Rhubarb 2020

ST EDWARD’S r h u b a r b

MIKE ROSEWELL INTERVIEW By John Wiggins and David Smart


Mike was Head of Economics and ran the rowing at Teddies from 1976 to 1995 and then mentored John Wiggins in his first coaching role at Teddies, culminating in the Henley win in 1999. He was The Times Rowing Correspondent from 1989 to 2007. John Wiggins, Honorary Secretary and David Smart, President, talked to Mike, in July 2020, about his career, juggling his job at Teddies with reporting across the world, and the rowers he has met and admired.

You have spent many years travelling the world as a Rowing Correspondent – can you tell us something about your route into the sport but also how that developed into writing about it? I come from generations of watermen from the Walton stretch of the River Thames and was in boats from a very young age. When I was 14 my father, who was captain of the local skiff club, was against me racing too young. I got the opportunity, though, when he was away on holiday and the vice captain entered me at a local skiffs regatta. My father returned unexpectedly to see me racing (though losing) in the final of a men’s event. He was happy from then on. Bob Cherry, a friend of my father, was editor of the Surrey Herald and gave me the opportunity to write some rowing

reports. When I left Walton for Oxford in 1976 I was writing for seven local papers a week. The Oxford Times was the same group as Surrey Herald and I began writing for the Oxford paper in 1976 and then continued for nearly forty years before I handed over to John Wiggins (OSE Hon Sec). In the 1980s, the London Times was very pro rowing and I was head hunted by the Sports Editor and covered all the major events from 1989 through to 2007, when they cleared out all specialist writers. Alongside all of this, I spoke at a lot of rowing dinners at around 30 clubs. For many years I wrote a column as ‘ARA Alf’ in the Rowing Magazine as a new member of the reshuffled ARA Rowing Council, where I served as a divisional representative for 32 years. Starting in 1968, there was a brief hiatus before returning as ‘Just Alf’, then after a much bigger gap finally as ‘Son of Alf’ through to 2013. How did you manage your work at Teddies as a teacher, Head of Economics and Master in charge of Rowing, with the demands of covering events throughout the year and around the world? For most of my teaching career I was blessed with very supportive headmasters. I started at Ealing GS, moving on to St George’s Weybridge, and was then invited to come for interview with Henry Christie at Teddies. At that time in 1976 I was Chairman of the Junior Rowing Commission and knew Henry Christie well. He took me on as Master in charge of Rowing and Head of Economics. I was allowed time off for my reporting duties with the London Times and covered many European events and also rowing in Canada, United States, Australia and four Olympic Games. At the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games I helped to run the events rowing press office.

Mike Rosewell


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