Rowing to Success

Georgia Rattigan (Q, 2009)

In most team sports athletes have distinct roles to play, be it forward, defence or goalkeeper. Unlike these sports, rowing requires every crewmate to perform the exact same motion at the exact same time repeatedly as you work together to move your boat along a stretch of water. It is for this reason that I love it. The teamwork required to win races is utterly different to that required for land-based sports – everyone is equal and must act as one synchronised unit.

Being on the taller side, I was theoretically built to perform well at the sport. However, rowing did not come naturally to me and I did not compete at a single race in my first year. As each season passed, I became more determined to improve. I was fortunate enough to be selected for our senior girls’ coxless quad, where we attempted to qualify for Henley Royal Regatta in 2017. Despite being unsuccessful, it was an incredible experience.

Following a gap year interrupted by the pandemic, I started at the University of Lancaster and joined the university boat club (LUBC). I managed to make the top four and earn a couple of wins in my first year, but my second year was plagued by a knee injury leaving me sidelined. On the bright side, I had been elected as Novice Women’s captain and was tasked with training up new athletes from beginners to race- winning competitors. I loved my time as captain and it greatly developed my passion and understanding for the sport. Entering my final year, I passed on the torch and returned to competition with an intense determination to get back into the first crew.

(Image above caption: Georgia with the College senior girls’ coxless quad in 2017)

Consistency was crucial to achieve my goal but training alongside my degree and a lack of permanent coaching meant this was a challenge. With a strong captain, remote coaching from an LUBC alumnus living in Austria, and hours of training on and off the water, I earned a seat in the top four.

Our crew aimed to qualify for the Frank V Harry Cup at Henley Women’s Regatta. LUBC had not sent a women’s crew to Henley for twelve years, so we wanted to make an impact. Not only did we qualify, we were finalists! Although we didn’t manage the final win, second place was far more than we had hoped for and we had smashed previous club records along the way.

Now that I am graduating, I can be sure that I finished on the highest note, full of pride (and surprise), with friends for life and a huge appreciation for how rowing has shaped me – from my first outing with College to my final race with Lancaster.

(Image above caption: Georgia (second from left) and the LUBC crew at Henley Women’s Regatta 2023)

(Image above caption: Georgia (second from left) and the LUBC crew at Henley Women’s Regatta 2023)