Last year Henley introduced three new events for women giving parity with the men”s open events. This year they each receive their official names and some superb new trophies, The Hambleden Pairs Challenge Cup (for coxless pairs) The Town Challenge Cup (for coxless fours) and The Stonor Challenge Trophy (for Double Sculls).
Regatta Chairman Sir Steve Redgrave with the new trophies
Specially commissioned for 2018, the trophies have each been named after significant figures or events in the Regatta’s 179-year history and reflect the long-standing heritage and tradition of Henley Royal Regatta.
The Town Challenge Cup, for open women’s fours, recalls the name of the trophy that was presented to coxed fours alongside The Grand Challenge Cup for eights at the very first Regatta in 1839 and annually thereafter until 1883, after which it was given in trust to the Henley Town and Visitors’ Regatta.
The Hambleden Pairs Challenge Cup, for open women’s pairs, commemorates the trophy presented for the pairs event at the Royal Henley Peace Regatta in 1919 by Viscount Hambleden. In 1924, he allowed a portion of his land on the Berkshire bank by the start line to be trimmed to enable the creation of the Straight Course on which the Regatta is still raced today. In addition to the trophy, both members of the winning crew will receive presentation miniatures.
The Stonor Challenge Trophy, for open women’s double sculls, commemorates Thomas Stonor (later Lord Camoys), who chaired the meeting in 1839 at which the Regatta was founded. Stonor went on to become one of the Regatta’s very first Stewards.
The trophies were designed by Ottewill Silversmiths in Kent; established in 1993, the award-winning designers are known for their exceptional attention to detail and delivery of world-class craftsmanship.
Sir Steve Redgrave, Chairman of the Regatta’s Committee of Management said: “We’re delighted to unveil the designs of the three new trophies to be presented at this year’s Regatta. The trophies are a tribute to the long-standing history of the Regatta, combining innovation with the tradition and heritage that continues to mark Henley Royal Regatta as one of the great sporting events on the British sporting calendar.”
So, onto the entries
(note: all of the below was written before the qualifying races had been completed)
The Princess Royal Challenge Cup
The Princess Royal Challenge Cup
Holder: A.K Thiele, Germany
19 entries. To be reduced to 12 by Qualifying races
This is the only event at this year’s regatta which has the reigning senior World Champion competing, Jeannine Gmelin (Ruderclub Uster, Switzerland) is the no.1 sculler in the world at the moment. The reigning World Champion, she is unbeaten throughout the 2017 and 2018 season and was named World Rowing’s Female Rower of the Year last year. She has spent her entire senior international career in the single scull, starting with the European Championships in 2014 and finishing that season with 15th at the World Championships. 2015 saw her win her first senior medal with gold at the Bled International regatta and silver at the European Championships behind Mirka Knapkova. It was clear from that performance that she was a rising star of the W1X event. This was confirmed when she made the A-Final at the World Championships that year. That result qualified her for the Rio Olympics where she again made the A-Final. 2017 was the year she came to the fore and, as mentioned above, has dominated the W1X field. At 5ft 6 and 11 stone (hey, this is Henley….we use Imperial measures) she’s not the tallest or heaviest sculler in the field, but she has a tremendous amount of power and an extremely efficient stroke.
Jeannine Gmelin of Switzerland
The main challenger to Gmelin will be Leander Club’s Vicky Thornley. She was favourite for the title last year but in the final the fin on her boat became entangled with weed making it difficult to steer straight resulting in a heavy defeat to Thiele of Germany. She’ll be out for revenge this year and will be relishing a potential showdown with Gmelin. Thornley is a product of the GB World Class Start programme at the University of Bath having been a talented equestrian in her youth. She made her international debut at the U23 World championships in 2009 and then the senior team in 2010 winning her first senior medal at the Bled World Cup in the W8. She raced in the W8 at the London Olympics that finished 5th and then for the Rio Olympiad she raced in various double scull combinations, and spent a season in the W1X before forming a new double with Katherine Grainger for the 2015 and 2016 seasons. They were a bit hit-and-miss as double, winning minor medals at the Europeans and World Cups. Their continuation as a crew was in doubt until a few weeks before the Rio Games as they both trialled for the W8. But, in the end they produced the race of their lives, leading the Olympic final until the final 150m when they were overhauled by Poland. But it was still a magnificent performance to win the silver medal. Thornley moved into the W1X for the 2017 season and produced some stellar performances, winning the European Championships and finishing runner-up to Gmelin at the World Championships. 2018 has seen some solid, if unspectacular performances so far with A-final appearances (but no podium’s) at both the Belgrade and Linz world Cups.
