With the dust finally settled after this year’s Henley, get ready for the final press article of the season. Henley this year was revolutionary with an amazing live stream on YouTube and finals day being covered by BBC red button. However, the real ICBC news didn’t always make it to the public domain…. until now.
The first boat to race on the Wednesday was the Temple eight. Coached by Tessa Millar, this crew just missed out on being seeded and had their work cut out with a tough draw. Despite Tessa’s sacrifice of Paddy, the resident goat, to the Henley Gods, we drew University of Columbia lightweights on the Wednesday. Even though everyone (even Seb de Trafford) pushed the lightweights all the way down the course and managed to reduce the gap from a length and a half, the final result was a length to the yanks in the third fastest race of the day. This crew became the ICBC cheerleaders for the rest of the week.
The Thames cup eight continued the IC tradition of drawing an Exeter eight on the Wednesday, sending Exeter Rowing Club back home with an easily verdict. There was little drama on the next day for the non-students either, beating London ‘A’ by 1¼ lengths. By now, crew spirits were high and there was talk of them improving on last year’s result in the final. On the Friday, the crew were up against University Barge Club, USA. This was where the drama came. Before the race, 5 man Geordie Macleod sustained an injury to his back that was so bad he could barely walk. Unable to row, the crew sought out an eligible substitute for the rest of their Henley campaign and found one in the form of Fred Vystavel, who had been registered at Sport Imperial since September. The Stewards approved this change but during their pre-paddle, two complaints were lodged about the new crewmember. With no other subs available, University Barge Club rowed over. This was a tragic end to the season for the non-students, who had been in great form recently. If it weren’t for these complaints (better not FLAG up who made them), the non-students would have had a few more good races in them.
The Prince Albert four got a bye and so didn’t race until the Friday, when they faced Oxford Brookes ‘B’. There is little to say about this race because despite the surprising enthusiasm of the Brookes boys on the start line, IC cruised to a 4½-length win. The four squared up against Harvard ‘A’ on Saturday morning, a crew that had some big names in it. This turned out to be, in my opinion, one of the most exciting races of the whole regatta. The IC four drew out an early lead and managed to maintain just about clear water between them and the boys from across the pond right up until the start of the enclosures. The Harvard stroke man then proceeded to go schitz breh on the rate and jack it up to about 45spm. IC responded but just didn’t have enough left in the tank to answer the question that Harvard were asking. In one of the most impressive finishes I’ve seen, Harvard managed to just nudge in front and win by half a length.
The last non-composite IC crew that raced was the Remenham eight. These women did amazingly well to gain one of the eight places in the Remenham this year, being the only British university to do so. Determined not to let every IC crew be knocked out by an American crew, the women were successful in this pursuit and drew the Canadian women’s eight in the first round. The Canadians set a record to the barrier but couldn’t quite manage an easily verdict over us, scraping a tiny 4¼ lengths. Some of the girls outsourced advice after this defeat- stroke girl Rebecca Shorten went straight to the Brookes coach to discuss possible other race plans for next year over a 'cup of tea'. The same Canadian eight then went on the beat Zoe and Donna in the final to win the Remenham.
Wilf’s visitor’s four lost out to Sydney rowing club, the eventual runners up, by 2½ lengths on the Thursday and GB Tim and ‘which John’ Hale made it to the semi finals of the Prince of Wales where they were beaten by Leander and Brookes composite.
Veritable big deal Dr Mel Wilson brought home the silverware for IC, winning the Princess Grace in the GB women’s quad.
Congratulations to 'Big Bear' Berend, a lecturer who trains with us on the water, who made the final of Henley Masters Regatta the next week, putting his students to shame.
All in all, there were plenty of dramas for IC this year at Henley. With 36 athletes competing, IC was well represented and with this year’s coverage, even more people now know the blue, black and silver of IC represents one of the only places you can do a proper degree and tear it up at Henley. Watch this space next season too- GB Tim makes his return to student rowing and there are minimal losses in terms of graduation from both top student boats.
Images courtesy of Ian Gillet