The men’s squad at Oxford Brookes is without question the best university rowing program in Europe, and is pushing to become the best program in the world.
Head coach Henry Bailhache-Webb has engineered the men’s program’s continued rise to the top over the last 12 years. The program itself is designed to prepare athletes for the Senior team at the top end, and to work perfectly around a student athlete’s academic timetable – this balance of academia and rowing builds students with focus, drive, commitment and character.
BROOKES|Rowing has a long history of developing athletes to Henley-winning, U23 and Olympic standard – Rory Gibbs came to Brookes in 2012 from Millfield School, with barely 4 months of rowing experience and a 6:40 2km score. 7 years later:
Competing in the Team GB Men’s Olympic Four in Tokyo 2020 Squad, placing 4th place
5:53 2k ergo
Senior World Championship Bronze medal – 2019
Represented GB twice at U23 level – 2015 & 2016
1st at the Head of the River Race – 2016, 2018 & 2019
Won the Stewards’ Challenge Cup at HRR – 2019
Won the Ladies’ Challenge Plate at HRR – 2017 & 2018
Won the Temple Challenge Cup at HRR – 2016
Brookes is a proven centre for athlete development, despite the level of experience you may have when you arrive.
“Ever since I was at school, I always wanted to join Brookes. Watching the crews race at Henley Regatta made me see what an amazing programme it was. I joined Brookes in 2017 after I won Bronze at Junior Worlds in the 8+. I came to Brookes with the aim of stepping on with my rowing to hopefully become a U23 World Champion, to eventually make the Senior Team and to win Henley Royal Regatta. Since arriving at Brookes, after many tough sessions I have won the Temple Challenge Cup and become an U23 World Champion in the Mens 8+, both in 2019. Yes, the training is tough, but it shows that the hard work put in pays off in the end.
Training at Brookes has enabled my physiology to develop but mostly my mental strength – it is just a case of believing and wanting to get the most out of yourself. The environment is amazing. You just have to step into the gym to see what I mean – everyone working towards the same goal.”
“I chose Brookes because I knew the university and boat club were on an upward trajectory, and I wanted to be a part of that. The training and racing at Brookes is great – it’s a good feeling being on the start line knowing that you’ve got a good chance of winning no matter who you’re racing.
I have loved studying and living in Oxford, with the perfect balance of training, studying and socialising. But importantly – I’ve changed massively since coming to Brookes, both physically and mentally. I learnt to row at Northwich, but I learnt to race at Oxford Brookes”
“I came to Brookes with the ambition of stepping on with my rowing. In my first year, I watched that crew win the Temple in 2014, and saw first hand what it takes and what standard you need to be.
The size of the squad allows you to see what you need to do to become successful – I have never lost at BUCS Regatta, won the University pennant 4 times at BritChamps, won the Head of the River Race, won the 2016 Temple Challenge Cup and raced at the U23 World Championships. I don’t believe any other program in the world would have taken me from the standard I arrived at, to the standard I am now”
“I came to an open day at Oxford Brookes while I was choosing universities, and the squad atmosphere really drew me in – there’s nothing quite like doing a 30-min in the gym alongside your closest friends, pushing each other on.
Since coming to Oxford Brookes, I’ve become stronger, fitter, better. I’ve made friends for life, and achieved things I never could have anywhere else – winning the 2014 Temple Challenge Cup at HRR, the Head of the River Race, and never losing a race at BUCS regatta”
“I was at Henley Royal Regatta in 2014, when I saw the Brookes 1st VIII win the Temple – it was awesome to watch! And I thought to myself, ‘Yeah, I want to do that’.
I really enjoy my Computer Science degree, and the timetable works perfectly around training times. It has a process, it requires practice and skill – just like rowing. The best part of the rowing program for me are my teammates. Everyone has the same goal, and it pushes everyone to train even harder”
“At school, I switched sports from swimming to rowing – so when I was looking at universities with high-performance rowing and top-level Mechanical Engineering, it was very clear where I needed to go.
I love training at Brookes – it has pushed my ability alongside like-minded athletes in this fantastic squad atmosphere, to achieve a common goal. OBUBC has made me so much mentally tougher, and I’ve seen my physiology move on a significant amount. Coming from London, the city experience is very similar but you also get that university campus feel too.”
“I started rowing at Grosvenor RC, whilst studying for my undergraduate degree at the University of Chester – but it was more just a weekend activity for me. The opportunity to do post-graduate study at Oxford Brookes provided the perfect chance to really see how far I could take my rowing, whilst qualifying for a Masters in Business Management.
The squad is extremely welcoming to new students, internationals and post-grads, and the training environment is second to none”
“I decided that Brookes was the place for me after watching the Temple Challenge Cup and Ladies Plate crews at HRR in 2017. I joined in 2018 and got to witness first hand just how tough Brookes athletes throughout the squad really are. Surrounding yourself with such great athletes allows you to push yourself and improve your rowing.
Since being at Brookes I have improved all of my ergo scores significantly, improved my physiology, and have huge racing experience winning a number of BUCS medals and also winning a gold medal at the 2021 U23 European Championships. All of this is down to the training programme, facilities, team ethos and coaching at OBUBC.”
“After finishing my IB in Switzerland, I knew that Oxford Brookes was the best choice for me, given its history at Henley and the numerous athletes it has competing internationally each year.
I came into the squad as a complete unknown in the GB Rowing community, but the program and ethos that surrounds Brookes brought out my potential – in my first year, I earned a place in the 1st VIII in 2015, and selection for the GB team in the lightweight 4- winning a bronze medal at both the 2015 and 2016 U23 World Championships”
“I chose Brookes because it was a strong choice for the degree I wanted to study, and at the time was one of the strongest rowing universities in the UK. It is a great environment at Brookes – the training is hard, but you feel like you’re in it with everyone else. There’s a great mentality that transfers into great performances and results on the water.
I have no doubt that, as I got used to the programme at OBUBC, and began taking huge chunks off my ergo scores, that my time at Brookes paved the way for me to earn an Olympic gold medal”