Camilla Hadland, rowing commentator
Girl on the River
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Girl on the River
Camilla Hadland, rowing commentator
Jul 14, 2021 Season 2 Episode 5
Patricia Carswell

S2 Episode 5 Camilla Hadland has a voice that many of you will recognise. Having started rowing as a junior at a small club, she won a place in the U23 Women’s 8 and competed at the World Junior Championships in 2010, where they won Britain's first ever women’s gold medal at that event. After university, where she was President of her university boat club, she stopped rowing regularly and moved over into coaching.

Camilla fell into commentating, but soon found herself in demand. In 2018 she won World Rowing’s first ever commentating competition and achieved a spot commentating at the World Cup in Serbia. Since then she’s regularly commentated at international events and is part of the commentary team at the Tokyo Olympics. Having done a couple of stints commentating at my club regatta, I was fascinated to hear all about her experiences and to glean some wisdom from her.

We talked about:

  • How Camilla got started in rowing and her multiple capsizes
  • Learning to row in a small club set up
  • Being selected for the GB Team at the Junior Worlds
  • The challenges of looking after your health while training at such a high level
  • Body image and the ups and downs Camilla has had with it
  • Not making it into the U23 8+ and moving across into coaching
  • Favourite seat in the boat
  • How Camilla got started in commentating
  • How she learned the craft of commentating - how to cater for the whole audience and create atmosphere
  • Finding your own voice
  • Different types of event - the different preparations and style
  • The challenges of live streaming remotely from the European Championships 
  • The idea set up for commentating
  • How to make an uneventful race sound exciting
  • Keeping tabs on rowing teams throughout the year
  • Making mistakes - and learning from them
  • How to show compassion to a crew losing badly
  • Essential equipment
  • Advice for anyone wanting to improve their commentary skills or progress in commentating
  • Plans for Tokyo and the likely challenges

Let me know if you're inspired to have a go at commentating or to take your experiences of it to a new level. You can find me at @girlontheriver on all channels or by emailing me at