|Oxford University Women's Boat Club|
|Home water||River Thames|
|University||University of Oxford|
Oxford University Women's Boat Club (OUWBC) is the rowing club for female rowers (and coxes of either sex) who are students at the University of Oxford. The club was founded in 1926 and is now based in Wallingford at the Fleming Boat House, along with OUBC, OUWLRC and OULRC.
The training season runs from September through to July, with the major event, the Women's Boat Race against Cambridge University Women's Boat Club (CUWBC), happening in March or April. Up until 2015 the Women's Boat Race had taken place over 2000m as part of the Henley Boat Races on the Henley Reach.
The original challenge between the Oxford and Cambridge University boat clubs was issued in 1829. As a result two men's eights raced on the river at Henley-on-Thames. In 1836 the race was moved to the Tideway in London, and it has remained there ever since. At this time rowing was not seen as an appropriate sport for a lady. However, towards the end of the century attitudes began to change.
The two universities caught onto the trend a few decades later and OUWBC was formed in May 1926. Following on from this the 'Ladies' Boat Race' was founded in 1927. The first races took place on The Isis in Oxford and took the form of a time and style contest, since the Principals of the women's colleges disapproved of racing. The OUWBC was disbanded for financial reasons in 1953 but re-formed in 1964. The races were held alternately on The Isis and The Cam and in 1975 a 2nd VIII race was added. In 1977 the 'Women's Boat Race' was invited to joint the men's lightweights at Henley and so the 'Henley Boat Races' were established. At this time, the women's reserve race crews were named 'Osiris' (Oxford) and 'Blondie' (Cambridge) to parallel the men's reserves 'Isis' and 'Goldie'. From 1977 to 2014 the Women's Boat Race continued to be held at Henley over 2000m (excluding 2013 where the race was moved to Dorney Lake due to flooding).
Following a sponsorship deal with Newton Investment Management, established shortly before the Women's Boat Race 2011, parent company BNY Mellon announced in February that they would be sponsoring both the men's and women's boat races from the 2013 race. This sponsorship was key in enabling the Women's Boat Race to move to the Tideway in 2015.
Since the 2012 race, Newton Investment Management has provided equal funding to OUWBC and CUWBC to enable the clubs to employ full time professional coaches and a support team to transition 'from a student-run club to a pre-elite team' on their road to the Tideway.
In 2015, the Women's Boat Race took place on the Championship Course between the University stones at Putney and Mortlake on 11 April at 4:50pm. For the first time it was televised on the BBC, drawing in an audience of 4.8 million viewers.
The Reserve boat, Osiris, raced the Cambridge reserve boat, Blondie, on 10 April over the same course. In 2016, this race will be moved to be on the same day as the Men's and Women's Blue Boat races.
Trailing begins for athletes in early September and although the pinnacle of the season is The Boat Race which takes place in March/April, the season runs through to the start of July. For most of the year the training is split between Oxford and Wallingford. With on land fitness training happening at various locations around Oxford, and water training happening out of the Fleming Boat House in Wallingford shared with OUBC, OULWRC and OULRC.
From the start of the season, training is focused on The Boat Race, although OUWBC do often compete in other races throughout this period as preparation. This varies from season to season however there are some fixed events in the calendar:
In December Trial Eights takes place. This is an opportunity for each of the four clubs (OUWBC, OUBC, CUWBC, CUBC) to race two of their own eights against each other. Traditionally, the coaches try to field two eights that are as equally matched as possible to emulate race day itself.
In January the crews usually leave Oxford for a short Training Camp.
Windrush is the OUWBC alumni association. It provides support to the Club and its current members, and helps former OUWBC oarswomen and coxes to keep in touch after leaving Oxford.