Hartpury has launched its first-ever competitive rowing club aimed at providing students with more opportunities to train and compete in a high-level environment.
The creation of the Hartpury University and Hartpury College Boat Club means students will now be able to represent the specialist institution in university events at the world-famous Henley Royal Regatta and Henley Women’s Regatta.
It will also allow university and college rowers at Hartpury to compete under one banner, rather than racing as two separate teams, which will encourage team bonding, enhance athletic development and provide a rare opportunity for top juniors to train and race with university athletes.
Ben Jackson, Head Coach of the Hartpury College Rowing Academy, said: “Sitting right at the heart of everything we do here is the commitment to providing our college and university students with the opportunity to be the best they can in whichever field they pursue.
“We’ve launched the Hartpury University and Hartpury College Boat Club to provide talented university and college athletes with more opportunities to compete at top competitions as part of a distinct Hartpury crew.”
Among the alumni to have come through the rowing programme at Hartpury – a national centre for British Rowing’s World Class Start programme – are Great Britain’s Olympic challengers, sisters Mathilda and Charlotte Hodgkins-Byrne, who both studied A-levels at Hartpury College.
In 2019, Hartpury College A-level and diploma students were crowned national champions following a series of stunning performances at the British Rowing Junior Championships in Nottingham.
Rowing students at Hartpury benefit from outstanding land-based training facilities, including a new £8.8 million Sports Academy, alongside water-based training at Gloucester Rowing Club’s £1.6million boathouse.
William King, Head Coach of the Hartpury University Rowing Academy, said: “We’re very excited about competing for the first time as Hartpury University and Hartpury College Boat Club once the Covid-19 restrictions have been lifted.
“Our decade-long partnership with Gloucester Rowing Club remains largely unchanged as they are acting as our host club, and we will continue to lead their junior development programme.
“Non-students accessing the world-class facilities and coaching through our status as a British Rowing World Class Start centre will be eligible to race for the new club.”
Student athletes, including those on the British Rowing World Class Start programme, are able complete the DiSE programme at Hartpury as long as they meet the relevant criteria.
The DiSE programme is a level 3 qualification that is designed for student athletes identified by their relevant national sports governing sports as having the realistic potential to achieve excellence.