Sir David Tanner Visits the Saltford Boathouse

Last Monday UBBC were proud to welcome Sir David Tanner, GB Rowing High Performance Director and Bristol University Boat Club Alumnus, to the Saltford Boathouse. Sir David had returned to Bristol for the award of an Honorary Doctorate of Law from the University, and received a tour of the new Saltford Rowing Centre, noting it was “… a very big change!” since his days at the club many years ago. A number of current rowers who have been training in small boats over summer demonstrated their prowess in the singles as they practiced for the British Rowing Sculling Festival in August.

Club Captain, Caroline Welsh said, “Sir Tanner was keen to hear of the club’s performance goals for the coming season, and spoke of the importance of training hard through the cold winter months to achieve success come summer racing. It was great to hear first-hand examples of the incredible work-ethic of athletes such as Heather Stanning and Helen Glover, unbeatable as they were prepared to put in the hard work when others opted out”. Other members were excited to talk of the growth in the club over the last few years and how they look forward to the season ahead. Head Coach Cam Kennedy enjoyed the opportunity to discuss the club’s ambitious plans to find and nurture some of the country’s best athletes, “We have a strong pathway for rowers from our novice program to progress quickly in the sport, having 8 athletes invited to the recent Talent Confirmation Camp at Caversham is testament to the huge talent we have at our University and our increasing ability to identify and support that talent.”

A number of the student athletes remain in Bristol over summer, combining training with working summer jobs. As a result, the club will host a small-boat camp for some of our top athletes in August, and are getting ready to welcome back our senior rowers for preseason training in September. We’re looking forward to welcoming more students to Bristol this year who aspire to continue rowing while gaining a world-class degree.


Ex-Club Captain Dr Stephanie Harris presented Sir Tanner for the Doctor of Laws honoris causa, in a ceremony on Monday afternoon:

David’s story and success go to show that the passions and interests you develop at university can often shape and define your life even more than the subject you studied. I’m sure as you all sit here today, and reflect on your time at Bristol, the experiences you’ve had, friends you’ve made and the passions you have pursued are at the forefront of your minds, possibly more so than that 9am lecture on Microbiology. And who knows, maybe they too will go on to shape your career and inspire you to achieve great things.

For Dr. Harris’ full commemoration for Sir Tanner, click here.