St Hilda's College Boat Club

Our top 10 reasons to row.

Fitness - what a lot of people don’t realise about rowing is that it gives you an excellent all-round workout, incorporating both strength-training and aerobic exercise. It doesn’t just use the arm muscles; in fact it uses a range of muscles, including the legs, back and core.

No experience required - most current members of SHCBC hadn’t rowed before they came to Oxford. If you enjoy sports, then rowing provides you with a great new opportunity; however, there is absolutely no need to have any previous sporting experience or particular fitness.

Socials – there are lots of these. We have termly post-regatta dinners, our annual Sirens Dinner and the college Sports Dinner. Crewdates happen frequently – these are always a good laugh and allow you to bond with your teammates while meeting members of other colleges’ boat clubs.

Friends – we are a really sociable group in the college. You’ll often find a Boat Club contingent in the college bar, or in Hall eating breakfast after a morning outing. A great thing about College rowing is that it creates a big group of friends across all the year groups, and across both the JCR and the MCR.

Regattas – every term there is an inter-college regatta at Oxford, and in Michaelmas it’s Christ Church Regatta, which is for novice rowers only. This means if you start rowing there is a very high chance you’ll be competing in your first term. Oxford regattas have the advantage of allowing rowers to take part in a big competition without having to be of Blues standard. What’s more, SHCBC has also been successful in external regattas – for example, in 2011 our women’s four won their event at Bedford.

Coxing opportunities – if you prefer mental exercise to physical exercise or just fancy trying something new, SHCBC offers you the chance to try coxing! Coxes play a huge role in the success of a boat, and a lot of satisfaction can be gained from coxing a crew. A cox sits at the stern of the boat and their role is to navigate the boat, steer, coordinate, keep pace, and motivate the crew. We would encourage anyone who thinks they may be interested in coxing to get in touch. Lots of coxes in Oxford start off by rowing but equally there are plenty of good coxes who haven’t rowed.

Teamwork skills – from a training point of view, you’ll find that being part of a group helps your motivation and allows you as an individual to get more out of the exercise. Aside from this you’ll develop important skills in how to work with others and get the best out of each other. In a boat of 8 people, timing, coordination and collective determination are very important!

A break from work – things get a bit stressful at Oxford sometimes. Rowing is an ideal way to let off some steam, and forget your worries for a while as you enjoy rowing along the Isis, breathing in the fresh air and having fun with your friends.

It’s a one-off opportunity – you won’t get the chance to do anything quite like this again. Oxford college rowing is unique, and you won’t often be in a situation where you can get out in a boat this cheaply and frequently. Get out and try it while you can.

Stash - getting to buy Hilda’s Boat Club kit is a definite perk, as it makes you look sporty and cool!

Our Focus


There are many reasons to row at St Hilda's, but what matters in the end is whether you enjoy it. That is our first and most important focus here at SHCBC


As the well known saying goes: the more you put in the more you get out. That is certainly true of rowing, not only in terms of competitions but also in terms of enjoyment, team spirit, friendships and personal rewards


For most rowers, the highlights of the year are Torpids and Summer Eights. These give not only the opportunity to put the year's hard work to the test, but also the opportunity for post-competition celebrations!


The Hildabeasts

With St Hilda's College being founded in 1893, the forming of a boat club followed shortly afterwards making Hilda's women some of the first to row in Oxford. In 1969 St Hilda's became the first all female crew to qualify for the annual Summer Eights races.

A myriad successes have been achieved over the decades, with the club moving up quickly in both Torpids and Summer Eights to secure top positions in the senior divisions, as well as being the training ground for many University 'Blues' rowers and Olympic athletes.

The Boat Club has now been host to both male and female rowers for the last ten years, and its successes have only continued in both arenas. The club is by far the largest club within college, with no fewer than 40 active members at any one time.

Hilda’s is a very fun and relaxed college and the boat club social calendar certainly reflects this. There are regular social events such as crew dates and post-race and formal dinners.


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