Talented Year 13 athlete Olivia Johnson has been offered a competitive rowing scholarship by the University of Tulsa in Oklahoma, USA. This will cover tuition, housing, travel, kit and food whilst she trains and studies for a degree in Sport Science, beginning in August 2024.
A keen rower since Year 9, Olivia has been a staple of our senior girls’ crews in recent years, making history with the WJ18 4x as the first female BMS team to win a race at Henley Royal Regatta (HRR) in 2022.
Having proved her aptitude on the national circuit, Olivia was contacted by representatives from international universities at the beginning of her time in the Sixth Form. She says: “I was actually scouted by another university alongside Tulsa, so I flew out to see both in October 2023. I chose Tulsa because I liked the coaches a lot, and they had a lot more international students like me.” She was officially signed for the team in early November.
Olivia will train for a maximum of 20 hours per week alongside her studies. The university boasts stunning sports facilities, including the 6,500 square foot Jack Zink Indoor Rowing Center adjoined to a 5,000 square foot boat storage facility. This is set along the Verdigris River, part of the Mississippi River watershed, along which the team have a natural setting of 18 miles to practice along. The University of Tulsa rowing team took home multiple silver medals at the 2023 American Athletic Conference (AAC) Championship, and their rowers consistently achieve an excellent Grade Point Average (GPA) alongside their sport. In fact, two of their athletes have won the AAC Scholar-Athlete of the Year award, which requires them to maintain a GPA of 3.50 or higher (equivalent to a high-range 2:1 grade) whilst competing in a minimum of 75% of spring races.
Mr Bavington, Director of Rowing at BMS, added: “Olivia first appeared on our radar as one of very few students who logged onto every online session we ran through the various lockdowns. Since then, she has been a constant of the senior girls’ crews, competing at HRR and on the national circuit numerous times. Seeing Olivia obtain this amazing opportunity is a really proud moment for all of us in the department and we will continue to follow her rowing career with keen interest.”