Surbiton High School Boat Club has been encouraging pupils to engage with the sport of rowing since 2010 and has now built an enviable reputation as one of the leading rowing programmes for girls in the country. The main ethos of the Boat Club is centered around developing a lifelong passion for rowing. In a fun and enjoyable environment, the pupils develop an understanding of accountability to themselves, the crew and the club; whether training, racing at Local or National events or representing Great Britain.
Students can start rowing in Year 8 and continue through to Year 13. Over this six-year period, we develop their skills and physiology to meet whatever goals the athlete might set themselves.
|Our target with participation levels is to make participating as easy as possible. With so many activities on offer, it is important our students feel that sport is accessible without becoming too onerous. Minimise the clashes and maximise the fun!
As a whole-school initiative, tailor-made provision allows us to cater for the needs of the individual. Out multi skilled athletes mean that no two programs are the same.
|Girls can attend as many or as few sessions as they like with no pressure to hit performance targets. They will receive the same coaching and use of facilities as everyone else, with all the same opportunities should they choose to pursue a more competitive path.
Head of Rowing – Stewart Walker
Stewart Walker has lead the Surbiton High rowing programme since 2010 when we were just part of Molesey Boat Club. Since then, we have gained our own boathouse and grown into one of the School’s leading sports clubs. With squad size and achievements growing every year, Stewart continues to lead the club towards being one of the top performing school rowing programmes in the country.
The Coaching Team
The coaching team bring a wealth of invaluable knowledge and experience to the rowing programme. However, they are also actively involved in the wider sport of rowing; they sit on external rowing committees, help organise and run rowing regattas and head races, umpire events, help formulate the direction of girls rowing, push the agenda for equality at events, work closely with British Rowing on the future of GB junior sweep rowing, attend rowing seminars and conferences and some of them even still compete.
We have three full time, professional coaches focused solely on the development of our athletes and the Rowing Club. We have a further seven part time coaches and three members of the teaching staff assisting with the running of the club and training the squad. This team has been responsible for coaching numerous National titles and International representation, as well as many representing Great Britain themselves from Junior to Senior Level.
Facilities & Equipment
We row on one of the nicest stretches of water in the country – 7km of wide, flat, uninterrupted river running from Hampton Court to Teddington. We are completely self-sufficient at our boathouse with seven coaching launches and 46 fine racing boats. The School’s facilities include our own space for our fleet of ergos and Wattbikes, and a fully equipped strength and conditioning gym
|As our squad grows, so does its success. We have sent many athletes to compete internationally over the years including five girls earning their GB vest last summer and bringing gold medals home.
|Many students who come through our programme continue to row beyond school, with several of our alumni currently racing in the top boat at their university and representing Great Britain.
We take our athletes to a full range of competitions from local races, which accommodate all levels of ability, right up to National Schools’ Regatta, Henley Royal and GB trials. Athletes can race in all boat categories from 1x to 8+, and all events from Novice to Elite. We also arrange fixtures with other schools to broaden the rowers’ experience and competitive horizons.
Rowing at Surbiton High School first came into being in 1982 when four pupils formed a crew with the aim of racing. Amongst one of these early pioneers was Kim Thomas, who went on to represent Great Britain in the Women’s Eight at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. Later, Surbiton High Rowing became part of the Molesey Schools Rowing Association (MSRA) and lost its own identity; but after the demise of MSRA, Surbiton High School made the decision to maintain and develop rowing as a sport at School and set up its own rowing programme.
Mr Stewart Walker was appointed in 2010 with an open remit to develop a school rowing programme. We started with fewer than 20 pupils rowing and although we had access to some of Molesey Boat Club’s equipment for training and racing, we only owned one boat, ‘Blade Runner’, which is still in use today. In 2011, rowing went curricular, the Rowing Parents’ Club, ‘Blades’, was formed, and we acquired our first two new boats, paid for by the Parents’ Association. In 2013, we acquired a boathouse, which was officially opened by Andrew Triggs-Hodge. In the same year, the School provided funds to substantially increase the fleet of boats.
Since then, we have grown every year; increasing our membership, number of boats and oars, ergos and weights, and our achievements.