Another strong challenger will be Diana Dymchenko of sports Club Concorde, Ukraine. She’s been racing internationally since 2012 and made the A-Final of the European Championships in 2013 and 2014 in the W4X. She raced the W1X at the 2017 World Cup series reaching the final at both Belgrade and Poznan and winning the B-Final in Lucerne. At the Sarasota World Championships she moved back into the quad and finished 2nd in the B-Final. For the 2018 season she’s back in the W1X racing in the B-Finals at both Belgrade and Linz.
Madeline Edmunds (Georgina Hope Rinehrt National Training Centre, Australia) will be another strong contender. She won silver at the 2009 Junior World Championships and gold at the 2012 U23 World Championships. She made her senior debut in 2013 taking medals at all three World Cups as part of the women’s quad scull. In 2016 Edmunds competed in the Women’s Quad and represented Australia at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. Post-Rio, Edmunds joined the Hancock Prospecting Women’s National Training Centre in Penrith, and in 2017 was selected, alongside Olympia Aldersey, to race in the Women’s Double Scull at World Rowing Cups 2 and 3 and the World Rowing Championships. The duo went on to win bronze at the 2017 World Rowing Championships. In 2018, For 2018 she’s Australia’s representative in the W1X and started strongly making the A-Final in Linz.
Alice Baatz (Agecroft Rowing Club) is another graduate of the GB World Class Start Programme. She won the W4X at Henley Women’s Regatta in 2016 and went on to win gold for Wales at the Home International Regatta. She made her senior debut for Great Britain in 2017 racing the W1X at the Poznan World Cup and then in the quad for the Lucerne World Cup. She was selected as the sculling spare for the Sarasota World Championships. For 2018 she raced as the GB 2nd W1X at the Linz World Cup finishing 11th overall.
Another pre-qualifier is Zoltan Gadanyi (Kulker Evezos Klub, Hungary). She’s had an excellent June, celebrating her 21st birthday at the end of the month, and making her senior international debut at the Linz world Cup where she finished 17th. She made the A-Final of the Junior World Championships in 2014 and 2015 before moving up to the U23’s in 2015 and having her best result of 8th in the BW1X at the 2017 U23 World Championships.
The 2nd Aussie in the event is Cara Grzeskowiak of Capital Lakes Rowing Club in Canberra. She represented Australia at the U23 World Championships in 2016 finishing 5th. She also raced at the Australian Interstate Championships in 2016 winning a bronze medal in the W1X behind Olympians Kim Brennan and Kerry Hoare. She raced at Henley Women’s Regatta last week winning the Championship W1X – a result which surely caught the eye of the Henley stewards and guaranteed her pre-qualification for the Princess Royal.
Another pre-qualifier is Imogen Grant of Cambridge University Women’s Boat Club. Grant made her international debut at the 2017 U23 world Championships where she finished 5th in the BLW4X. A former lightweight Cambridge Blue she rowed in the winning open-weight Light Blue Boat at this year’s Boat Race. She also performed extremely well at the GB Final Trials finishing 4th in the LW1X. That performance earned her selection as the LW1X for the GB team racing at the 1st World Cup in Belgrade where she finished just outside of the medals. She raced at Henley Women’s Regatta losing in the semi-final to Sydney University’s Carina Simpson in the semi-final.
The final pre-qualifier is Katy Wilkinson-Feller of Tideway Scullers. She has raced at the GB Trials earlier this season and finished 2nd to Lucy Glover at the Metropolitan Regatta. She raced at Henley women’s Regatta, beating Katherine Erickson in the 1st round before losing to Grzeskowiak in the 2nd round.
