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The Meteoric Rise

In just 25 years Oxford Brookes have established themselves as a perennial powerhouse in student rowing
PHOTOGRAPHY BENEDICT TUFNELL

In the world of university rowing, there are names and programmes that have stood the test of time – Oxford and Cambridge, Harry Parker, Dan Topolski, the University of Washington, Steve Gladstone. However, no programme has seen such a meteoric rise in just 25 years as Oxford Brookes University in the UK.

University rowing has seen a huge shift in the last 50 years. Throughout the 1900s, it was commonplace for a university crew to represent Great Britain or the United States at the Olympic Games, and more recently at Senior World Championships until the 1980s. This is due to the constructive, timetabled format of university training working around academic schedules, meaning student teams were often the fastest crew in the country, while international rowing was seen as more of an ‘amateur’ involvement. Since then, there has been a greater separation in standard between university crews and International programmes – with specific funding for international teams such as GB Rowing leading to professional athletic careers for some, and university programmes being labelled ‘Centres of Excellence’ instead.

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About Row360

Welcome to Row360, the world’s only global, independent rowing magazine. Row360 brings you features from around the world, profiling the best athletes, coaches, and others from the whole rowing community – Olympic, Paralympic, college, club, ocean, and more.