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Bishops Rowing Club – BRC

Bishops Diocesan Rowing Club is and has been a home for many men who attend this prestigious school in the heart of Cape Towns Southern Suburbs. Ultimately rowing is a sport that feeds the soul, develops resilience and enables an individual to manage academics through challenging time constraints.

Photo: The U15’s clinching victory in the Quad at Western Cape Champs
Cox – Veer Daya, Stroke – Jack Breslin, 3 – John Van Der Watt, 2 – Cameron Redfern, Bow – Matthew Maurel

Calendar & Training Program:

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Please download for full Calendar

Rowing season 2022

Training Ideology & Collection Time

Zeekoevlei: Our Current Challenge
Due to sewage spills, Zeekoevlei is prohibited. In light of this Bishops Rowing Club is restricted to weekend water sessions, either at Misverstand or Elgin and weekly land training. Logistically difficult and time-consuming we can all empathise with these challenges, but it must be done to be competitive.

Training Ideology and Expectations
First and foremost it must be noted that the program is the bare minimum and expected attendance of your son – i.e. these sessions are compulsory.

The structure is to facilitate the enjoyment of the sport and to create a fun and yet challenging program. Twofold, is to cater for those young men who seek to strive in rowing.

Vlei Collection Time:
Between 18:00 & 18:30 – depending on traffic 

Erg Collection Time:
Standard Collection time – 17:30

Run Collection Time:
If completed at school 16:30 – 17:00

Weekend Session:
Times will be communicated by age group reps due to the continuous changes due to regattas and staggering of sessions.

Who Are We?

The Origin of Bishops Rowing Club (BRC)

1975 to 1978 – A Family Affair

A School so proud of Cricket and Rugby, so adverse to the abnormal, especially the abnormality that is rowing. So often a sport which is side-lined. Bishops was devoid of rowing for much of its rich history until 1975.

Until the vigour of a newly immigrated Manx family led to eldest son Tim Rideout arriving at Bishops in August 1975 (White House), after finishing prep school at Mostyn House in Cheshire. Tim strongly disliked contact sports such as Rugby and Hockey (and managed to dodge them for his time at Bishops), and was no good at Village Cricket. Somewhat in desperation his father John Rideout, himself having been 1st VIII Bedford Modern School and the Royal Agricultural College thought Rowing might provide a more acceptable sport. After discussion with Headmaster Anthony Mallett, it was agreed that Rideout could attempt to start a Rowing Club, but the school would not be providing any funding. So in early 1976 Mr James, one of the school staff who lived in the White House tower, became the school representative in charge of rowing organisation, with Mr Rideout as coach and responsible for all on-water activity. Rideout was also a member of the Alfred Rowing Club who agreed to the use of their boats and facilities at Zeekoevlei. An invitation went out to boys (and parents) to sign up for rowing which involved a not insignificant extra fee to cover the hire of a bus to get to and from the vlei twice a week.

Taking everyone rather by surprise over twenty boys enrolled, with a substantial contingent from White House. Mr Early, another Alfred’s member, was enrolled as Assistant Coach due to the numbers. Within a year there was a 1st VIIi (Phillip Myburgh, S Stapleton Cotton, John Sedgwick, Jan Moll, Charles Arton, MP Dichmont (Capt), John Dunn and Tim Rideout, with RJ Chuter as cox), and in 1977 the club hosted a visit from Shrewsbury School 1st VIII. Mr Ian Garlick, of the department store family, donated a set of wooden sweep oar blades painted in the school colours as the first equipment owned by the club. Multiple crews rowed in the annual Western Province and Alfred’s regattas in 1977.

Mr James did sterling work back at White House collecting the fees, running the accounts and managing the bus bookings, but curiously never visited the vlei.

