Shiplake College occupies a beautiful rural setting on the banks of the River Thames. With its own stretch of water just two and a half miles upstream from the world-famous Henley Royal Regatta stretch, it is no surprise that the College has a thriving and successful Boat Club.

Shiplake is nationally renowned for rowing with current and former pupils representing Great Britain, including Olympic gold medallists Will Satch and Ben Hunt-Davis. The College is now working to develop a world-class rowing reputation. There are around 140 members in the Boat Club who compete throughout the season at both head races and regattas. Head races have a time trial format over distances of 4-6km. In the Summer Term, racing changes to the more exciting regatta style events with crews racing over a shorter distance but with up to six crews side by side. Highlights include the National Schools’ Regatta in May and the Henley Royal Regatta in July, where the senior 1st VIII competes every year.

The College has extensive facilities including numerous ergometers, a weights room and two Boat Houses containing an excellent fleet of boats. Olympic rowing venue Dorney Lake is a short distance away, and is often used for training in addition to Shiplake’s own facilities.

Boys and girls at Shiplake receive elite coaching and support in order to develop their own talents and help them realise their potential. In Year 9, the boys start off by rowing with two oars; known as sculling. The main aim for this year is to introduce the sport and teach the basics of rowing. After Year 9, the transition is made to sweep rowing with one oar. Most age groups race in eights, although from time to time Shiplake also compete in smaller boats. Girls predominantly race in quads, and each season are given an opportunity to qualify for the Henley Royal Regatta.

Rowing Camps

Shiplake College offers summer training camps for novice and improving rowers. Utilising the College’s excellent facilities, the week-long camps offer expert coaching and comprehensive tuition to ensure that all participants are able to significantly develop their skills and technique. Camps are open to boys and girls aged 13 to 18 (ie those due to be in Years 9 to 13 from September 2017). 

Further information can be found on our rowing camps page

Shiplake Vikings RC

Boys and Girls at Shiplake College predominantly row and compete for Shiplake College Boat Club. This includes all term-time head races and regattas, as well as high profile events which fall during the school holidays, such as the Henley Royal Regatta.

Many Shiplake pupils also choose to join the Shiplake Vikings Rowing Club, which is run independently but also based at the College boat house. The Vikings share the College’s boats and equipment. Training often takes place on Sundays, providing extra opportunities to get out on the river in addition to regular College commitments. A major purpose of the Vikings Club is to allow members to race in numerous regattas which take place in July and August, when the College itself is closed. These events allow rowers to race for enjoyment and provide an opportunity to try and pick up winning pots.

The Shiplake Vikings Rowing Club is very sociable, and our pupils are joined by members of the local community. The Club provides an alternative to the competitive Upper Thames, Henley and Leander Clubs based in Henley-on-Thames, with junior rowers from the local community always welcome to join. A small group of senior rowers who enjoy rowing casually are also members; there is little racing or serious training, but plenty of opportunities for an enjoyable paddle on the river.

Shiplake Vikings Rowing Club welcomes new members, and contacts for membership details are:

Senior Section: Ken Graham, 07887 643642 or email  

Junior Section: Laura Reineke, 07989 396210 or Bruce Gascoine, 07801 710211

Rowing Scholarships

The College is always looking to recruit promising male and female athletes to join the existing pool of exceptional Shiplake talent and form crews which can excel at the very highest level. Successful applicants receive a discount of 10% of fees. The College Governors are committed to broadening access to the school and where appropriate scholarships may be supplemented by further financial assistance.

Candidates will be expected to adopt a professional attitude towards their sport, in order to make the most of the opportunities which they are offered. In doing so, scholars will also become great role models for younger pupils in the College, and inspire their peers to reach similarly high standards in years to come.

Further details of how to apply are available on our Scholarships page, with specific information about Year 12 scholarships available here

2 Every 2 years, senior members of the Boat Club tour the west coast of America
I may be an Olympian and World Champion, but I will never forget my rowing journey started at Shiplake College
Will Satch - London 2012 Bronze Medalist