SCBC: Tell us about your SCBC past. How did you get into rowing and what are your favourite SCBC memories?
HARRY: My college dad was Tom Gibb, who I think was the Club Captain at the time. I’m pretty sure I had committed to novicing by the end family formal (shortly before we carried him back to his room). My 1st term as a senior garnered a spectacular set of Lents spoons in M3 – This was only partly redeemed by going up 3 into second division with M2 in Mays the same year, rowing the course 7 times and ending up only a dozen places behind M1.
From that point I rowed M2 for the rest of my time at SCBC (4 years in total!). In my final term I gave M1 my best shot, but seat racing through the locks put me in the 5th bow side seat and ended my SCBC blazer aspirations. Ironically, this was probably the best outcome for my rowing, as it gave me the motivation to keep rowing when I graduated!
SCBC: When you graduated, you continued rowing? How hard was the transition? What kept you going? Where are you rowing now?
HARRY: When I graduated I moved to Oxford to work in one of the Science Parks. Having decided that after 4 years of rowing I needed to get at least one vaguely notable result, I went down to City of Oxford Rowing Club (AKA CORC) that September. Without really knowing what I was doing I signed up to their ‘Tier 1’ squad, which aims to race at Henley Royal Regatta.
Transitioning from SCBC M2 to a squad that trains 4 days during the week and does a minimum 24k on the water both Saturday and Sunday was a pretty big step, as was a training season that lasts 9 months as opposed to three 8 week blocks.
The coaching was (and is) excellent (“I can only really coach the lowest common denominator, and right now that is you”) and 7 Months later when we beat 23 other crews to win IM3 4+s at Wallingford regatta, I guess some of it had stuck.
SCBC: This is your second year competing at the Henley Royal Regatta. What is special about Henley? Do you think Selwyn should continue it’s drive to qualify crews to the Regatta?
HARRY: It’s actually my 4th! And really, it is the chance to race at Henley that keeps my coming back – racing against the best club crews from around the world at probably the best organised rowing event in the world is fantastic. Having Pinsent umpire your first race with Redgrave in the starters tent is pretty cool as well!
For Selwyn, I think the HRR qualifying races are one of the best ways to see where your crew stands on the national stage. Even if you aren’t sure you will qualify, the chance to race down the historic HRR course is not to be missed!
SCBC: Tell us about your races this year? What are your goals for next season?
HARRY: We raced a lot this year – we did all the sweep tideway heads and put in a half decent 8s head performance (79th with a LOT of injuries – only down 14 places from the year before). It came together a bit better for regatta season with a win in the Open Club 4s event at Wallingford – 3 years on from my first win there! We were a second off a win at Nottingham City in IM1 4+ a couple of weeks later and after switching to the VIII we made the C final of the Championship 8s at Met Regatta – both notable achievements!
I’m the fittest I’ve ever been (2k PB a couple of months ago), next season we have a lot of returners and hopefully our good result at Henley this year will mean some good new comers – maybe a Friday next year?
SCBC: Any final words?
HARRY: Don’t be afraid to go down to your local club when you graduate! Rowing after university is great fun and who knows – we may end up on the Henley start line together!
SCBC: Thank you. We wish you all the best! Keep the Selwyn spirit high.