Oxford University Lightweight Rowing Club

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Oxford University Lightweight Rowing Club
Image showing the rowing club's emblem
Location Wallingford, Oxford, United Kingdom
Home water River Thames
Founded 1972 (1972)
President Hannah Keenan [1]
Coaches Bodo Schulenburg
University University of Oxford
Affiliations British Rowing
Website www.oulrc.org
Henley Boat Races
Notable members
Paul Mattick

Oxford University Lightweight Rowing Club (OULRC) is the university rowing club for lightweight men at the University of Oxford which has the privilege of selecting crews to race against the Cambridge University Lightweight Rowing Club in the Henley Boat Races at the end of Hilary term. These races are usually held in late March each year.

Membership and Racing[edit]

Membership of OULRC is by competitive selection drawn solely from student members of the university.

OULRC commences the selection process in September prior to the beginning of Michaelmas term, recruiting from both undergraduate and postgraduate members of the university. By the end of Michaelmas, the squad is reduced to two trial eights which compete in a Trial Eights race at Henley-on-Thames over the course used for the race against Cambridge. From this squad the club selects a first crew, known as the Lightweight Blue Boat, and a reserve crew, known as Nephthys.

The Blue Boat goes on to race Cambridge. From 2000 until 2006 Nephthys also raced against a lightweight reserve crew from Cambridge, Granta. Since 2007, however, Cambridge has declined to field a Granta crew, and Nephthys has raced in the Tideway Head and other external races.

Nephthys derives its name from the Egyptian goddess of the same name who was claimed to be the sister of Isis. Isis is the name given to the heavyweight reserve crew, and is also the term used within the university for the reach of the Thames between Osney lock and Iffley lock on which the college crews row.

Although the Blue Boat does not compete in regattas after racing against Cambridge, OULRC does occasionally field crews in the Henley Royal Regatta, which often compete as Nephthys.

Those rowers selected for the Blue Boat and Nephthys become life members of OULRC.

The Blue Boat crew have the right to wear a distinctive uniform. This includes a cream cable sweater with two blue stripes around the neck and the club insignia embroidered in the centre of the chest. They also wear a blue and white broadly striped blazer with the club insignia on the chest pocket. This replaced a blue blazer with white piping and embroidery worn in the early years of the club. Nephthys members wear a white blazer with blue piping, with crossed blades and the word Nephthys on the chest pocket.

Organisation and History[edit]

The first Lightweight Boat Race was in 1975, and the first lightweight crew originally raced under the auspices of Oxford University Boat Club. OULRC was formed soon after.

The management of the club is in the hands of an elected committee composed of students, although the day to day running is mainly in the hands of the President, who is elected by Blue Boat and Nephthys members each year. Like all Oxford University clubs, it also has a senior member, who is a university don. Additionally, the club employs a head coach who is responsible for the training programme.

Along with OUBC, Oxford University Women's Boat Club and Oxford University Lightweight Women's Boat Club, OULRC is part of Oxford University Rowing Clubs which is the body that oversees all college rowing in Oxford.

After leaving the university, Blue Boat and Nephthys life members are eligible to join the OULRC Old Member Association. Life members of the club traditionally have no role in its affairs after going down, although they are active in supporting the club.

1987 Mutiny[edit]

In 1987, at the time of the OUBC Mutiny a similar dispute also arose in relation to the selection of the Lightweight Blue Boat. This dispute threatened the running of the 1987 race.

The President, David Whittaker, who rowed the previous year, had lost a selection race against another rower, Sean Sinclair. As President, Whittaker claimed the right to select the crew against the recommendations of the coach, and former OUBC Blue, Rob Clay. The crew, in turn, refused to row with Whittaker in the boat. The matter was finally resolved when an extraordinary meeting was called and life members from London travelled up to Oxford to elect Bob Macdonald as President.

Ironically, one of the American OUBC mutineers, Dan Lyons was called in to assist in coaching the 1987 crew after the original coach, Rob Clay, was called out of retirement to stroke Isis.

Facilities and Training[edit]

For much of its history, OULRC trained variously at Radley and at Godstowe, upstream from Oxford. This was necessary due to the congestion on the Isis, as well as the need for long stretches of river on which to do endurance training.

Since 2007 OULRC has been based at the Fleming Boat House at Wallingford alongside OUBC. The club also utilises the facilities at the university's Iffley Road Sports Centre.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "OURCs". Retrieved 30 May 2013. 

External links[edit]