Among those required to qualify one of the strongest is Janneke Van der Muelen of Roeivereeniging Willem III of the Netherlands. She’s an experienced Dutch international and made her debut in 2012finishing 6th in the w4X at the European Championships. She moved to the W8 in 2013 finishing 6th at the Chungju World Championships. In 2014 she again raced in the W8 finishing in the A-Final at the European Championships and the Lucerne World Cup. For the World Championships in Amsterdam that year she raced in the W4- that finished 7th. She’s not competed internationally since, but is targeting the Princess Royal as the main race of her season.
Riley Lynch of Vashon Island Rowing Association in Seattle, USA is another that will be required to try and qualify. The 18-year-old was a member of the US junior team in 2017 winning a bronze medal in the JW4-. She will attend Stanford University from next semester.
Norway’s Hanne Inntjore (Christiana Roklub) made her senior international debut in 2013 finishing 8th in the W2- at the European Championships. She and partner Anna Sture finished 5th in the w2- at the U23 World Championships in 2015 and were unsuccessful in their bid to qualify for the Rio Olympics. She attended Durham University with whom she won the W2- at Henley Women’s Regatta in 2015
My picks…Gmelin will be the favourite and the draw will probably mean she faces Thornley in the final.
The Hambleden Pairs Challenge Cup
An all-British entry, the overwhelming favourites will be Rowan Mckellar and Hattie Taylor of Leander Club. They raced at the Linz World Cup winning a bronze medal behind the New Zealanders and Italians (and beating the no.1 GB pair into 4th). Mckellar, a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, won silver at the 2015 U23 World Championships in the W2- with Holly Norton. She made her senior debut in 2017 racing in the W4- that finished 7th at the World Championships. For the 2018 season she was selected for the W8 for the Belgrade world Cup and won silver and then moved to the pair for Linz.
Hattie Taylor learnt to row at Sir William Perkins school in Chertsey and spent a year rowing at Melbourne University after school. She made her international debut in 2015 winning a bronze medal in in the W8 at the U23 World Championships. She went on to make her senior debut in 2017 racing in the W4- at the Lucerne World Cup, she joined Mckellar in the W8 at Belgrade and then the pair in Linz.
The only other pre-qualified crew are the Marlow Rowing Club and Bann Rowing Club combination of Heidi Long and Hannah Scott. This looks to be a potential GB U23 pair for this year. Hannah Scott won the Champ 1X at the National Schools Regatta in 2017 and has just completed her Freshman year at Princeton University winning the ivy league Championships. Long, who studies at the University of Virginia, raced in the W8 at the U23 World Championships in 2016 winning a bronze medal and then again in the BW8 in 2017 that finished 6th.
Of the four crews required to qualify the favourites will probably be Natasha Harris-White and Laura Meridew of Leander Club. They were winners of the Championship W2- at Henley Women’s Regatta and also won at Ghent Regatta in both the W2- and as part of the Leander W8. Harris-White raced at the final GB Trials finishing 9th and Meridew reached the finals of the Senior W1X at the 2017 Henley Women’s Regatta.
Gemma and Katherine King of Lady Eleanor Holles School raced at Henley Women’s Regatta beating Newcastle University in the first round before losing to the eventual event winners from Leander. They won a bronze medal earlier in the season at the National Schools Regatta.
Imperial College’s Alex Stonehill and Joanna Thom raced Championship pairs at Henley Women’s losing to the Tideway Scullers School in the 2nd round. They rowed in the Imperial College W8 that took 3rd at the Women’s head of the River and earlier this season raced at the metropolitan Regatta finishing 4th.
The fourth and final crew trying to qualify are the Thames rowing club duo of Iona Casley and Lowenna Coad. Casley has just graduated from Cambridge and was a member of the CUWBC squad in 2018. Coad is a former winner in the Elite lightweight pairs at Henley Women’s regatta in 2015. This season they raced at the Metropolitan Regatta and finished 5th. They raced the Lightweight pairs at Henley Women’s Regatta losing in the final to Commercial Rowing Club of Ireland.
My picks…should be a comfortable win for Leander with the U23’s the ones most likely to face them in the final.
The Stonor Challenge Cup
Entries: 13 crews
To be reduced to 6 by qualifying races.
