History of Student Participation
From 1905 to 1931 competition rowing was confined to one Open Boys’ Four. The Echoes of June 1932 contains the first mention of the training of a senior and junior crew for the Head of the River. There were three crews in 1942 and five crews “were boated” in 1958. It was in the early 1960s that the popularity of rowing at Friends’ started to grow.
The comment in the 1962 Echoes was:
“The large increase in the number of boys wishing to row last season presented a problem of organisation for the boating and coaching of them, and it is evident that more facilities are Boys Eight 1978
required to meet the current popularity of rowing at the school.
“Whilst some of this popularity may be due to success in Head of the River races in recent years, it is doubtless, also, the delayed effect of a decision several years ago to use eight-oar shells, a decision which creates a perennial need for more rowers for selection of crews each year.”
In 1967 five fours and two eights competed in the Head of the River, 12 fours and an eight in 1975 and in the first full year of boys and girls rowing, 1981, there were 50 boys and 10 girls. In 1992 and 1993 the number of students rowing reached almost 100, with more girls than boys competing.