“Racks of white and yellow boats greeted me inside. There were big, eight-seated boats for the first men’s crew, slightly leaner boats for the women, and other boats of decreasing quality and size.”
The fact is, I really did row at Oxford. Between 1991 and 1993 (while I was researching my PhD dissertation as a Fulbright Scholar) I was a member of the Keble College Boat Club, and competed in the Women’s Second Eight and the Women’s First Eight. For a few weeks I was even in the Women’s Blue Boat Development Squad–but a combination of my academic obligations and my status as a non-matriculated student put the brakes on that plan! Rowing really did save my life during some pretty stressful years, when it would have been all too easy for me to stay in the library or my room and never go outside. In the boat club I got exercise, mental space, and the comradeship of some extraordinary women and men I still call friends more than two decades later. (KEEEEE-BULLLLLE)
Teresa Palmer, our Diana, has been in training for the rowing scenes in A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES, and we have been out and about scouting locations in Oxford. Rowing is a beautiful sport, and we can’t wait to bring it’s beauty and power to the screen!
It’s never too late to start rowing, by the way. Check your local area for rowing clubs and boat houses that offer lessons. It’s a fantastic, low-impact sport that improves cardiovascular function, muscle strength, balance–and teamwork.