2 crews have been pre-qualified by the Stewards, the first of which are the Exeter University pairing of Susannah Duncan and Danielle Semple. They were winners of the Championships Lightweight Doubles at Henley Women’s Regatta. Duncan has two Junior World Championships Medals and two U23 A Final appearances to her name so far. 19 year-old Semple raced at the Junior World Championships finishing 4th in the JW4X. They both raced at the 3rd GB Assessment trials with Semple finishing 9th and Duncan 12th.
The 2nd pre-qualified crew are Saskia Budgett and Kyra Edwards, racing as Nottingham Rowing Club and Tideway Sculler School. Budgett won gold in the BW4x in 2017, daughter of Steward and Olympic Champion Richard Budgett – she is a student at UCLA – where she, has rowed in the Bruins’ top varsity eight crew in each of her three collegiate seasons. She earned All-Pac-12 acclaim for the first time in her career and was one of 12 student-athletes named to this season’s All-Pac-12 women’s rowing team. She is racing with Kyra Edwards who won silver in the JW4X in 2015 and then was part of the GB U23 team in 2016 and 2017 (subbing into the BW4X for the Heat in 2017)
Saskia Budgett of Tideway Scullers and Kyra Edwards of Nottingham
There are two overseas crews racing in this event, both of who are required to qualify. The first are Klara Grube and Skylar Jacobson of the University of Washington. Grube, from Germany, was a member of the JW8 that won a silver medal at the Junior World Championships in 2016. A freshman at Washington she raced in the Varsity 4 that won silver at the NCAA Championships. Jacobson, from Lakewood Washington, is a sophomore at UW and rowed in the Varsity 4 that won the PAC-12 championships and then joined Grube in the Varsity 4 that won silver at the NCAA’s.
The 2nd overseas crew are S Zhang and Y Zhu of Shanghai Jiao Tong University of China. I will have to admit I know nothing of this combination at the moment….if I find out anything I will update this entry.
Strong contenders for qualification are the Wallingford Rowing Club and Headington School combination of Katie Greves and Mattea Wuethrich . Rio Olympic silver medallist Katie Greves partners young Swiss talent, Mattea Wuethrich. The 19-year-old raced at the junior World Championships last season finishing 12th in the JW1X. They won Challenge W2X at Wallingford Regatta, and got to the semi-finals at HWR C2x. Beaten by the eventual winners.
The Nottingham rowing Club pairing of Annie Campbell-Orde and Sophie Connolly won a bronze medal at the Ghent Regatta earlier this season and were runners-up in the Champ W2X at the Metropolitan Regatta. They raced at Henley Women’s Regatta making the semi-final before losing to Leander.
Leander club made the final of Henley Women’s Regatta but make one change to that crew, Katie Maitland is now partnered by Georgie Brayshaw. Maitland is a graduate of Duke University in North Carolina (where she raced in the Varsity 8) Brayshaw is a product of the GB start programme and learnt to row in Leeds. She has wins at the British Championships and has trialled for the GB team including a strong 2nd place at the trials in November.
Paula Wesselmann and Emma Andrews of Cambridge University Women’s Boat Club, raced at the Henley Women’s Regatta beating Reading University in the first round before losing to Greves and Wuethrich. Wessellmann was a member of the victorious Cambridge Blue Boat this year and Andrews raced in the successful Blondie crew.
My picks…..should be a good contest between the lightweights of Exeter and the heavyweights of Nottingham/Tideway Scullers. Throw in the talented Nottingham and Washington crews and it’s al to play for. I’m going for a win for Saskia Budgett and Kyra Edwards.
Princess Grace Challenge Cup
The Princess Grace Challenge Cup
17 entries. To be reduced to 8 by qualifying races.
