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Sport at Roehampton

by Maddie Lukes
08 January 2015

Maddie

When I came to Roehampton, I wasn’t all that interested in sport. But a friend of mine had joined the rowing team in Warwick and this was fresh in my mind when I saw the R.U.R.C posters at Freshers’ Fair. I had been on a rowing machine before, I enjoyed swimming, and I hated (still hate) ball games - this seemed like the perfect new sport for my new life at Roehampton! I signed up, and a few days later went down to the boathouse in Barnes to meet the team.

Little did I know that this was the best decision I would make at Roehampton. The team were welcoming and friendly, the socials were great, and the sport itself was rewarding. When the time came to pay the membership fee, I had no doubt that this was something I would happily continue all year. The training sessions were first thing in the morning, so they didn’t take up any extra time during the day - perfect for a busy schedule. I had never been a morning person so I thought waking up before dawn would be a struggle, but actually it was surprisingly easy. The promise of a totally flat and misty river, sleepy early morning cuddles with my team mates and the slow creak and plop of the oars as we paddled through London was enough to tempt me down week after week. My love of rowing led me to become social secretary in my second year, and Club Captain in my third - not only good CV fodder, but also an enjoyable way to practise future workplace skills.

As corny as it sounds, my team have become my family. I found I didn’t have much in common with my first year flat mates, so being able to join a large group of like-minded people was such a relief, and an opportunity I am so thankful for. Through the team I met many of my best friends, as well as my lovely boyfriend. They completely changed who I am as a person. I now thoroughly enjoy exercising and staying healthy, and I have saved hundreds of pounds in transport costs having discovered a love for cycling!

It also turned out that a lot of old friends had joined their university rowing clubs, so meeting up with them at various races and events around the country has been an unexpected and delightful perk, and has resulted in me strengthening relationships with so many people I would have otherwise never seen again. I can’t imagine what my university experience would have been like had I not joined the Roehampton University Rowing Club, and I would strongly recommend to all Roehampton Students that they join a team or society during their time here - you never know who you might meet!

Maddie

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