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Rowing is a popular sport in the UK, and is an especially integral part of life in Oxford and Cambridge. More people pick up rowing than any other sport during their time at Oxford. Merton College Boat Club offers all students (both graduate and undergraduate) a chance to participate in rowing regardless of ability or past experience. All you need is a healthy dose of enthusiasm!

Rowing at Merton

Rowing is an excellent full-body workout while being a relatively low-impact form of exercise. While MCBC occasionally recruits students who have done some rowing at school, most students join the boat club with no previous experience. Most training and racing is carried out in large, relatively stable eight-oared boats, although the club does have a range of smaller craft (including single sculls) which members are welcome to use.

The majority of our oarsmen and oarswomen join the club with no previous experience, and for many the sport is an excellent way to settle in and forge new friendships. Whether you intend to be a serious rower trying for a place in our 1st VIIIs, or someone just looking for a good time on the river with friends, MCBC has a place for you.


While fitness and technique are important in any competition, a good cox can make or break a race. The coxswain’s job is to motivate his or her crew, steer the boat and make critical decisions on the water. Merton College Boat Club is always looking for new enthusiastic coxes, and you don’t have to be tiny to do the job.


Oxford holds three major intercollegiate rowing events per year (once per term). Christ Church Regatta is a novice event held in Michaelmas where most students get their first taste of racing. In Hilary and Trinity, bumps racing is held at Torpids and Summer Eights respectively.


Life in MCBC is not all about rowing. There are plenty of opportunities for social events ranging from pizza nights in Holywell (which are usually accompanied by a bad cheesy film about rowing) to black-tie dinners after racing is done for the term.

Have a look at the Merton College Boat Club web site and youtube channel for more details.

Rowing colours from 1848