning a bronze in the final. After our third place finish we immediately went to the medal ceremony where we had more cameras focussed on us than seemed reasonable. It was very, very surreal (there’s that word again) but at this point, we all agreed the training was well worth it for the incredibly hefty medals and the prize money we walked away with.

China_19 China_21 China_20


Aside from the rowing and publicity events we did have some time for sight-seeing and general fun and relaxation. After the time trials a few of us decided to head down to the hotel pool for a nice gentle swim. However on arrival to the pool we realised we had entered a warzone. With Amsterdam at one end and Milan at the other, projectile floats were being hurtled across the pool with full force. We joined the lightweight men who were pressed against one of the long edges of the pool, out of harm’s way. Eventually the boys gave up their game, leaving us free to finally enjoy the pool.

The afternoon of our heats, we went to see the Terracotta Warriors. For some reason I had been expecting three or four twenty foot high statues. The reality was actually much more impressive and we were lucky enough to have had a tour arranged for us, including a personal guide on hand to answer our questions and supply many interesting facts about the warriors. I can only imagine how eerie the scene would have been without the hundreds and hundreds of people there (apparently this was a quiet day) and how incredible it would have been to discover the first one given the immense detail which gave them a really life-like quality.

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On the afternoon following the finals, we finally successfully headed into the old town in the centre of Xi’an. (Our first attempt had led to a 1.5 hour walk in circles before deciding it was late, we were tired and it was probably best to get a taxi home). We walked around the wall surrounding the old city and saw the Bell Tower and Drum Tower. The most interesting part was definitely visiting the markets. This was bustling with life with narrow winding alleys filled with glittering trinkets and wider streets lined with food stalls featuring all sorts of exotic-looking delights.

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The final night we celebrated in true rowing style, in a club filled with our competitors. I had a really good time, and particularly enjoyed my time soaring above the crowd on one of the men’s shoulders. It was a great atmosphere to round off the trip.

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Race report by Katie Hurt