Women’s Squad


The Brookes Women’s squad gives the chance for student athletes to row as part of a High Performance Centre for women’s rowing, with a program that is designed to work perfectly around academic commitments. Rowing as part of the Brookes squad is challenging whilst enjoyable, with a unique atmosphere and ethos that puts Brookes at the top of UK and World University Rowing standings.

Head Women’s Coach Allan French joined Brookes in 2012, and the program has seen a meteoric rise in numbers and standard – with dedicated coaching and Olympic-level equipment, equal to the best women’s programs around the world.



There is a strong drive to help athletes achieve their utmost potential during their time at OBUBC – with the aim of winning at domestic and international level competitions, alongside preparing athletes to have the potential to be part of the Great Britain U23 and Senior teams.

Our women’s squad athletes have seen many international honours, with representation and medals at Olympic and World Championship level. Olivia Carnegie-Brown – Rio Olympic silver medallist – came through the Brookes system very recently, and attributes her time here to helping her achieve her Olympic aspirations:

Olivia Carnegie-Brown

Olympic silver medallist, W8+ - Rio 2016

“The atmosphere and winning mentality at Oxford Brookes brings us together and raises the level of performance.Brookes taught me how to race hard, and made me the dogged athlete I am today.
The development of the women’s squad has been outstanding – the ever-growing numbers of athletes raises the quality and determination amongst the girls, with the depth encouraging competition among the rowers for seats. The program just keeps getting stronger and faster”



The training at Brookes is intense and demanding, but a great camaraderie develops because everyone does it together. This then transfers to race days, when we know that we’re probably the best-prepared boat.
By the time I left Brookes, I had represented GB at U23’s, FISU and EUSA, medalling at all three. I’ve won BUCS in Championship 8’s and 4’s, won Women’s Henley and qualified for the Remenham Challenge Cup at HRR. The culmination of this is being selected for the Senior Women’s GB squad. None of this would have been achievable without the great environment at Brookes

Annie Withers

Senior World Cup medallist

Imogen Mackie

GB World Universities lightweight - ( stroke seat )

I chose Brookes because of the hugely motivating mentality of the squad. The atmosphere in the gym is both supportive and competitive, and it keeps you focused on your goals. I have made huge strides with my physiology since starting here.
After joining OBUBC, I’ve raced at the World University championships for GB, won Henley Women’s Regatta twice, as well as wins at BUCS and Women’s Head. The combination of the facilities, the atmosphere and the coaching pushes you further than you’d think possible



I’m a first year Sport & Exercise Science student at Oxford Brookes. I chose to come to Brookes not only because the course is one of the best in the country, but also because of the ever-growing success of the women’s program here.
It’s a really exciting time for the women here at Brookes. There was huge success last season, and I hope to be an active part in continuing the success of the boat club for many years to come”

Zoe Taylor

Reading Rowing Club, '16

Grace Macdonald

Double European university champion, W8+ - ( 6 seat )

As a junior at Henley Women’s in 2015, my final was just before Brookes won Senior 8’s. Watching how they raced, and their celebrations after their win really confirmed for me I’d made the right decision to be a part of that team. I joined a few months later and have loved every minute since.
After only a year with Brookes, I’ve won a bronze medal at Brit Champs, a pennant at WeHORR, two championship golds at BUCS, qualified for the Remenham at HRR and won at EUSA. These results just reinforce why I came to brookes – to win”



“Having learnt to row a year before I came to Brookes, I knew I’d be disadvantaged in experience compared to some of the other girls. The nature of Brookes’ program, the coaching and the attitude taken toward training has helped me to progress so quickly, and enabled me to become British and European University Champion in my first year at Brookes.
Everyone is given the chance to prove themselves – that’s what sets Brookes apart from other university teams”

Mirella McGee

Double European university champion, W8+ - ( 5 seat )

Susie Dear


learned to row at Oxford Brookes during my second year at university in 2012. The competitive but also supportive environment helped me progress quickly. Two and a half years later I represented GB, we became British and European University Champions, and finished the 2015 season winning Women’s Henley. 
My favourite part of Brookes rowing is the training atmosphere. Everyone trains together, and you see your team mates at their best and worst. This is what creates the comradery of the squad as a whole.
I have made friends for life and very proud of how far the women’s squad has developed since 2012.”



Brookes ticked a lot of the boxes for me – a fun university city to live in, combined with a top-level degree and of course a bit of rowing on the side… And as it’s the leading rowing university in the country, why wouldn’t I choose it? 
My experience of rowing before Brookes consisted of injury and watt bikes – never quite being strong enough or good enough. Training at Brookes has not only made me fitter and stronger, but has also boosted my confidence hugely. I feel very lucky to be a part of the women’s squad here – we train hard and there’s no-one I’d rather sit on the start line with

Sophia Heath

Double European university champion, W8+ - ( 7 seat )

Jessica Brown

Double European university champion, W8+ - ( 4 seat )

I came to Brookes from Tideway Scullers, having mainly competed in a single and sculling events. Since joining OBUBC last year, I’ve developed as a sweep athlete but also won some great events – gold at BUCS and EUSA were very special for me.
Training in the women’s group is really competitive, but we all contribute to each other’s success – it would be hard to train in another squad after being part of OBUBC, as the unique atmosphere here, coaching expertise and attention to detail are second to none. The program has made me mentally tougher, stronger and a more competitive athlete – I can’t wait to see what this season has in store”