Officially formed in 1877, the Club’s distinctive palatinate strip has been synonymous with nationwide rowing success. The club was founded to represent the University instead of University College Boat Club and Hatfield College Boat Club. Palatinate – a shade of purple – is derived from the colour worn by the Prince Bishop of Durham’s armies. The Boat Club has always been a central part of the Durham University experience, helping many thousands of students to develop leadership and teamwork skills to take into their careers. As such, DUBC athletes are being increasingly sought after in an incredibly competitive jobs market.
The club won the British Universities Championship an unprecedented ten years in a row between 2004 and 2013 and are, without question, the outstanding undergraduate rowing programme in Britain. The club has won a number of medals at Henley Royal Regatta over the years, the last being in 2005 and regularly claims wins at Henley Women’s Regatta, most recently 2013. At the Head of the River Races the club has consistently been placed in the upper ranks of UK and International University crews. At the Men’s Head of the River Race the 1st VIII won the Ortner Shield (for Universities) in 2005 and finished 10th overall. 2008 was a successful year for DUBC at the Head of the River Race for both the women’s and men’s crews. The Women’s first VIII came 3rd overall while the men came in 6th improving the best ever position achieved by DUBC at the Men’s Head of the River Race. In 2010, the Women’s first 8 came 4th overall – probably the best every result given the competition present.
However, it is the contribution that Durham University Boat Club makes to British Rowing at international level that really sets Durham apart from most of our competitors. The Club has always, and continues to have, athletes competing at U23 World Championships, Senior World Championships and other International Competitions.
Our High Performance Programme is one of only eight in the country recognised and supported by the GB Rowing Team and funded through the National Lottery. With the support of British Rowing, the National Lottery, our alumni, the families of our current athletes and TASS, our programme continues to expand.
Our most famous names include Olympians James Clarke, Lou Reeve and Stephen Rowbotham but our illustrious list does not end there. Will Fletcher has raced at World Championships at Senior and U23 level. Recent alumni athletes to have competed at U23 level include Stewart Innes, Franz Imfeld, Charlotte Jackson, Angus Groom, William Warr, Callum McBrierty and Barney Stentiford as well as many others.
The beauty of Durham’s programme is that you do not necessarily need previous rowing experience to still have a chance of reaching the very highest of levels. In 1989 the DUBC Freshman Squad was established, and since then Durham’s reputation for taking novice athletes to International standard competitors has continued to grow. Senior international athletes, Steve Rowbotham, Naomi Hoogesteger and Emily Taylor had never got into a boat before they came as undergraduates to Durham and we know that more will follow in their footsteps. Our Fresher’s programme has very few rivals, with crews qualifying for Henley in 2011 and 2012, and the Boat Club provides a perfect platform for ambitious and driven individuals to strive to be the very best no matter what previous experience they have – we welcome novices and thrive on the opportunity we have to make our students the very best that they can be.