Hannah Taylor

"I started coxing in 2014 after turning up at Fresher’s Fair looking to try something new - I’d never been very athletic and I’m not the typical build for a rower so coxing felt like a good fit. In my first year the extent of my achievement were two 14th place finishes at BUCS and race side by side at Henley Women’s Regatta (after I’d taken my 8 down the wrong shipping channel during training. The next year I coxed and coached the novice squad again picking up some BUCS medals in the process before switching the men’s squad for Henley Royal Regatta. We didn’t qualify but racing on the course and boating from the iconic blue and white boat tents gave me an idea of what could be achieved if I worked for it.

In 2016, I coxed the men’s squad from the start quickly being put with the men’s lightweight 8. We had a great season, sneaking a win in the Inter 8 event at BUCS Head before winning Gold again at BUCS Regatta. Moving towards Henley I was then in the Newcastle 8 in the Temple Challenge Cup, we qualified which was hugely satisfying having fallen just short the year before. Racing at Henley Royal Regatta was a fantastic experience and one that many rowers and coxes strive for and it definitely made all the early start and cold water sessions worth it! To finish the season I travelled to Serbia with the lightweights as a coach/team manager at the EUSA.

In my final year I again coxed the lightweights repeating the double gold from the year before but also winning a pennant at the Head of the River. After BUCS regatta I moved over to the women’s squad and coxed the girls academic eight to the final at Henley Women’s Regatta where we lost to Oxford Brooke’s. While losing is never fun it was nice to look back and see how far I’d come since my first time at Henley Women’s three years earlier when I had no idea what I was doing and spent the whole race trying (successfully) not to crash into the booms. I really enjoyed my time coxing at Newcastle especially being part of the team and working as a crew to improve. It was a little overwhelming at first but I’m glad I stuck with it - there’s nothing quite like sitting on the start line with crews on either side ready to race."