The Pearl in the Oyster
27) and - eventually - the Dragon, began.
Rowing at the Dragon is like a pearl
in the oyster. Few prep schools row.
Traditionally school rowing starts at 13
and pupils either squeeze in five years or
muddle along with a club in the holidays.
At the Dragon we enthuse, cajole,
support and encourage rowing because
it instils pride and makes many children
hungry for competition.
Many rowers are superb natural
It’s nearly 20 years since, one cold winter’s
dawn morning, a young rower climbed the
staircase of the National Water Sports Centre
in Nottingham to join the GB Junior Rowing
squad. 14 years old, 6' 2" - maybe 6' 3" -
I asked her about her rowing history.
“I started at the Dragon when I was 11…” and
so my relationship with Frances Houghton
(OD 1993), her father Robin (Lofty)
Houghton who sadly died recently (see page
Rowing 2004 Olympic Regatta women's quadruple sculls at Athens 2004, Frances Houghton second from left
sportsmen and women; many are not
traditional 'sporty types'. I could argue
that scullers aren’t usually ball carriers or
hitters or bowlers, but that would be untrue.
We have 1st XV rugby players, tennis and
athletic squad members - rowers who are
torn between matches on a Wednesday and
a 6km technical amongst the grebes and
mosquitoes. They do what they must, but I
know when a child can’t put sculling down.
Frances is one who couldn’t.