Women’s Squad

The Brookes Women’s squad has become one of the leading programs in the UK and Europe, becoming British and European University Champions in the Women’s Eight as well as winning the inaugural Island Challenge Cup at Henley Royal Regatta.

At Brookes the student athletes have the opportunity to row as part of a GB high performance program that is designed to work perfectly around academic commitments, with a unique atmosphere and ethos that helps put Brookes at the top of UK and World University Rowing standings.

Women’s Coach Hugo Gulliver joined Brookes at the start of the 2021-22 season. Since his arrival, the women’s squad has seen a meteoric rise in size and an extremely high standard in strength & depth – 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:

After a year with Brookes rowing my faith in the programmes ability to develop my strength and deepen my resilience is ever-growing. The palmares of the current women group is strengthening rapidly, but the work ethos here means we don’t rest on our laurels for long – our eyes are always forward. I find myself more excited for what we’re going to achieve in the coming season than for anything past.
Having only rowed for a couple of years at Oxford University, one of the things I had struggled with was a sense of belonging, particularly in such a historically elitist sport. Brookes has done a lot to challenge that for me. Sitting in a gym or a boat full of people from all kinds of backgrounds but with a common goal to be the best they can is one of the most simple but remarkable things about this team. Having complete faith in your teammates to push you and push for you can be an extremely powerful experience.
I never thought I’d be saying it, but I really would rather be a poly.

Martha Birtles

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”

Brookes Rowing was a massive draw for me during my university application process. There was no other university that had the depth, determination and drive that the Brookes women have displayed over the years. I have been a motivated rower since the age of thirteen but nowhere has pushed me as hard as Brookes has. Since arriving the attitude and commitment displayed by the older athletes has caused me to change my mentality and generated faith in myself that i can go a step further than I could have ever imagined. With Brookes being such a successful club, I take great pride racing in boats with such so much winning history. The feeling of sitting in the Brookes 1st VIII watching the rest of the competition in front of you as your crew cross the finish line first is phenomenal. Its impossible to fault the abundance of knowledge, experience and success the coaches have behind them and its an honour to get coached by them.

Grace Richards

Rhianna Sumpter

Being surrounded by high performing athletes allows me to develop both physically and mentally more than I ever thought I would. The best thing about Brookes is the team culture; each athlete has similar goals and understands what is required to achieve them; everyone is invested in each others success. I have made friends for life, that inspire me and have made this a totally unique experience. The Women’s squad is stronger than ever and I am hugely proud to be a part of it. The environment and coaching are a fundamental part of my experience and played an instrumental role in Brookes regaining the Island Challenge Cup

Rowing for Brookes has shaped my life over the last three years. When first joining, I struggled to gain traction with the training style. But, I felt so supported and motivated by my teammates. I remember being really inspired by the older girls who would give me words of encouragement and tell me to trust the process.
Since then, I have been fortunate enough to win Henley Women’s in the Academic VIII, come 3rd at WEHORR, beat Oxford and Cambridge during fixtures, come 6th at the first round of GB trials and race at the San Diego Crew Classic, in California. During my time at Brookes I have also raced in Germany and Belgium, the opportunities here are endless.
I love being part of Brookes due to the competitive team spirit, cohesion between the men’s and women’s squads, the effective coach-athlete relationships and the fact that we go to every race knowing we can win. I would recommend it to anyone. It involves a lot of hard work but so much fun too. Putting on your Brookes kit and racing surrounded by all your mates is a feeling I simply can’t compare anything to and I’m so grateful to be part of it.

Jenny Bates

Anna Bloomer

I came to Oxford Brookes after taking up rowing in my gap year. Although starting on the back foot, due to the nature of the training and quality of the coaching team, training in a supportive and motivating environment everyday has allowed me to become the best version of myself. The competitiveness and depth of the women’s squad allows us to push on the quality every session. I have since improved my 2k by 25 seconds, won a BUCS medal, HWR medal, came 3rd at WeHORR, raced in the semi-final at my first Henley Royal Regatta and made lifelong friendships and memories.

I first came to Brookes for a weekend back in December 2021 where immediately I was impressed by the high standard of coaching and the welcome from the current girls who I rowed with for the 2 days and this solidified my decision to join Oxford Brookes as a postgrad student in September 2022.
Having just come out of three years in the Irish squad, I needed a reset both physically and mentally. Brookes has helped rebuild my physiology on the ergo, strength in the gym and develop technically in the boat to make me a better rower. The team, both men and women, are always pushing one another in every session to get the best out of each other for that end goal of making every Brookes boat the fastest it can be and dominating WEHORR, Oxbridge fixtures, Ghent, BUCS, HWR and HRR. Racing at the San Diego Crew Classic in the 1st VIII was an honour, knowing that those around me were highly motivated to achieve the best result we could and having the support from the rest of the team back home. I can truly say that I feel a part of the Oxford Brookes family and made friends for life.

Claire Feerick

Arianna Forde

When I made my University choices the Brookes rowing programme played a big part in my decision making. The known success of the programme, the obvious drive of their female athletes at competitions was inspirational to me and made my decision making straightforward. After two years, I have learnt the essential requirements to be disciplined, resilient and committed to both my training and teammates in order to be successful.
The experience and commitment of the coaching team at Brookes Rowing has undoubtedly made me a better rower, promoting positivity and confidence towards what is expected of me and the rest group of very powerful women.
Success is a reward for hard work and provides the faith and drive to take our success to the next level with my teammates and by continuing to flourish in the phenomenal environment set up by the coaches.

After rowing in the Netherlands for four years, I was up for new surroundings and a new challenge and Brookes seemed like the perfect opportunity to mix high performance rowing with a Masters degree. Brookes has provided me with a different perspective to the sport. There is a huge group of talented and motivated athletes and it provides me with a constant drive to be bigger and better than yesterday. Besides performance, Brookes has also offered me a family. Moving abroad alone, to follow my masters started off a little scary, but my housemates and the team has made it feel like home.
Combined with the right resources and great coaching it has made the adventure at Brookes unforgettable, something I will benefit from for the rest of my life.

Orren Smeding

Brenna Randall

“After graduating from an American university I wanted to continue developing my rowing skills at an elite level while working towards a Master’s degree. I chose Brookes for its outstanding rowing reputation and strong academic record.
The coaching, facilities and training have all exceeded my expectations and the rowing program is extremely challenging and competitive but also supportive. I have enjoyed the fantastic team energy and the opportunity to train and compete with like minded athletes from around the world.”

It’s a privilege to be able to train with such a talented and successful group of girls. The motivation and discipline shown throughout the programme is a credit to the teams recent success. The ethos throughout the group really helps everyone push each other on to improve toward the next goal..
Coming from this elite environment and having experience of the Brookes training programme, has really helped shape my mindset, and made the transition to training with the GB Para team much easier. The resilience and motivation I have developed and continue to develop whilst training with Brookes has helped lead me to a successful undefeated 2022 racing season winning the World Cup, European championships and 2 Golds in my first Senior World Championships in the PR3 W2-and PR3 4+, along with breaking the world record in the PR3.

Frankie Allen

Maisie Gordon

Without doubt the Brookes women rowing squad has proven to be one of the strongest and fastest developing university teams presently. To just be apart of this group over the last three years, makes me immensely proud for all the talented friends & athletes I get to train and race alongside.
The strong driving ethos of the coaches and athletes throughout t the Brookes squad, is what continuously fuels my ambitions to strive to be stronger as an athlete and be the best I can be.
I am considerably thankful for all the vast opportunities and experiences Brookes rowing has been able to provide me. I believe the environment in the women squad was the key factor in preparing us for setting a course record and winning the Academic Eight, at Henley women’s Regatta, 2022.