This looks set to be a showdown between the senior GB women’s quad (racing as Cambridge University Women’s Boat Club and Imperial College) and the senior Norwegian quad (racing as Christiania Roklub). The British quad, Mathilda Hodgkins-Byrne, Zoe Lee, Jess Leyden & Mel Wilson, finished 7th in their first outing of the 2018 season at the Linz World Cup. Leyden and Hodgkins-Byrne were U23 World Champions in the BW2X in 2016 and followed that up with a strong 2017 season taking bronze at the 1st World Cup, the European Championships and the World Championships in the W4x (with Holly Nixon and Beth Bryan). Zoe Lee was a member of the GB W8 that won a silver medal at the Rio Olympics (a few months after completing her PhD). She missed the 2017 season due to a severe knee injury, but she returned to competition in 2018 and secured her seat in the quad, a boat she last raced internationally in 2013. Mel Wilson only took up rowing at Cambridge and rapidly progressed making the GB U23 team in 2014 winning silver in the W8. She finished her Cambridge career stroking the winning Blue Boat in 2016. She made her senior International debut in 2017 finishing a superb 4th in the W2- at the World Championships.
Christiania Roklub are the Norwegian national squad. Marianne Madsen, Thea Helseth, Anna Sture & Inger Kavile. They raced at the Linz World Cup finishing 9th (5 seconds behind the British). Madsen was the Norwegian single sculler at last year’s World Championships where she finished 14th. 22 year-old Helseth also raced in the single last season when she finished 5th at the U23 World Championships. Sture is another 2017 U23 competitor and finished 11th in the BLW1X and Kavile, the oldest member of the crew at 24, was an U23 medallist back in 2014.
The 3rd pre-qualified crew are the British U23 quad racing as Edinburgh University and Leander Club. The crew is Anna Thornton, Zoe Adamson, Charlotte Hodgkins-Byrne (younger sister of Mathilda) and Lucy Glover. This is a very exciting young combination, all of whom are reigning World Champions – Glover, Hodgkins-Byrne and Thornton in the U23 BW4X and Adamson in the JW2X. Thornton studies at Washington University and was in the Huskies Varsity crew that won the PAC-12 Championships and were runners-up at the NCAA’s. Hodgkins-Byrne is a student at the University of London with whom she won gold in the W2X at the BUCS Regatta. She teamed up with Edinburgh University student Glover, to win the Champ W2X at Henley Women’s Regatta. They are an outstanding group of athletes and will be favourites to defend their U23 World title this year and could go all the way to the final at Henley Royal depending on which side of the draw they are on.
The 3rd pre-qualified crew are Reading University, Anna Smart, Francesca Bratt, Lucy Ryan and Chloe Knight. They raced at the BUCS Championships finishing 3rd. Francesca Bratt is studying in the US at the University of Oaklahoma and raced in their Varsity 8 that finished 2nd at the Big 12 Championships. Lightweight Anna Smart also raced at BUCS in the LW4X finishing 6th.
The final pre-Qulaified crew are the Huskies of the University of Washington, Julia Paulsen, Sara Clark, Carmela Pappalardo and Chiara Ondoli. Paulsen, from Seattle, rowed in the Huskies 2nd Varsity this season winning gold at the PAC-12’s and NCAA Championships. Californian Clark, rowed in the Varsity 4+ that won silver at the NCAA’s. In the stern are two Italians, Pappalardo and Ondoli. Pappalardo was also in the 2nd Varsity 8 for the PAC-12 and NCAA championships. Ondoli is the most experienced member of the crew, she rowed in the Washington Varsity 8 and was a junior World Champion in 2013 and then rowed in the Italian senior W4- at the World Championships in 2014. In 2016 she raced in the U23 BW4X finishing 4th. Washington aren’t renowned for their sculling crews but they are always strong and technically very good.
Of the remaining 13 entries only 4 will qualify. One of the favourites to take a qualifying spot will be Newcastle University and Sheffield University, Nicole Lamb, Amy Bowman, Lola Anderson and Frances Russell. They won Championship Women’s Quads at Henley Women’s Regatta (and perhaps might feel slightly aggrieved that the win didn’t see them pre-qualified). On their way to that victory they beat Leander and Thames, both of whom are also trying to qualify for this event.
Another strong contender for qualification is the Sydney University/Edinburgh University composite. This crew includes Cara Grzeskowiak (who is also racing in the Princess Royal) Emma Ewing (who raced in the Australian U23 W8 in 2016 and also raced in the Champ 1X at Henley Women’s losing to Grzeskowiak in the final) and Cara Simpson (who lost to her team-mate in the final of Henley Women’s). They are joined by Scot Laura McDonald. She won bronze in the LW4X at the BUCS Regatta and won Champ Lightweight 1X at Henley Women’s.
The Dutch of Roeivereeniging Willem III are also good contenders to qualify. The team has been part of Willem Jan de Widt training group for 4 years now, and have been competing in various regattas, including the Junior World Championships and Coupe de la Jeunesse. Because 3 of the 4 crew members are currently studying in the US with a rowing scholarship at various Universities, they haven’t been racing in this line up this year. The 3 studying in the US, are at Austin (Fanny Bon & Mick Jonkers) and Virginia (Catharina Wiersma), reaching 3rd and 4th place ranking respectively in the NCAA, last month .For this year they preferred the HRR with their own team rather than racing for the Netherlands at the U23 WCH in Poznan.
My picks…the senior GB quad – Cambridge/Imperial should win this. Hopefully the draw will pit the U23’s against the Norwegians for a place in the final which could be a really good race. I’m going for an all-GB final with the seniors seeing off the U23’s (but not by much)
The Town Challenge Cup
Holders: Hollandia Roeiclub, Netherlands
15 entries. To be reduced to 8 by qualifying races.
The Stewards have pre-qualified 5 crews with the remaining 10 vying for the 3 remaining spots. This should be a good battle between a number of GB squad crews a Franco-Aussie composite and an U23 US crew.
The first pre-qualified crew are Lyon & Melbourne University. Lea Duret and Claire Chanut from Lyon raced in the W2- at the Lucerne World Cup in 2017. Olivia Honore and Fiona Ewing are the Aussie part of the crew. Ewing is doubling up in the Princess Grace quad as well so will have plenty of races (assuming the quad qualifies). Honore rowed in the Melbourne University W8 that won the Australian University Championships in 2015.
The first of the home crews that have pre-qualified are Leander Club and Bath University. This crew includes Sam Courty and Emily Ford who raced in W8 at the Linz World Cup this season. Courty was also a member of the GB W4- that competed at the World Championships last year. Ford is a double U23 medallist and made her senior debut this season racing in te pair at the Belgrade World Cup before moving into the W8 for Linz. They are joined by Emily Ashford and Georgia Francis. Ashford finally made her senior debut this year (racing the W2- in Belgrade with Ford) after missing all of the 2016-17 season with injury. Francis made her senior debut in 2017 winning the B Final of W2X at the Europeans and was selected as the sculling spare for the 2017 World Championships.
The next pre-qualified boat is Molesey Boat Club with Emma McDonald, Lucy Primmer, Rebecca Edwards and Katie Bartlett. They were winners of the Championship W4- at Henley Women’s Regatta beating Oxford Brookes by ½ length. Bartlett was a member of the GB U23 BW8 that won silver in 2014 and bronze in 2015. She and Edwards finished 8th at the final GB Trials and as a four they won at Ghent International Regatta and also recorded a win at Ratzeburg regatta defeating a German composite crew into 2nd and Oxford Brookes into 3rd.
The 3rd pre-qualified boat are the likely US U23 BW4- racing as the Princeton Training Centre. Meghan Gutknecht, Sophia Sobotta, Niamh Martin and Sarah Johanek. Gutknecht, from the University of Michigan, raced in the US u23 BW4X last year finishing 6th. She rowed in the Michigan varsity 8 that won silver at the Big Ten Championships. Sobotta has just finished her Senior year at the University of Southern California and was in the Varsity 8 that finished 12th at the NCAA Championships. Martin rowed in the Varsity 8 at Wisconsin that finished 15th at NCAA’s. Rounding off the crew is Johanek who rowed for the Rutgers Varsity.
The final pre-qualified crew is another senior GB team boat racing as University of London and Agecroft Rowing Club. This boat has half of the Great Britain W8 that raced at the Linz world Cup, Rebecca Chin, Caragh McMurtry, Sara Parfett and Joe Wratten. They also raced as a foursome at the Belgrade world Cup finishing 8th of the 9 crews. Chin raced in the w4- at the World Championships back in 2015 winning a silver medal. McMurtry represented GB in this boat class at last year’s World Championships winning the B Final. