When The Water Gets Rough, The Students Get Singing


Students from Aberdeen’s two universities have come together to record a parody of Billy Ocean’s classic track, “When The Going Gets Tough, The Tough Get Going”, ahead of one of the city’s top rowing events.

Rowers from the University of Aberdeen and Robert Gordon University created the video – “When The Water Gets Rough, The Tough Get Rowing” – to encourage spectators to head to the riverside to watch the annual Aberdeen Boat Race, sponsored by Aberdeen Standard Investments, on Saturday, March 17.

In the video, historic rivalries bubble up to the surface as the students train on the riverbanks for the Aberdeen Boat Race. Channelling their inner popstars, the rowers give it their all while belting out a specially-written version of the dancefloor filler – revealing the party atmosphere on the banks of the River Dee on race day.


The parody video – which has now become an annual tradition – allows the boat clubs to involve the wider student body in the Aberdeen Boat Race, including the University of Aberdeen Music Department. Last year, the rowers recreated a Titanic classic with “My Heart Will Row On”, and in 2016 debuted an Adele-fuelled clip – “Rowing on the Dee”.

The 2018 Aberdeen Boat Race will see the University of Aberdeen attempt to retain the title a year after breaking Robert Gordon University’s five-year winning streak. As well as the title race, the day will also feature the alumni race, universities’ second crew race, and the media challenge race.

Martin Gilbert, co-chief executive of title sponsors Aberdeen Standard Investments, says, “The Aberdeen Boat Race is one of the most important events of the student sporting calendar, so it is fantastic to see the rowers making every effort to encourage spectators down to the River Dee on March 17. By making this video, the students have opened themselves up to new experiences and have learned new skills which will help them later in life: employers are continually looking for graduates who have diverse skillsets, and with a wide range of life experiences.”



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