#College - University College London




The University 

University College London, founded in 1826, basks in its central-location of Bloomsbury, London and is ranked at #8 in the QS World University Rankings 2020. They are world leaders in research strength (1st- REF 2014), academic excellence and global impact and pride themselves on a broad-based option of hundreds of degrees; operating across the entire academic spectrum. UCL is consistently in the top 3 of graduate employability rankings of UK universities, providing immense career prospects for each of its graduates. 

UCL was the first university in England to welcome equal opportunity to women and students of any religion, catalysing its priority as an accepting, global university. It was also one of the two founding universities of the University of London. The centrality of UCL’s location makes it perfect for not only experiencing London’s bustling city life but being a campus university, it also has an innate strong sense of community that is rare at other London universities. There are over 250 societies and sports clubs on offer at UCL, meaning that there are plenty of ways to learn new skills and hobbies, make friends and discover the heart of London. 

The Boat Club

University College London Boat Club, founded in 1864, is one of the oldest, largest and most successful sports clubs at UCL. The club welcomes athletes of all backgrounds, levels and experiences; from those who’ve rowed before they could walk, to those who have never set foot near a boat before. Being a Tideway club, rowers get to experience having their training ground being the Thames. This gives them a competitive edge and home advantage when races are held in London and a pleasant surprise on (sometimes flatter) water elsewhere!  

The club made its debut as University College and Hospitals Boat Club at Henley Royal Regatta in 1933, before University College London started their own eponymous boat club in 1864. Since then the club has seen much success. Alex Davidson, having been President of UCLBC in 2009-10 and UL in 2010-11, rowed for Oxford in the 2012 Boat Race, was elected President of Oxford University Boat Club for the 2012/13 season and was selected for the GB eight at the U23 World Championships in 2012. 

Rob Williams won a silver medal at the London 2012 Olympic Games in the lightweight coxless four and Tim Foster MBE won gold in the GB four at the Sydney Olympics. The club has also seen various qualifications and medals in not only BUCS events, but Henley Royal Regatta and Henley Women’s Regatta over the past 5 years.


Head Rowing Coach, Chris Littlefair joined UCLBC in 2019 and has since gone on to develop both Novice and Senior programmes at both performance and more casual levels. Since qualifying as a coach, Chris has qualified boats for Henley Women’s Regatta and in his last post won over 30 events at various regattas. 

Alan Sherman, or ‘Woody’ as he is affectionately known by the rowers, has been crucial to the development of UCLBC’s cohort of novices. Woody coaches the Novice Men and is also an experienced cox at both national and international levels; having won events at Henley Royal Regatta, World Championships and most recently a bronze medal at the 2008 Paralympics. 

Recent Achievements

  • UCLBC were invited to partake in an international rowing competition in China in 2019 with other university rowing clubs such as Yale and Stanford. 

  • During the start of the coronavirus outbreak over the course of 30 days, 8 UCL students collectively rowed 4,948km to raise money for Masks for Heroes. 


  • Our boathouse is located in Chiswick and is part of the larger University of London boat house, easily accessible by tube, train and bike from UCL’s campus. 

  • We have a fleet of Hudson 4s and 8s, Filipi singles, doubles and quads, Stampfli 8s and other singles, doubles/pairs as well as 4 novice 8s, purely for the use of the novice squads.

  • Land training is completed at the campus university gym, Bloomsbury Fitness, which has an erg room filled with Concept 2 ergs and a weights floor where S&C takes place. 

  • Through the university, students have access to professional physiotherapy sessions and bursaries to ensure health and happiness throughout the season. 

  • During the season, training weekends and camps take place at Eton Dorney, letting each of the squads enjoy water other than the mighty Thames. 


“From having never rowed before I came to university to rowing and qualifying at HWR in my first year, I could not have asked for a friendlier, more challenging environment to learn to row and thrive in!”

- Alumni from 2018-2019 season.


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