Hinksey Alumni

Rowing at a competitive level requires a big commitment from young people and there is always a concern that they might not be able to balance this with their academic work at school. Our view is that the discipline that comes from being part of a team also helps with personal organisation and focus on prioritisation of tasks that need to be completed. The overall result is a higher level of achievement and this is reflected in the academic success of many of our athletes.


Having been introduced to sculling by Hinksey Sculling School, I went on to row for University College London and subsequently Oxford University in the 2013, 2014 and 2015 Newton Women’s Boat Races. I am incredibly grateful to HSS for introducing me to a sport that has become a passion, equipping me with important life skills and prompting invaluable experiences. HSS’s support and encouragement during my recent rowing career has also been a great boost, and it is a pleasure to see the club continue to grow.


Nearly coming to the end of my eighth year of rowing, I realise how much it has shaped my life. From my first few sessions at the "Hinksey pond" where I refused to capsize (until months later when I laughed at someone else falling in and capsized myself), to competing at National Schools Regatta in the double, pair and quad, to sitting on the management committee as Captain of Boats in my last year at Hinksey, to being Women's Captain at Collingwood College Boat Club in Durham, I have Hinksey to thank for encouraging a very reluctant child to persevere. The photo shows me at stroke in the final of Hexham's novice eights 2014, which we won and I hope to repeat again this regatta season.


Hinksey taught me to scull aged 11, instilling a passion for rowing which has stayed with me and been a constant source of enjoyment ever since. I went on to row with Headington School, University of London, Wallingford and most recently Oxford University. During this time I have won Women's Henley twice and rowed for Oxford in the 2015 women's reserve race. I am so grateful to Hinksey for giving me such a great start, and for helping me to find a sport which has changed my life.


I first started sculling at Hinksey when I was about 10 where I went on to win Hinksey’s first ever national medal in a J14 quad. Following some similar results in quads and fours, I obtained a sports scholarship to St. Edwards, Oxford for 6th form. During my years there, I played for the 1st XV and rowed in the 1st VIII, captaining the boat in my final year. I’m now studying at Oxford Brookes University, with my rowing taking me all over the country and Europe. I’ve competed at GB trials and Henley Royal Regatta multiple times, in the Princess Elizabeth and Temple Challenge Cup, and will be competing this year (2016) in the Ladies Plate. I’m currently coaching St. Edwards and St. Hughes College, Oxford.  I'll always be grateful to Hinksey for introducing me to rowing and supporting me over the years.


Hinksey was an incredible place to start to learn to row. I not only enjoyed my time at Hinksey but it also gave me the critical skills to take my rowing to a higher level and continues to help me in my day-to-day training and more importantly, racing. 


Thomas did his first ever sculling with HSS on the pond in Hinksey Park with John Broadhurst looking on.  At the time he was a pupil at nearby St Ebbe’s primary school.   He moved on to the Dragon School where coach Michael Righton developed his taste for competitive sculling; then on to Abingdon School, where things started to get serious.  After breaking his shoulder on the rugby field, Thomas decided to put all his sporting energy into rowing.  Lucky to be part of a highly motivated 8 (most of whom are still rowing with US or UK universities), under coach Athol Hundermark, they ended up winning the Head of the River, National Schools and the Princess Elizabeth Challenge Cup at Henley (getting to keep his blade, now painted with the names of the crew, to mark their achievement).   The following summer, many of that eight hastily reconvened, with some other Abingdon rowing alumni, to compete in the Thames Challenge Club at Henley, which they won (somewhat against the odds!).  After winning a junior indoor rowing championship as a teenager, Thomas had attracted the attention of Ivy League university rowing coaches in the US and made the big decision to go to university at Yale. He had been recruited by a legendary coach Steve Gladstone, new to Yale and charged with transforming their weak performance; Gladstone has a talent for recruiting rowers from all over the world. Training took a big step up, and last year Yale won the Ivy League championships (Easter Sprints) for the first time in 32 years, and the 150th Yale-Harvard boat-race, after decades of Harvard dominance.  But best of all for Thomas was Yale winning the Ladies Plate at Henley (Thomas’s third Henley medal).  This summer Thomas graduates with a degree in Economics and Maths.  He will return to the UK and row with the GB U23 squad, hoping to make either their 8 or their 4 for the U23 World Champs in Rotterdam in August. After that he will have to make another big decision – hang up his blades and get a job, or try to attract the attention of the GB senior squad for the final step up the rowing ladder. Either way, that first paddle in Hinskey Park started Thomas on something that ended up transforming his student years and beyond.


We also intend to use this section of the site to record our thanks to all those who have made a major contribution to the success of the club since 1998.


It is was with great sadness that we reported Noel’s death in the John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford on December 10th December 2008. Noel worked with HSS as our top line Ergometer coach until shortly before his untimely death.  He quietly, but insistently, set about explaining to us just how important the Ergometer is to any athlete wishing to achieve any goal no matter to what level. This from a man, who, late in life, came to the sport, took it by the scruff of the neck and then the world by storm.

1995 – 2000, Noel took part In 11 Internationals and won 10 including 5 UK, 3 European and 2 World Championships

Although Noel's indoor racing career only spanned five years, in that time he took the Men's 60+ Hwt category on by a hop, step and a jump. His British record of 6:31.4 set in 1999 was a full 7.2 seconds quicker than anybody else had gone at that point and it took until 2004 for the USA's Paul Hendershott to break Noel's time of 6:31.4 on a world level. Noel retired from racing in 2000, shortly after winning his second world title, and established the Millennium Cup, awarded at every British Indoor Rowing Championships to every rower over the age of 50 whose time is the best when compared to the world record.

February 1999, Noel Frost set 2000, 5000 and 10,000 Meter World Records in Dry Rowing

2000 held 1999-2004, 5000 held 1999-2006, 10,000 held 1999-2008, (Twenty-one years in Total)

Noel was elected to the Concept 2 HALL of FAME in 2004 and stands forever alongside such local champion rowing athletes as Sean Morris, Steven Redgrave and Matthew Pinsent.

Hinksey Sculling School runs the South of England Indoor Rowing Championships annually in February. Last year Noel presented the prizes to many junior athletes from the region. He very generously presented us with a silver cup to present as we saw fit at the Championships.  “The Noel Frost Memorial Trophy” for the Victor Ludorum will be presented this year for the first time. Noel, remotely, trained people of all ages the world over. Few individuals will make such a valuable contribution to a club as Noel has to HSS. He will be sorely missed but his legacy is a structure of land based training within HSS that he surely would be proud of.

Noel you will not be forgotten