Henley Royal Regatta 2019
Following some successful results at Marlow Regatta, we came on to Henley Royal Regatta. On the student men’s side our Temple Challenge Cup and Prince Albert Challenge Cup ‘A’ crews prequalified, whilst the Temple and Prince Albert ‘B’ crews took on the challenge of the qualifying races, looking for a place in the regatta proper. We also had two student women competing for a spot in the Remenham Challenge Cup; Helen Kirkpatrick in a composite with Tideway Scullers’, and Annelise Perkins coxing her Headington School alumni crew. Boat club members Zoe Lee and Rebecca Shorten were also entered in the Remenham, racing in the Great Britain women’s eight.
Our Temple ‘B’ crew rowed a fantastic time trial and managed to secure one of the seven available places from 39 competing crews. This crew was comprised of a mixture of members of the third eight, and - with only nine months’ rowing experience under their belts - three of this year’s novices. They drew Harvard University in the first round, so it was going to be a tough fight from which Harvard did come out on top, but for many of the crew this was their first experience of Henley Royal and so they were delighted to make it onto the start line.
Our Temple ‘A’ crew drew the opposition with whom they had been swapping places all season: Newcastle University ‘A’. Our boys were one place ahead at the head in March, with Newcastle then edging the bronze medal at BUCS regatta in May. Most recently, our crew beat them by half a length at Marlow regatta. An exciting contest was expected, with many saying this would be the race to watch on the Wednesday. The crews were level through the end of the island, with Newcastle subsequently moving ahead slightly to a third of a length lead at the Barrier. From here our crew showed great determination in maintaining overlap and kept the margin at around two thirds of a length through the middle of the race. In the third quarter our crew pushed on and closed the gap to half a length at the mile marker, however they were unable to overcome Newcastle’s strong finishing sprint, going down by a length in the fastest race of the day. Although a very disappointing result for this crew, they are a young group with only two athletes graduating this year and we can certainly expect to see more strong results from them over the coming season.
In the Remenham both Helen and Annelise’s crews qualified, and then proceeded to draw each other in the first round! In this battle Helen’s crew came out on top, progressing to the Friday where they came up against the Dutch national eight. Despite a tough fight from Helen’s crew, and in the fastest race of the day in the event, the Dutch proved to be too strong.
Zoe and Rebecca progressed through to the final of the Remenham, beating a crew from Oxford Brookes University followed by a fast race against a strong GB development crew. In the final they raced the New Zealand national eight, racing as Waiariki Rowing Club. In the early stages there was nothing in it, but sadly the GB crew was unable to match New Zealand’s pace over the second half of the course, with the race being won in a time only two seconds short of the record.
The qualifying race for the Prince Albert was the toughest this year with 39 crews fighting for only four spots. Unfortunately our ‘B’ crew didn’t make the cut, but all five of the athletes will be back at Imperial next year, and the race provided some very valuable experience for their own personal development.
The Prince Albert ‘A’ four drew St. Andrew’s University, a crew they knew little about having raced in different events at Marlow regatta. What our crew did know is that they had a strong start, and this saw them nudge their bow ball ahead of St. Andrew’s in the early stages of the race. St. Andrew’s however showed themselves to be a fast crew through the middle of the course, edging away from our crew and eventually going on to make the semi finals.
On the Saturday of the regatta we hosted a barbecue and boat naming ceremony as part of our centenary celebrations this year. Two new empacher fours, one for the men’s squad and one for the women’s squad, were donated by our Ladies’ Challenge Plate winning crew of 1978. The boats were named after their coaches, Peter Summers and Neil James, in recognition of their guidance and dedication which helped enable the crew to win. It is only through the kindness and generosity of our alumni that we are able to enjoy such a high standard of equipment and coaching at the club and we would like to express our enduring gratitude for their continued support.
Over the summer holiday we have a men’s eight and women’s quad attending the International Universities Rowing Regatta in Chengdu, China in August, as well as a large contingent racing at the European University Championships in Jonkoping, Sweden, at the beginning of September. Noam Mouelle is currently trialling for the French Junior World Championships team, whilst Pippa England and Stefan Hales are aiming to represent Wales at the Home International Regatta. Helen Kirkpatrick is looking to represent both GB at the European U23 Championships in September, and England in the pair with partner Lara Valt from Tideway Scullers’. The rest of the squad are enjoying some well earned rest and relaxation, before reconvening for preseason training in September.