UoNBC, founded in 1892, is a highly popular society within the University well known for its tough training regime and lively socials. The club is renowned for its gold blades and provides comprehensive access to the rowing world, from those who have never rowed before to those aiming for the next Olympics.  

John McKirdy


Head Coach & Senior Women’s Coach

John has been involved in the sport for over 40 years and brings to the women’s squad a wealth of knowledge and experience. A successful rower himself, John joined Derby Rowing Club in 1975 and went from strength to strength. He competed at the prestigious Henley Royal Regatta on a number of occasions for Derby Rowing Club and Nottingham Union Rowing Club in both the Thames and Wyfold Challenge Cups, and in 1979 achieved a gold medal in a coxless pair at Nottingham International Regatta.

In 1986 John took a break from the sport to focus on his family. However, when his son an took interest in the sport in 2004, John found himself back at Derby Rowing Club and was soon elected Club Captain, a role he held for 3 years. He then took some time out to recover from a serious back injury

John was invited to coach at UoNBC in 2009, initially looking after the women’s senior squad, achieving numerous head and regatta wins, along side gaining crew and sculling international medals at the South East Asian games, with 1 gold, 1 silver and two bronze medals.

Whilst coaching the lightweight men, they have over the years achieved many medals at the EUSA regatta winning numerous gold medals in men’s Lightweight eights, and Coxless fours, quads, and doubles with numerous minor medals. Most recently he notably coached a men’s lightweight coxless quad which gained representation in newly formed the prestigious EUSA Games winning a silver medal.

His position of Head Coach was taken on in 2014, he immediately set up an impressive program for both the Senior Men and Senior Women’s squads which has already seen an impressive positive turn in results, over all levels.

This year the women’s eight gaining 13th overall in the WEHORR , with wins among others at Nottingham City, Metropolitan Regatta, and finalists at Women’s Henley.The men’s squad have excelled this winning in pairs & fours at Metropolitan, Reading, and Marlow regattas.

He is renowned for his ability to create and maintain a positive and successful training environment, throughout the club and promotes integration of the squads as often as possible to cement this. The rise in our home-grown talent enhances this, John’s belief is simple, anyone can join UoNBC and with the right attitude and commitment can become a winner.

This seasons targets are uncomplicated as always, to improve on last years results and further enhance UoNBC in the world of University rowing. .

David O'Sullivan

Senior Men’s Lead Coach

David O’Sullivan rowed at an elite level with Derby Rowing Club before moving to coaching within the club environment. He has successfully coached men, women, and Juniors at all levels from Novice to Elite. This has included developing athletes to progress to winning at the National Championships; including record breaking performances, and National selection in the Junior single, and finals in Senior Events at Women’s Henley Regatta.

Crews coached most recently have regularly qualified, or pre qualified for HRR and Henley Women’s Regattas. In 2015 the University Men achieved wins in pairs and fours in at Nottingham, The Metropolitan, Reading, Marlow regattas.

David is supported at weekends and during the summer by Tim Brearley. Tim continues to row as a Master with wins at Henley and the World Masters. He has coached jointly with David for a number of years sharing the same successes.

Tim Brearley

Tim started rowing at Derby Rowing Club at the age of 15, reaching Elite level a few years later. After taking a break from the sport for work and family life, he returning to rowing in 2002 as a Master, but soon became interested in coaching.

Since then Tim has been involved in coaching crews from Junior level, through to Senior crews who have competed at Henley Women's Regatta, HRR and won at The Metropolitan, Reading and Marlow regattas. Tim is still an active oarsman and has recorded success at Henley Masters and the World Masters.

Our boathouse gym has ergos, dynamic ergos, static bikes, weights, and a core/stretching area.  We also use the campus facilities, primarily the Jubilee Sports Centre which has a Strength and Conditioning room which the club can exclusively use.  As a UoN Sports member you will have unlimited access to all University facilities including the Nightingale Field Sports Centre and Swimming Pool.  This also gives you access to a wide range of classes such as Yoga and physiotherapy services.  We are also looking forward to the opening of the new £40m David Ross Sports Village in 2016.

The boat house is ideally located with access to the River Trent, as well as the national watersports centre at Holme Pierrepoint.  A high quality fleet of boats along with fabulous facilities ensures that UoNBC’s oarsmen have great opportunities to succeed.


University of Nottingham Boat Club
Trentside North