Alumni Report

Rowing in London (Ben Thies)

I have moved to the motherland of rowing – the UK. I am currently studying a two-year Master of Public Administration at the London School of Economics and, of course, continue to row. Instead of boring you with an endless story, here is a little rundown of the pro’s and con’s of rowing in London.

The Pro’s:

People are incredibly experienced! Sitting in a boat with rowers from Cambridge, Oxford and Durham, amongst other rowing universities, I have definitely had a very steep learning curve in boat dynamics, racing and British rowing (and culture) overall.

The Tideway may be one of the busiest rowing rivers around, but this also means that it is not uncommon to see the GB U23 nationals, Oxbridge and other prime rowing clubs from the country on the water. Their boats sing.

The rowing community is huge! We share a boathouse with 17 other clubs, and there is always something going on.

The Con’s:

I have the choice between a 45 minute cycle ride or paying £4 for a single trip to the boathouse. Either sucks. Especially at 5:45am.

Rowing is expensive over here. From club membership, kit, race entries and training fees, they charge you for almost everything.

There are no pontoons on the Tideway – remember how every year before the Boat Race they show a documentary about how dirty the water is? I can officially confirm this, it’s disgusting. And of course, it gets mighty cold in the winter. No fun wearing flip-flops.

My club is terribly disorganized, but we are working on that issue.
Despite the con’s, I am truly enjoying rowing here in the UK. It is an amazing experience and I would not want to miss it. However, it has also taught me quite a few things about rowing at JUB. Consider yourselves lucky guys: you have amazing facilities, amazing training camps, amazing coaches and amazing support from your university. Make the best of it!

Wishing you all the best in the spring season and hopefully see you at the Hanse Boat Race.

Ben

Ps.: If you are considering a master’s at LSE, let me know! I will get you sorted with LSE RC.

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