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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 medallists Will Satch, Ben Hunt-Davis, Richard Lester and Malcolm Carmichael. The College has gained a world-class rowing reputation for its programme for boys and girls and a number of rowers are selected to represent Great Britain at international junior championships each year.

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 at least one of the senior boys' VIIIs compete every year. In 2021, two girl quads qualified to race at Henley Royal Regatta for the first time and the A Boat went on to win the Diamond Jubilee Challenge Cup for junior quadruple sculls. In 2022, 35 students qualified to represent Shiplake at Henley Royal Regatta, which is the most students from one school to have qualified for the regatta in its entire history. The boats that qualified were the Boys' 1st VIII, 2nd VIII and Quad and the Girls' Quad and VIII.

The College has extensive facilities with the newly-opened Davies Centre housing an excellent fleet of boats as well as large space for numerous ergometers and a weights room. In addition to Shiplake’s own facilities and training at Henley the boat club makes use of the Olympic rowing venue Dorney Lake a short distance away.

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. The boys mostly race in eights, although from time to time Shiplake also compete in smaller boats and the girls predominantly race in quads.

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 that September). 

Further information can be found on our rowing camps page

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 are eligible to received a discount of 10-50% of fees. The College Governors are committed to broadening access to the school and where appropriate scholarships may be supplemented by further means-tested 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

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.

The Shiplake Vikings Rowing Club is run independently but also based at Shiplake College and its members are from the local community. The Vikings share the College’s boats and equipment. Training often takes place on Sundays.

Shiplake Vikings Rowing Club welcomes new members. Further details are available at

2 Every 2 years, senior members of the Boat Club tour the west coast of America