Department of Sport

Performance Rowing


Performance Rowing




The university is located within easy reach of the River Trent and the National Watersports Centre, and a close partnership allows our students extensive access to the 2km buoyed course. Student athletes can also take advantage of the state-of-the-art training facilities at the £40 million David Ross Sports Village, including a 200-station fitness suite, High Performance Zone and Sports Injury Clinic. 

Our own boathouse situated on the banks of the River Trent provide a centre for training on a wide 9km stretch, and facilities to use ergos as a squad. Student athletes join a long history of success on the water; our alumni include Olympians Chris Bartley, Vicky Meyer-Laker, David Lemon, and Blue Boat rower George McKirdy.

Rowing at The University of Nottingham


Performance coaching

A successful rower himself, John Mckirdy joined Derby Rowing Club in 1975 and has competed at the prestigious Henley Royal Regatta on a number of occasions for Derby Rowing Club and Nottingham Union Rowing Club in both the Thames and Wyfold Challenge Cups, and in 1979 achieved a gold medal in a coxless pair at Nottingham International Regatta.

John was invited to coach at UoNBC in 2009, initially looking after the women’s senior squad, achieving numerous head and regatta wins, alongside gaining crew and sculling international medals at the South East Asian games, with 1 gold, 1 silver and two bronze medals.

Whilst coaching the lightweight men, they have achieved many medals at the EUSA regatta winning numerous gold medals in men’s Lightweight eights, and Coxless fours, quads and doubles with numerous minor medals. Most recently John notably coached a men’s lightweight coxless quad which gained representation in the prestigious EUSA Games winning silver.

Contact John Mckirdy



  • British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) events; Indoors, Small Boats Head, Fours and Eights Head, Regatta
  • European University Sports Association Games
  • HoRR and WeHoRR
  • Henley Women’s Regatta
  • Henley Royal Regatta

Performance facilities


  • Senior British Championships - Winners of the University Shield in M4- and M8+
  • Fours Head of the River - 2nd in Elite Lwt W4x, 4th in WIM1 4-, 3 top 100 men's crews with 4th in IM1 4- and in IM2 4+
  • Women's Eights Head of the River - 27th Overall with win in Intermediate University category
  • BUCS Fours and Eights Head - Silver in Lwt W4x, Gold in Lwt M4-, 4th in W4-, silver in Lwt W4-, bronze in Lwt M4x 
  • BUCS Regatta - Silver in Lwt M4-, Silver in Lwt W2x, gold Lwt W4-, gold in Lwt W4x, 4th in Lwt M2-

Performance training 

Athletes train for around 12 sessions per week with a combination of water and land based work, focused on a program that is balanced to the quality of athlete.

  • 2-3 weekly strength & conditioning sessions (60 minutes each)
  • 5-6 coached water sessions
  • 3-4 land based cardio sessions on ergos/wattbikes
  • 1 weekly club indoor circuit session 
  • 3 training camps across season with one preseason abroad, and 2 based at the NWSC


  • Chris Bartley: Olympic medallist (Silver Lwt 4- London 2012), 7 x World Championship medallist (2005, 2006, 2007, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2014), 2 x European Championship medallist (2014, 2016).
  • Olivia Whitlam: 2 x Olympic finalist (W2- Beijing 2008, W8+ London 2012), 2 x World Championship medallist (2007, 2010).
  • David Lemon: 2 x Henley Royal Winner (Wyfolds 1992, Ladies Plate 1997), 3 x World Championship Medallist (1994, 1995, 1997), Olympic finalist (Lwt 4- Atlanta 1996)
  • Vicky Meyer-Laker: Travelling spare (Rio 2016), 2 x World Championship medallist (2015), 1 x European Championship medallist (2012).
  • George McKirdy: Blue boat rower (Oxford, 2016), World University Rowing Championship medallist (2014), 3 x European University Championship medallist (2013, 2011, 2010)

Athlete profiles


Lucy Gillbanks

Studying: BSc Physiotherapy (School of Health Sciences)

Rowing background: Having started rowing at the age of 12 at Merchant Taylor's School Boat Club, Lucy has rowed for several clubs in the North West, including Northwich Rowing Club. 

Top achievements: 

Nottingham was my first and only choice due to the excellent course alongside the amazing facilities UoN Boat have access to. I knew this would be the perfect place to gain a top degree whilst working towards my dream of representing Team GB.






University of Nottingham Sport

David Ross Sports Village
University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

telephone: +44 (0)115 74 87000