The current active membership is merely a fraction of CURC, with Alumni stretching back decades.
Being a member of CURC doesn’t end at graduation; the club has a strong contingency of members who have long since graced the water of the Taff, however form the backbone of our club and have provided many a legacy to our name.
The name “Cardiff University Rowing Club” originated in 1999 when Cardiff University became separated from the University of South Wales, attaining the right to award its own degrees to students. Before this date, the club was titled “University College Cardiff Rowing Club”, a joint organisation between the University of Wales College of Medicine and University of Wales Institute of Science and Technology. With the many evolutions of the university, a definite date of establishment is difficult to determine, with some accounts stating that the club made its debut in 1956. Before it became the club that we are all familiar with, CURC was previously based at Llandaff Rowing Club on the River Taff, where the members donned blue and green as club colours. In the wake of the University merger and the formation of Cardiff University as an independent institute, the club colours were altered to red, black and white, and the name to that which is featured on our kit. CURC training facilities moved further down the river from Llandaff Rowing Club to Channel View Watersports Centre in 2006, where CURC still train to this day, who provided a longer expanse of river and a larger amount of space for the fleet of boats.
A highlight of our racing season is the Welsh Boat Race versus Swansea University. Established 10 years ago in 2006, it falls in line with the Varsity sports competition between the universities and consists of 4 races, one for each squad. Alternately held on a 2000m stretch of our home river and Swansea’s River Tawe, Cardiff University have dominated the Senior Women’s race for an impressive 10 years running, and the Senior Men hold the majority of 6 wins against our rivals. Other notable successes for our Alumni include winning at Henley Women's Regatta, BUCS Regatta, Home Internationals Regatta, and many members being chosen to represent Wales and trial for GB.
CURC are currently the only Cardiff University sports team to produce an Olympic athlete; Pete Gardner. Gardner attended Cardiff between 1994 and 1997, earning a BSc in Exploration Geology and Earth Science whilst rowing for the university. After graduation, Gardiner began rowing for Great Britain for 6 years before achieving a seat in the Men’s Quadruple Sculling event in the 2004 Athens Olympics. The quad came 4th in their Heat, however were given a second chance with a repechage and fought their way to the B Final and came in 6th position. In the time since Athens, Gardner became CEO of the British Athletes Commission until 2010, when he began to work at Stryker, a medical technology company.
A notable aspect of being a rower is the intensity of the training. With 10-13 training sessions a week, the average rower is on the water almost every day, and the boats become an extension of themselves. Each boat has its own name and history, with “Sea Vixen” and “Sea Fury” being named by Fly Navy in 2008 and "Todd", one of our 8+'s, named after Novice rower Todd Burrows and “Mum”, our 4+ Bow-loader, named in remembrance of Dr. Jenny Bucknell. A final year Medicine undergraduate, Bucknell had earned the nickname of “Mum” to describe her caring personality that made her a pillar of the Women’s Squad. Before she sadly passed away in 2011, Jenny's final race was representing CURC in the A Boat for Women's Eights Head of the River in London, a strong performance that added to her many successes; winning the Welsh Boat Race, obtaining silver at BUCS Regatta and progressing to the quarter-finals at Henley Women's Regatta. Dr. Jenny Bucknell's name and legacy lives on with each new squad that takes "Mum" down the Taff and discovers their own love of the sport.
In 2009, the Novice Men's 8+ was renamed in remembrance of Todd Burrows, one of the keenest Novice Men the club had ever seen. Todd sadly passed away whilst travelling in Belgium in September 2008 just before he was due to start his Masters year in mechanical engineering. Todd was a well loved, lively and enthusiastic member of the Novice Men's squad. His enthusiasm lives on as his boat has been very well used over the last few years, regularly competing at BUCS Regatta and achieving many wins at the Welsh Boat Race with the Cardiff Novice Men.
If you used to row for CURC, we'd love to hear from you and find out more about the history of our club.
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