We’re already 3 weeks into the new rowing season and all 4 rowing squads are up and running with fresh energy and optimism. Turn out at the annual sports fair was incredibly high, showcased by a total of 200 new rowers and novices attending our taster session held at the GUBC Boathouse.

From this initial group, each squad has developed and created their own identity within the club. Around 40 rowers are currently undertaking the senior training program; a very pleasing increase in total numbers of seniors from last year. In addition around novice 75 men and women are now in the first stage of the exciting journey in learning how to row and I’m delighted at how many of them have taken it like a duck to water.

Over the off season the coaching structure within the club was revamped, with Jonathan Fettis and Jonathan Cheyne being brought in to leading the novice women’s and men’s squad respectively. Fraser Quinn returns to the club to once again lead the senior women’s squad and Michael “Conan” McNaul is again charged with coaching the senior men’s squads. I’m delighted to have appointed these 4 coaches and am confident in their ability, experience and passion to lead their respective squads. This new season has also seen a greater emphasis placed on seniors giving back to the club by helping to coach the novices. So far it has been very satisfying to see how, regardless of experience, all seniors showing enthusiasm in coaching the novice rowers to aid their initial development in the sport.

The 12th of October saw our seniors compete in their first regatta of the season, Clyde Head. Both men’s and women’s first eights performed well to win their open eights categories, and Scotland international Emma McDonald started this season how she finished last year with a dominant win in women’s open single scull.

Both men’s and women’s first eights will now compete at the British Rowing Championships on the 18th and 19th of October. Commonwealth champions Emma McDonald and Rebecca Lightfoot will look to test themselves against the best once in again in their under 23 lightweight double scull. Finally Scotland international Paddy Murray, who graduated in the summer, competes in a composite lightweight quad and double with students from Edinburgh University.

In 2013 Glasgow University Boat Club sent a total of 4 students to compete at this prestigious regatta, so to have 18 current students representing the university in the 2014 edition is a very proud moment for the club, and an indication of the raised standard of rowing that is being developed. This is highlighted by the fact that 14 of these rowers and coxes all learned to row at Glasgow University Boat Club. We are extremely excited to see how we perform compared the best rowers in not just Britain, but the world, and I am sure that the experience will be one which will fuel both senior squads to great things this season.

Lastly the Boat Club Dinner is only a few weeks away, and I’m thrilled that 2014 Commonwealth boxing champion Charlie Flynn will be our guest speaker for the evening. I was lucky enough to be Head Women’s Coach for Scotland at the 2014 Commonwealth Rowing Championships and we were privileged to have Charlie speak to the Scotland Team on the Friday evening before the regatta. He spoke so passionately and with such energy about his own sport and winning gold for Scotland at a home Commonwealth Games, and I’m certain he will provide a hugely motivating and entertaining speech on the 1st November.

Andy Barton
Director of Rowing