Our highly successful Novice program has a history of coaching complete beginners through to international level over the course of their time at the University of Bristol.

Starting with our taster week at the start of term, we run a 4 week Learn to Row programme which includes 1 water session, 1 circuits session, 1 erg technique session and 1 group activity per week.

Water sessions are held at Saltford Rowing Centre and most land training is held at Coombe Dingle Sports Complex. After the 4 week course participants are given the opportunity to trial for the UBBC Novice Squad or to compete on the regional circuit as a member of our partner club Bristol Ariel RC. Those who earn places in the Novice Squad will then spend the rest of the year training and competing for the university, before transitioning into our senior squads at the end of the year.

Novice Captains

Our program is run by our Novice captain, Hollie Saunders,who will be supported by Vice-Captains Annabel Ross and James Oldcorn.

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Annabel Ross

Novice Women's Vice-Captain

Annabel came to UBBC as a Novice herself and quickly threw herself into LTR and the novice year with enthusiasm in abundance. She spent much of the year working with former Novice Coach PJ, in quads and singles. She wants our new novice squad to enjoy the year as much as she has, celebrating their highs and supporting their lows.

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Hollie Saunders

Novice Captain

Hollie joined as a Novice in 2017 and quickly became UBBC's resident 'Tiny Tank'. She experienced the full benefits of the novice programme in the bows of the Development 4+. She ended her first senior year in the quarter-finals at HWR. As a self-proclaimed lover of Novs. She can't wait introduce new people to the sport and guide them through their novice journey.

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James Oldcorn

Novice Men's Vice-Captain

James is another member of the Novice class of 2018/19. He experienced a taste of gold at his first Head Race and this continued through the year including winning double gold at Peterborough Regatta. James wants to help the new novices through different trials and challenges, ensuring they push forwards to continue the huge successes of the Novice programme.


Alongside rowers, we also look to recruit coxes for UBBC. During the Learn To Row course, potential coxes will be rowing in the boat to develop an understanding of the stroke themselves, while also having discussions with senior coxes to develop calls for training and racing. Following the 4 week course, novice coxes will work with chosen novice crews for the year and be partnered with one of our senior coxes to provide support and feedback through meetings and analysis of races & recordings.

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Ophelia Morley

Coxing Captain 

Ophelia joined the cub as a novice cox in her first year. In her novice year she worked as part of the Development 4+ who won gold at BUCS Head and Bronze at BUCS Regatta. Last year she coxed the W8+ to the quarter-finals at Henley Women's regatta! She is looking forward to helping new coxes through this journey!

A few words from past Novices...

"Rowers are a breed unlike any other I had come across before and the opportunity to learn a new sport alongside people who have become friends for life made novice year unforgettable... rowing was hands down the best decision I made at university. I have had the best 3 years at university and that was definitely down to rowing. SIGN UP, YOU WILL NOT REGRET IT!!!"

- Alice Lovett, 5'10, EUSA W8+ Champion 2018

“Starting rowing/coxing was the one of the best decisions I’ve made. At first, the novice programme seemed daunting, however with the experience, motivation and laughter you get back, it is completely worth it. I would massively encourage anyone to take the leap and go for it! My first year was better than I could've imagined and that is definitely because of UBBC !!”

- Iwan Rees, 5'7, HWR Qualifier

“Learning to row at Bristol has given me lifelong friends and was so much fun. At first, it was physically tough considering my lack of sport previously, however if you’re looking for a challenge this is the sport for you. I’m going into third year and don’t know what I would do without rowing, it has been a major part of my university experience and would recommend this to anyone, whether you have a sport background or not!”

Emilia Crocker, 6'2, HWR Qualifier

"I’d say that if you are naturally competitive and you’re up for a challenge, then novice coxing is definitely the go to. This is super cringe - but I honestly can’t put into the words how exciting my first year of coxing has been. It‘s a wonderful opportunity and I would encourage anyone to go for it!"

- Ophelia Morley, 5'5, BUCS Regatta Bronze


To find out more about our Learn To Row program, get in touch with Hollie (hs17787@bristol.ac.uk) or Ophelia (om17039@bristol.ac.uk)

Want to get involved this year? Search "UBBC Learn to Row 2019" on Facebook and join our group.