"Continuing my involvement with the Club allows me to reminisce about the good old days whilst catching up with old friends."

Volunteer in the Spotlight: Sam Swadling

In our second ‘In the Spotlight’ feature, Economics alumnus and Alumni Secretary of the Boat Club, Sam Swadling, tells us what he’s been up to since graduating in 2011 and discusses his continued involvement with the University’s Boat Club.

What direction has your career taken since graduating from Exeter?
I studied Economics and was fortunate to secure a four month internship with a leading alternative asset market data provider in The City in the summer between my second and third year at Exeter. This internship led to an unconditional offer of graduate employment and I stayed with this company for nearly two years. I then moved into the insurance industry and currently work in the Financial and Executive Risks (FINEX) division of Willis, a global insurance broker. My role focuses on the financial insurances for Hedge Funds and Asset Managers.

What extracurricular activities did you undertake during your time at Exeter?
Following a rugby injury sustained in my final year at school, I joined the Boat Club as a novice at the beginning of my first year. I was then elected as Novice Men's Captain for my second year alongside Tom “Hamstrings” Stoyle. We coached a fantastic group to Gold and Bronze at the BUCS Head, which was followed by a Silver at the BUCS Championships. I rowed in the 1st VIII in my final year and qualified for the all-important Henley Blazer by competing in The Temple Challenge Cup in 2011. Involvement in sport, and specifically the Boat Club, was certainly the most enjoyable aspect of my time at the University and was where I met most of my Exeter friends that I remain in contact with.

What is your role now with the Boat Club?
Following a few too many Pimms at Henley in 2011, myself and alumni Robin Gerlach and Nick Zdralka agreed to do all we could to encourage links between the Boat Club and its alumni. Thanks to fantastic support from Alumni Officer Simon Tyson at Exeter, we have seen a significant increase in the amount of information being dissipated to alumni though social media (@exeterunirowing/Facebook/Linkedin), through enews and a new website. There has also been increased focus on the two big annual alumni events: The Henley Royal Regatta Picnic and The Head of the River Gala Dinner. My current role is loosely defined as Secretary of the Alumni Committee. On a day-to-day basis I am the point of contact between the Club and its alumni and am responsible for organising alumni events.

Why do you enjoy giving your time to do this?
That’s a tough question and I think the main reason why I continue to enjoy giving my time to the Club is that the hours spent on and alongside the Exe Canal whilst at University gave me so many great memories and fantastic friendships. Continuing my involvement with the Club allows me to reminisce about the good old days whilst catching up with old friends. It is certainly fair to say that the older we get, the better we were! It has been great to have facilitated reunions and introductions, to have generated sponsorship revenue for the Club and to watch it develop and grow into the force in University rowing that it is today. I would certainly encourage fellow alumni to try to give something back to their old Club and I think everyone is capable of doing something to help.

What can Boat Club alumni look forward to in the coming months?
The next event in the calendar is the Gala Dinner being head at The Duke’s Head in Putney on Saturday 29 March. The Head of the River Race will start at 2pm and we expect two EUBC crews to be racing from Mortlake to Putney, alongside around 400 other crews. Tickets for this event cost £35 and places must be reserved in advance. Please contact SportsAlumni@exeter.ac.uk for more information. After that, the annual Henley Royal Regatta Alumni Picnic will take place during the luncheon interval from racing on Saturday 5 July. It is expected that we will once again host the event at Henley Cricket Club, near the course finish line.

Date: 19 March 2014

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