Chapter 2 – The Rideout Cup

Bishops first South African Schools Championship representation as a School was only a year later in 1977 (check the school magazines for reports). By the next year, Rowing at the school had grown (over 40 boys) and Bishops again attended SA Schools Champs, an impressive feat bearing in mind the timeline and since the acceptance of the sport in the school as one of its own was missing – the exclusion of funding and coaching staff being the biggest drawbacks. The First Eight of this year (Mark Burton-Moore, Jan van Eeden, Grant Meldrum, Sean McGovern, Mark Doyle, Charles Arton, John Dunn, Greg Young, Tim Rideout and cox RJ Chuter), still disproportionately White House, presented John Rideout with a “cup” (a large pewter tankard) as an appreciation for all that he had done for them and Rowing at Bishop’s.

The Rideout Cup is now presented annually at the Bishops rowing dinner, in acknowledgement of the rowers who encapsulates the essence of a Bishop’s rower – which stems from the roots and attitude which was required to build this club.

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Bishops Head Coach History

1976 – 1977: Tim Rideout

1978 – 1985: Unknown 

1986: John Peake/Nick Dunlop

1991 – 1992: Gary Williams

1993 – 1995: Unknown

1996 – 1999: Harold Blum

2000 – 2003: Unknown

2004: Keith Mason

2005: Jamie Pike

2006: Chris Vermaak

2007: Matt Pierce

2008-2010: Tyrone Delaney

2010 – 2016: Sam Wells

2017 – 2021: Brad Smith

Brad Smith (Bishops: 2017 – current)

Brad has been involved with rowing since 1998, when he started at St Andrews College, Makhanda. His rowing career saw him row at the Junior World Championships, Lithuania; the Student World Games, France; U23s in Netherlands and Belgium. Brad began his coaching career at Radley College, UK, as a Gap student. He first began teaching and running a rowing club in 2009 at Jeppe High School, Johannesburg. From there, he worked at St Benedict’s from 2013-2016, where he also coached a coxed four and coxless pair to Junior World Champs.

Brad moved to Cape town at the beginning of 2017, where he began his role as an educator and Master-in-Charge of Rowing at Bishops Diocesan College. During his time at Bishop’s, Brad has whipped the club into shape, producing consistent results and establishing respect for the sport in a School that is focused on everything but. Most excitingly plans to implement a rowing tank are in the pipeline!

Infrastructure & Fleet

Bishops Rowing Club is known, within the Western Cape Rowing community, to have one of the most comprehensive fleets. A top-flight fleet does not always lead to victory, however, the 1% benefit brought by boat quality, can make the difference between winning a losing.

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Hudson USP ‘Shark’ at Buffelsjag Dam

Sculls (1x):
Bishops recently invested in 4 news sculls, bringing the total to 13. Swift designs hardy, elegant and practical sculls, which are ideal for our youngsters. Further, the improvement in small boats betters the student’s opportunity to move the boat and thus become more effective in bigger crew boats.

Quads (4x+) & Fours (4+ & 4-):
Bishops Rowing club is proud of our flagship boat, the USP Hudson coxed four. Bought in 2020, this is our newest coxed four and Currently, known as ‘Shark’ the boats naming rights are still available! This category of boat classes comprises – four quads, four coxed fours and two coxless fours. 

Doubles (2x) & Pairs (2-):
Fillipi is amongst one of the first boat names that any young man learns in his rowing career. The striking stripe and cut of the boat are distinct! Bishops have four Fillipi pairs for the seniors, a swift and John Waugh further. The juniors only use pairs from U16 upwards and have the use of three doubles.

Octpules (8x+) & Eights (8+):
Three Octs for the younger gents on being a Swift provides sound building blocks to learn how to move the bigger boats. A newly refurbished True Blue is probably one of the older boats in the club and no longer a sore sight! The sticking fully dark Blue Hudson is apt for the lighter U16’s, incredibly quick off the line. The Open age group is treated to two state of the art Fillipi Eights Avatar and Merlion Blue. 

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Open day 2021 – Zeekoevlei