Brookes win silver in world under-23 rowing championship

Suck it Oxford

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Rowing legends Jamie Copus and Joel Cassells are just like me and you, only a little bit more successful.

This year they led the team to successfully bagged a silver medal in the World Under 23 Championships in Bulgaria.

Narrowly missing the gold by less than two seconds, they were pipped to the post in the lightweight men’s quadruple skulls by their French rivals.


Joel (front centre) and his team mates in Bulgaria

Despite his phenomenal rowing presents former Paul Kent Halls resident Joel Cassells is unbelievably down to earth. Originally from Northern Ireland, he upped his Irish roots to pursue a degree in Law and Politics at Brookes. Right before our chat he’s “just off the phone with another interviewer”.

At 21 Joel has already had his fair share of fame. After his success at the Australian Youth Olympic Festival where he won two bronze medals, he was selected to represent Team GB and is due to take part in the Rio Olympic games in 2016.

On the Team GB official website Joel has his own feature and was described as an “Athlete in the Spotlight” back in March 2015.

The team in action

The team in action

Joel hopes to return to Bulgaria with the team for the Senior World Rowing Championships in 2018. What with its constant 30-degree heat and lack of wind and rain, he described Bulgaria as “a peculiar place to be in”.

Although the team only stayed for nine days, they got a chance to explore some of the city. Joel said: “It  had a feeling of ’70’s Eastern Bloc.”

The team proudly wearing their silver medals

The team proudly wearing their silver medals

Brookes’ University Boat Club team also got to the finals of the Temple Challenge Cup at Henley Royal Regatta last year.

Despite losing to Dutch rivals Delftsche Studenten Roeivereeniging Laga the following year, Joel says: “It was a fantastic season. Definitely the most enjoyable to date.”

The training lake in Bulgaria

The training lake in Bulgaria


Joel was so preoccupied with rowing as part of the Team GB squad he was unable to complete his third year on time and will return to finish it. But he says it’s worth it: “I started rowing back in 2007. Mum finally got fed up with my lounging around the house doing nothing so dumped me down at the Bann Rowing Club. I instantly loved it.”