Are you starting at KCL and want to get involved with KCLBC? Come along to our Freshers Barbecue to find out more – find our stall at the Freshers Fair to sign up for information, or see our Facebook Page for event details. Its a great opportunity to meet the current members, get out in a boat and enjoy a fun night out with the club after!

If you are new to rowing or just new to KCLBC, these pages should contain the information you need to make your way to the boat house, keep up to date with training and race schedules or simply make sense of everything your cox was shouting about on the water.

The best way to stay up-to-date with what’s going on at KCLBC is to sign up to our Facebook Page. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, let us know dropping us an email.

What’s on offer

Training runs throughout the week with sessions tailored to suit fresher teams, senior teams and whole squad fitness sessions. Whether you enjoy rowing to relax, want to get fit quick or you are committed to reaching the highest levels of competition, we have a comprehensive range of sessions on offer. Anyone with previous rowing or coxing experience should check out the seniors page and sign up for serious trials at the Freshers Fair. For anyone new to the sport, training is coordinated by the Fresher Captains under direction by the Senior Captains.

Water training

Takes place at our boat house on the banks of the Thames overlooking the finish line of the Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race. We are lucky enough to share the boat house with Tideway Scullers School which is home to many of the country’s top oarsmen including several Olympic medallists.

Facilities at the boat house include a fully kitted out gym, club room with bar and KCLBC’s privately owned fleet of boats including eights, fours and pairs.

Water training for novices usually takes place at the boat house at weekends and Wednesday afternoons; everyone who is interested in rowing is encouraged to attend as many training sessions as possible to ensure a good grasp of basic technique.


Run throughout the year at Guy’s Campus, circuits is a great opportunity to improve fitness whilst bringing together the men’s, women’s and freshers squads for group training. They start with a warm-up followed by a range of stations including body weight, core and anaerobic exercises. Be warned – these are tough sessions but the motivation that comes from training in a large group is massive and as such they are an excellent way to rapidly improve your fitness whilst getting to know the rest of the squad. More details will be given to you by your Fresher Captains.


KCLBC has expanded its ergo facilities and now has eight top of the range Concept 2 indoor rowing machines (ergos) located on the first floor of Boland House, Guy’s Campus. Those who are committed to excelling at the sport will quickly develop a love/hate relationship with these machines. For those who just want to improve their fitness, no other cardio machine comes close to exercising as many muscle groups simultaneously. Throughout the year there will be dedicated novice ergo sessions each week to teach you the best technique and help you get more out of your exercise. Your Fresher Captain will let you know the timing of these sessions.


It’s not all hard work; we go on regular pilgrimages to London’s finest student bars after training on Wednesdays and put on club meals at the boat house. Not to mention annual events to include Cambridge Tour, Club Cocktails, Christmas Dinner, Club Curry Night, AGM and the infamous pudding races.


Glossary (For any newbies)

BLADE Another name for an oar.
SPOON Painted part of the blade which goes in the water.
HANDLE Wooden bit of the blade which you hold on to.

SQUARED Blade perpendicular to the water.
FEATHERED Blade parallel to the water.
GATE Metal bit at the top of the swivel which holds the blade in place.
RIGGER Metal stays fixed to the side of the boat that carry the blade. Riggers let the boat itself be very narrow while having a wide leverage on the blade.

CATCH The part of the stroke where the blade is put into the water.
FINISH The part of the stroke where the blade is taken out of the water.
DRIVE The phase of the stroke during the draw when the legs are driving downward.
TAP DOWN When the rower pushes the handle down to lever the blade out of the water.
RECOVERY The part of the stroke where the rower moves up the slide for the next catch.
FRONTSTOPS Where you take the catch on a full slide stroke.
BACKSTOPS Where you take the finish, legs flat, sitting back.
SLIDE Each rower sits on a seat which moves on small wheels. These wheels run up and down the slide-runners. The slide is adjustable and there is one pair of runners for each rower.
SIT THE BOAT Blade feathered/flat on the water, holding the boat steady.
SPINNING Turning the boat around.
BACKING DOWN Doing a reverse stroke to go backwards.
INSIDE HAND The one nearest the gate (it does the squaring and feathering).
OUTSIDE HAND The one away from the gate, which does the pulling and striking down.
HALF SLIDE Taking the catch halfway to frontstops instead of at full slide. Also 1/4, 3/4.
BODY ROCK What you do with legs flat before you go up the slide during the recovery.
LIGHT PRESSURE Not pulling very hard.
FULL PRESSURE Pulling as hard as possible. Also FIRM PRESSURE.
HALF PRESSURE In between (theoretically). Also quarter-pressure or three-quarter.
RATING The number of strokes taken in a minute.
STROKE SIDE The left hand side of the boat when sitting in the cox’s seat. All those rowers.
BOW SIDE The right hand side of the boat from the cox’s seat, and those rowers.
STROKE (1) The person sitting nearest the cox, who sets the rhythm and rate.
STROKE (2) The repeating cycle of movements made by the rower and blade.
TAP IT :Do a light part-stroke to straighten the boat out.
ROW ON; Start paddling until told to stop.
EASY Stop rowing, as in EASY ALL or EASY OARS, EASY THERE. Blade off water.

HOLD IT UP:Blades squared in the water to slow or brake the boat.
HOLD IT HARD Shouted at top volume to avoid a crash: emergency stop.
Finally the most important term……
CATCHING A CRAB When a blade gets stuck in the water and the handle knocks the rower flat.