#28 University of Leeds


5th October

The University 

Established in 1904, the University of Leeds is one of the largest higher education institutions in the UK. We are renowned globally for the quality of our teaching and research. The strength of our academic expertise combined with the breadth of disciplines we cover provides a wealth of opportunities and impacting the world both culturally and economically, whilst constantly evolving societal roles. The University strives to achieve academic excellence within an ethical framework informed by our values of integrity, equality and inclusion, community and professionalism. 

Leeds is ranked among the top 100 universities in the QS World University Rankings 2020.

The latest High Fliers report, The Graduate Market in 2019, has placed Leeds in the top 10 most targeted universities in the UK by graduate recruiters.

We pride ourselves on becoming the first Students' Union in the UK to be awarded Excellent status by the National Union of Students (NUS) as part of its Quality Students' Unions accreditation scheme. Ours was also the first students' union in the country to receive two gold standard awards for the Students’ Union Evaluation Initiative

The city of Leeds has one of the most diverse economies of all the UK's main employment centres and has seen the fastest rate of private-sector jobs growth of any UK city. Leeds is the cultural, financial and commercial heart of the West Yorkshire Urban Area, served by four universities, and has the fourth largest student population in the country and the country's fourth largest urban economy.

The Boat Club

Our aim at UOLBC is to be the best university boat club at delivering high-performance and participation programmes, simultaneously. We believe this is a mission that makes our club unique; as with all sports, there is the concern that the enjoyment element can be lost when coupled with gruelling training regimes and an expected competitive element. Our participation programme aims to prevent this by allowing our members to enjoy the sport at a lesser intensity with the opportunity to prioritise studying or other interests.

On the other hand, our performance results are improving every year, with club records set this year at the Head of the River, BUCS Regatta, Henley Women's Regatta and Henley Royal Regatta. Our innovative facilities and access to British Rowing coaching allowed for the elite among us to compete at the European University Championships in Stockholm, even proving triumphant against a double Olympic champion along the way.

In addition to this, we are strong believers in the power of sport to do two crucial things: empower young leaders and improve social mobility. We achieve this through our close partnership with RowUK. By sending volunteer students into inner city schools in Leeds to coach rowing, we provide our students with valuable leadership skills and increase participation in rowing for those of a lower socio-economic background. 

Entering our Centenary year as the largest mixed-gender sports society on campus, we consistently promote equal opportunities to both male and female athletes, empowering all of our athletes to take on leadership roles through our volunteering programmes. Subsequently, this has led to our members participating in multiple fundraisers for Leed’s Mind - a local Mental Health charity we, as rowers, have great admiration for. 


Our coaching team is led by Head of Rowing Dan Grant. Dan joined our programme less than 5 years ago, formerly a Coach Development Officer and Para-Rowing coach for Welsh Rowing. Now leading the coaching of our senior performance and novice performance squads, Dan has allowed for our reputation as a University Rowing Club to flourish.

Recently, we introduced a part-time paid senior coaching intern to the club. This role involves coaching both our senior performance squad, whilst acting as lead coach for our intermediate squad; a squad that welcomes those with previous rowing experience but requires no minimal commitment. This squad has proven to be immensely successful with regards to inclusivity, acting as a stepping stone from school rowing to performance. Offering 4 coaching scholarships that receive funding for CPD and mentoring from the university, scholars support our large novice programme with the help of seniors.

In addition, our talented athletes receive support from a nutritionist, a psychologist and coaching from regional British Rowing coach Matt Paul who offers the attention required for those competing at elite levels.

The club is also supported by the university through 2 full-time Strength & Conditioning coaches, interns and 2 full time Physiotherapists.

  • Last season 3 BUCS silver medals
  • 56th at HoRR
  • Qualified in 2 events at Henley Women’s Regatta
  • Quarterfinalist in Diamond Sculls at Henley Royal Regatta
  • Established the Yorkshire Social Rowing League
  • £1.1m Boathouse built 5 years ago on 4km of canal within Leeds, 10minute drive/15minute cycle from campus
  • A growing fleet of boats, focused on buying hudsons.
  • The Edge, our £12.5m sport and wellbeing facility
    • 250 station Technogym, cardiovascular and resistance machines, extensive free weight area, warm up area, stretching training equipment and specialist fitness equipment, 8-lane 25m pool & sauna.


“Coming from rowing as a junior, I'd decided to stop rowing and try a different sport, but the boat club at Leeds offered so many options and support that I couldn't say no! With social/casual rowing and high performance it was easy to try it all. It is inclusive and reliant on the commitment and hard work of the students, which pushes everyone to achieve their best. 2 years on and having captained the SW squad, I'm now training at Molesey BC with a huge support network from up north, which is an incredible bonus.”  

Ellie Davies, Senior Women’s Captain 18/19

“Having rowed for a number of years before university, I didn’t think I would get much more out of rowing. UOLBC has been the highlight of my university experience and has enabled me to explore the sport in a way I never had the chance to as a junior. The club is inclusive, welcoming, and has pushed me to achieve my best” 

Ella Murphy, Club Captain 19/20

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