#23 University of Nottingham




The University 

It was at the University of Nottingham in 1977 that Sir Peter Mansfield and colleagues made the breakthrough that led to MRI scanners now being used in hospitals around the world. Since then, the university has continued to go from strength to strength.

A member of the prestigious Russell Group, Nottingham consistently places in the top 100 universities worldwide and top 20 in the UK, attracting over 46,000 students come from 150 countries to study here. It has also been awarded TEF Gold (Teaching Excellence Framework) showcasing its lecturers, curriculum and reputation to be first class. 

The university has incredible facilities for learning, such as the Queen’s Medical Centre with its international reputation for neuroscience, cancer, and trauma services; and independent study is easy in any of the 8 libraries, including the new 6-floor George Green Library for engineering and sciences.

Nottingham’s main UK campus, University Park, is filled with a mixture of green space and water which is a valuable contrast to the exciting urban environment found in the centre of Nottingham city. The city itself has a diverse population of over 750,000 ensuring a wealth of opportunities both inside and outside of university life. Whether your preference is open green fields or a bustling cityscape or a place of rich cultural history fit for Robin Hood and any of his merry men or women, you will find it here in Nottingham.

The Boat Club

UoNBC, founded in 1892, is a very popular society within the University well known for its tough training regime, fantastic pre-season camps abroad and lively socials, all where you can make lifelong friends. The club is renowned for its gold blades and provides comprehensive access to the rowing world, from those who have never rowed before to those aiming for lots of BUCS medals or maybe even the next Olympics.

Our boathouse, located on the River Trent, has ergos, dynamic ergos, static erg bikes, a swingulator pair and a core/stretching area. As a UoN Sports member, athletes also have access to the new £40M David Ross Sports Village which opened in September 2016 which includes fantastic facilities including a high performance zone which the athletes use for strength and conditioning and circuit training. We are also offered various nutrition and psychology talks from the University.

The boat house is ideally located with access to the River Trent, as well as the National Watersports Centre at Holme Pierrepoint allowing great practice for competitive lane racing in the summer. We are also proud of our high quality fleet of boats along with fabulous facilities that ensures UoNBC’s oarsmen have the best opportunities to succeed.


Our Head and Senior Women’s lead coach, John McKirdy, has been in the sport for 45 years, attaining a wealth of knowledge and experience. As an athlete, John competed at HRR several times for Derby RC and Nottingham Union RC, and raced at Nottingham International Regatta, where he won a gold medal in the coxless pair. John began coaching at UoNBC in 2009, becoming Head Coach in 2014. His impressive programme for the senior men and women has seen a positive turn in results already.

Our men’s side is led by Tim Brearley, who focuses mostly on the lightweight programme, with David O’Sullivan focusing on the heavies. Both Tim and David rowed at an elite level at Derby RC. Tim had domestic and international success, including medals at Ghent Regatta.

After taking time out for his family and career, Tim returned as a master, competing at Henley Masters, British, and World Championships. As an Under 23, David won a silver medal at Nottingham International Regatta. He then turned his hand to coaching at Derby. His athletes broke records at national championships, achieved national selection, and made finals at HWR. Tim joined David coaching at Derby, then in 2015 at UoNBC.


  • Gold at World Rowing Universities Regatta for the women’s 8+
  • EUSA bronze for our men’s lwt2x
  • HWR final for the CWLwt 2x, 2 years in a row.
  • 31st at HORR 2019 and 4th place finish for the W8+ who also raced there in place of WeHORR.
  • Championship BUCS medals in the past 2 years include: 3 Golds, 6 silvers, 3 bronzes, and the fastest BUCS gold for the novice women’s 8.


  • 20min/3mile cycle from campus to the boatclub
  • David Ross Sports Village including High Performance Zone weights area, strength & conditioning coaching and physio and nutritional support (on campus).
  • Wide, 9km stretch on the Beautiful River Trent and access to Holme Pierrepoint 2km rowing lake.
  • Full erg and club room at the boathouse.
  • Strong expanding fleet of boats including a new Hudson Men’s 8+ and a Women’s Cobra 4x


Alumni Lucy Gillbanks; 11 times BUCS medallist and trialist in the 2020 Boat Race (Oxford)

“UoNBC is undoubtedly one of the best University Rowing programmes in the UK, particularly the lightweight programme. The support and facilities at UoN are incredible. I am so fortunate to have experienced many successes with UoNBC. I have met friends for life and will always be a part of the UoNBC family. Thank you Nottingham!”


Current 3rd year physio, George Crouchley; 5 times BUCS medallist and EUSA silver medallist

“UoNBC helps provide both an amazing university and rowing experience to people of all abilities. From when I arrived in 2017 to now, I’ve seen the club grow in numbers and quality across all squads and the club continues to develop year on year."

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