Rowing News

You can also find us on Facebook at The Canterbury Pilgrims Boat Club page

News from 2017
World Rowing Cup II

The Men's eight came third with a time of 05:25.970,  at Poznan on Sunday behind Germany (who set a new record of 05:18.680) and New Zealand. The GB crew were without Tom who was substituted following an Emergency Operation to remove his appendix.

Britain's European National Team Announced

This sees Tom Ransley (MR 1999-2004) securing his seat in the  Eight.

For more details on the crews -

Rowing World Cup

The GB headed to Belgrade (5-7th May) to compete in the rowing world cup, part of this team and ex King's pupil was Tom Ransley (MR 1999-2004) in the 5 seat of the Eight. The Eight gained a silver medal just behind the Dutch team by a narrow 1 second.

For more details on the results -

Senior & Under 23 GB trails

Helena Barton (Durham University) competed in a pair at Senior and Under 23 GB Trail in April, coming 13th/ 15th overall and 1st for Under 20s. After her performance in the pair shehas been invited to attend 'the follow on crew formation' camp.

 News from 2016

Ex King's School Canterbury Pupil, Alex Holt took part with four other women in the North Atlantic Crossing in the summer of 2016.

These five women made history, setting a number of world firsts and world records with this crossing.

To read more information on they fantastic achievements - click here

To see their epic journey - click here

Alex Holt and her crew mates journey to achieving the North Altantic Crossing in 2016 

 Announcements in 2016

Frances Houghton announces her retirement from rowing, after winning three olympic medals and appearing in five games, as well as four World Championship titles.

“I have been fortunate to row with so many incredible people throughout my career, with whom I share many great memories and they all made the hard work worth every moment."

To see highlights from Frances' rowing career - click here

Frances attending the KSCBC rowing Dinner in 2016

 World Rowing Championships 2015

Tom Ransley (MR 1999-2004) won Bronze in the 4- whilst Victoria Meyer-Laker (WL 2001-06) in the Womens Eight finished 4th. Both crews qualified for next years Olympics in Rio.

 Frances Houghton (WL 1993-98) in the Womens Quad could only finish 2nd in the B final (8th overall) and will need to qualify at next years Lucerne Regatta.

GB Rowing Events 2015 

At the European Rowing Championships at Poznan Poland, on 29 - 31 May 2015 Tom Ransley (MR 1999-2004) won gold in The Mens Four. Unfortunately Frances Houghton (WL 1993-98) could only make The B final of the Womens Single Skulls finishing 4th.

World Rowing Championships 2014

 Tom Ransley (MR 1999-2004) rowing at the World Rowing Championships in the Mens Heavyweight 8+ beat Germany in 2nd place and Poland in 3rd to win gold in a time of 5.24.11. This keeps the GB 8+ as reigning World Champions.


 GB Rowing Events 

After an exciting few days racing at this season’s final world cup at Lucerne we saw a number of OKS do well in GB crews.

The GB men’s eight won a bronze in the final with Tom Ransley (MR 1999-2004) which was good going for a crew that had to bring in Moh Sbihi as sub at the last minute.

Victoria Meyer-Laker (WL 2001-06) and her women’s quad did well and won their B final coming 7th overall. This crew was coached by Nick Strange (MT 1979-1984). Sadly they couldn’t replicate the success of the previous weekend at Henley.


Henley Royal Regatta 2014

Massive congratulations to Tom Ransley (MR 1999-2004) for winning the top event, The Grand Challenge Cup, in style in the GB National Heavyweight Rowing VIII, rowing under Leander Club and University of London colours, beating Club France, the French National VIII, by one and a half lengths at Henley Regatta on Sunday, 6th July.

Hearty congratulations also to Victoria Meyer-Laker (WL 2001-06)who won The Princess Grace Challenge Cup for Women's Quadruple Sculls, in the GB National Quad competing as Leander Club and Gloucester Rowing Club, winning the final from Gloucester RC and Northwich RC by a convincing three and a quarter lengths. This quad was coached by Nick Strange (MT 1979-1984) in his capacity as GB Women’s Quad coach.

There was also success for James Rudkin of Newcastle University ‘A’ over Harvard University by three and half lengths in The Prince Albert Challenge Cup for men's coxed fours. James is a former junior Pilgrim and son of OKS/ Pilgrim Andrew Rudkin (WL 1972-1977) himself a multiple Henley winner in his day. Definitely a case of ‘like father like son’. Best of luck to James in what looks set to be a spectacular rowing career.

Frances Houghton (WL 1993-98) was not racing at Henley this year due to injury; but is now back in training and we look forward to seeing her in action again in the women’s double sculls at the World Championships in Amsterdam, hopefully contesting the finals, on 30th and 31st August.

Tom, Fran, Vicki and Nick constitute the largest number of members from any one school in the current National Squad and this is believed to be a record.

Sadly the School VIII didn’t qualify for The Princess Elizabeth Cup for school boy eights this year. Although a much improved crew on last year there were a larger number of entries this time. They did well in Qualifying with a creditable time however there was stiff competition, some questionable pre-qualifiers and failed to make the cut. On a positive note half the crew are still only J16s. They are shaping up well and earlier in the year won gold at the Junior Inter Regional Regatta. Added to this Harry Best- Shaw and Galvin Brady remain in the senior squad with two years 1st VIII rowing experience under their belts. The prospects continue to improve.



The trials due to take place at Boston Lincs on Saturday 15th February have been cancelled due to the weather and high water.



The British Trials took place in Boston Lincs on Saturday 14th December in small boats and OKS Rowers were involved Tom, Francis and Victoria. They were ranked as follows.


Mens pair- Tom Ransley with Dan Richie  8th.

Womens Single Sculls- Francis Houghton 1st, Victoria Meyer-Lake 5th.


Well done!



World Championship 2013

5th September 2013

OKS and Olympic bronze medallist Tom Ransley (MR 1999-2004) won a Gold medal in the Great Britain men's VIII at the World Cup Championships on 1 September in South Korea. TV viewers at home saw his crew destroy the field, drawing away remorselessly from Olympic champions Germany and the USA in the second 500 metres and winning convincingly despite a late surge from fast finishers Germany.

Equally remarkable was the achievement of the OKS duo in the women's double sculls. Frances Houghton (WL 1993-98), quadruple Olympian and former World Champion, and Victoria Meyer-Laker (JR 2004-06), who took up rowing after King’s, also reached their final and finished fourth, putting down a useful marker for Rio 2016. 

Mens VIIIs World Champions 2013 (Tom Ransley top left)

Fran Houghton & Vikki Mayer-Laker 

Henley Successes in 2013

Congratulations to Fran Houghton and VIcky Mayer-Laker (both OKS), winning the Princess Grace Challenge Cup for women's quadruple sculls at Henley this year, with Helen Glover and Poly Swann against USA.

A great result too for Tom Ransley and his GB eight in the Grand Challenge Cup. A brilliant row against Washington University, saw them lowering the course record by 3 seconds!

Charles Foinette's Army crews also featured in a row-past, celebrating their past successes at the regatta.

 Olympic in London 2012

Congratulations to Frances Houghton and Tom Ransley for their selection for the Olympic team at Dorney. Frances goes in the women's quad and Tom in the men's eight. Nick Strange is coach to the women's eight.

We wish them all the best of luck!

Successes in 2011

At the 2011 World Championships in Bled, Tom Ransley's GB eight again produced a brilliant row to win the silver medal. 

Frances Houghton returned to international competition in the women's single. 

Both Frances and Tom put in great performances at the recent 2012 Olympic trials. Frances finished 4th in the A final, just behind Kath Grainger, Anna Watkins and Beth Rodford, making her again a strong contender for the GB quad. 

Tom partnered Greg Searle finishing 6th in a race won by Pete Reed and Andy Hodge, keeping him in contention for the GB eight. Alan Campbell put in a stunning performance - 6:49 - to win the men's singles. The GB team looks stronger than ever.

Successes in 2009

A great performance from Tom Ransley, who stroked the GB VIII to a memorable win in the Grand Challenge Cup at Henley. Tom was selected in this crew for the World Championships at Poznan in Poland.

Nick Strange coached the GB women's VIII that won the Under-23 World Championships at Racice, near Prague, in the Czech Republic.

Frances Houghton made a welcome return to competition in the GB women's VIII at the Head of the Charles in Boston.

The Pilgrims Veterans raced in the Ladies Plate at Henley, in a composite VIII with Warwick BC. The Pilgrims were represented by Nick Strange, Andrew Rudkin, Chris Hall, Ben Long and Charlotte Pragnell coxing.

Pilgrims scullers have been active - notably Tom Bishop, Richard Smalman-Smith, Nigel Press, Ewan Pearson and Magnus Bashaarat.

Nick Strange, with his crew U-23 world champions in Prague
Tom Bishop racing at the World Masters in Vienna

 Olympics in Bejing 2008

2008 Olympic Silver medal for Frances in Bejing

Frances Houghton won her second Olympic silver medal in the GB women's quadruple scull on the Sunyi regatta course in Bejing. A tremendous achievement, although the crew were bitterly disappointed, having held the gold medal position for nearly all the race. Her crew also won the World Cup and have been World Champions for the previous three years. Well done Frances!

Tom Ransley's Cambridge four won the Stewards at Henley and Tom also picked up a bronze medal at the world student championships. He represented GB at the European championships.

Nick Strange coached the GB women's VIII to their silver medal at the European championships in Athens.

Frances Houghton in the Olympic Final in Bejing


2000 Olympic Games Gold at Sydney 

Pilgrim wins first Olympic GOLD for King’s
Former King's School, Canterbury schoolboy Fred Scarlett won an Olympic gold medal for Great Britain rowing in the Men's VIII. In a gripping race, Great Britain led from the start and forced Australia into second place, winning Great Britain's first gold medal in this event since 1912.

Fred Scarlett (25) started his rowing career at The King's School, where he was Captain of Boats in his final year. He has represented Great Britain at Junior and Under 23 levels, and won the gold medal at the World University Championships in 1998 in a coxless pair. He went on to win the silver medal in the VIII’s at the 1999 World Championship in an exceptionally exciting race against the USA - Great Britain's first silver medal in the VIII’s at the World Championship for over 20 years. The Great Britain VIII has raced with great confidence this year, taking the World Cup title in Lucerne, where it beat the Australian VIII by 0.02sec.

Fred Scarlett, Olympic Gold Medallist.


Fred, whose family home is in Wye and whose father rowed in the 1962 Boat Race for Oxford, was rowing at no.7 in the Men's VIII. He has been training with the squad since leaving Oxford Brookes University, where as part of their very successful boat club he won his two Henley Royal Regatta medals. He has been sponsored by the National Lottery Fund.

Tim Parker, Head of Rowing at King's, said: "Fred showed huge commitment, determination and passion in his rowing at King's. Passion was what the Great Britain coach asked for in the Olympic final, and that was what Fred and the rest of the crew delivered. I coached Fred for three years and he obviously had great potential. He was still at King's when I accompanied him to his first world rowing event: the Junior World Championships in Oslo, where he rowed in a coxed pair. We are immensely proud of his outstanding achievement."

Peter Willis, King's School boatman in Fred's time, remembers him well: "Fred was always technically correct - an immaculate oarsman. This Great Britain VIII suited him perfectly because they were all technically very correct. But you need passion too, and that was there in the Olympic final. I'm overjoyed for him, and this is tremendous for British rowing. Fred always looked like he had potential: he was very tall, and now, of course, he's filled out. He set a very good example as Captain of Boats at King's."

The King's School boat club has enjoyed remarkable success over the last decade. The youngest member of the British Olympic rowing squad, nineteen-year-old Frances Houghton, left King's just a year ago and was also Captain of Boats at the school. She has already been to three Junior World Championships and won a gold medal at the 1999 Nations Cup (Under 23 World Championships). In 1998 she set a new junior British record on the rowing ergometer and in 1999 she became Junior World Indoor Rowing Champion in Boston, USA. A former King's Captain of Sculling, Nick Strange, was in the GB coxless IV which narrowly failed to qualify for the Olympics, and he went on to win the silver medal at the 2000 World Championships in a lightweight coxless pair. Another former King's Captain of Boats, tiny Kajsa McLaren, coxed Oxford to victory over Cambridge in this year's Boat
Race at the age of 19. King's rowers have won a series of medals for Great Britain in junior world championships over the last decade, and this summer two bronzes were also won for Great Britain in the European Championship by King's most recent Captain of Sculling, Sara Liddiard. The seeds of the King's School rowers' current success were sown in the 1980s by Richard Hooper who was Master in Charge of Rowing: his drive and enthusiasm enabled pupils to share his vision of what they could achieve if they really put their minds to it. He is now Head of History at King's.

King's Press Officer, Peter Brodie, said that apart from his considerable potential as a rower, Fred Scarlett was remembered at the school as a very decent and pleasant boy, a good monitor and someone who tried hard and had style.