The Cambridge Rowing Tank at Downing College Boat Club

Booking is now open at

Anyone who has ever been in a rowing boat knows how hard it can be to improve their technique. The conditions during an outing can be poor, and translating a coach’s words into physical movements is an artform that takes some time to master. To this end, Downing College Boat Club has decided to build a rowing tank – an indoor system in which athletes can can be coached in laboratory conditions.

These training facilities, used extensively in the US and now becoming more prevalent in the UK, are excellent in developing good rowing technique in novices, and better rowing technique in more experienced rowers. The setup will feature an advanced audio-visual system, fully rigged up with cameras and screens. Rowers will be able to watch their movements in real time from several angles on a screen in front of them, feedback which we can only dream of having while rowing on the water.

Cambridge Rowing Tank under construction

The money necessary was raised by the concerted effort of a team of alumni and current students over the course of several months. Renovation of the boathouse started in June 2017 and the tank itself was installed at the end of October 2017. Works continued throughout Michaelmas Term in preparation for the opening of the Tank in mid January 2018. The Tank was used for the first time at the DCBC training camp in Cambridge during the second week of January.


DCBC’s M1 using the tank for the first time during the 2018 training camp
The AV System at Cambridge Rowing Tank

DCBC will have priority use of the tank, allowing us to train our own novice and seniorrowers to the highest standard. The unit will also be let out to other colleges, clubs, and schools, which we hope will have a major positive impact on the overall standard of rowing in Cambridge.

This is a hugely ambitious project, and we are incredibly grateful for the support of our alumni who ensured that it could go ahead. Special thanks go to Jeremy Boardman, Simon Wood, Charlie Slater and Ian Watson for the time, initiative and passion that they contributed to turning this dream into a reality.

Bookings for tank sessions are now open. More information can be found on the Cambridge Rowing Tank website at

You can also follow the Tank on social media via the following links:

Cambridge Rowing Tank