Not only is rowing a sport where both male and female participation is actively encouraged, it also one that can be started from scratch at any time; making it an ideal sport to take up at University.
This said Southampton University Boat Club forms an integral part of the Athletics Union, where men, women, senior and novice rowers can all take part. However this would be entirely impossible if it was not for their dedicated team of coaches and captains. What is more given rowing’s reputation for its intense schedule; these coaches spend hours and hours every week overseeing training sessions and preparing for competitions. Last week, one coach in particular was recognized for his outstanding commitment and dedication to both rowing within the university and the sport as a whole, winning the British Rowing Coach of the Year Award for Education Performance.
Mike Beresford has been coaching for SUBC since 1974. Originally involved with the men’s squad, he then moved to the women’s team in 1995, where he has been ever since. These 38 years of service alone are undoubtedly deserved of recognition, but this is just the beginning of Mike’s achievements. A medal-winning rower in his own right before he started coaching, he has competed as a part of coxed and coxless fours, as well as eight-man boats throughout his sporting career. As an international competitor he won a silver medal at the European championships and a gold at the Commonwealth games, although without a doubt competing for Great Britain at the 1960 Olympics in Rome will have been his true rowing career highlight.
Mike also has held countless records: including ones at Olympic, European and Commonwealth level, one of which stood unbeaten for 28 years. Similarly on a national level he regularly competed at the most prestigious British races – winning at The Head of The River Race on the Thames five out of nine times. Thus it is this kind of expertise that has been so fundamental in SUBC’s training over the years.
During his time at the club he has also overseen the training of the Batten sisters, Miriam and Guin, who both competed at international level, winning gold and silver medals respectively at the 1998 world championships and the Sydney 2000 Olympics. He continues to coach the senior women’s squad, seeking out this kind of potential for competition at national standard.
Given his wealth of experience and medals from prestigious national and international races it is unsurprising that Mike won his category at the awards, which took place on November 17th and where several other awards were presented – including ones for everything from best club performance to regional volunteering. Having just returned from the BUCS Bristol Head Race with a win for his women’s senior eight, it is clear that Mike continues to have what it takes to produce medal-winning rowers.
As well as senior racing, Novice participation is widely encouraged within SUBC and anyone interested should visit their website: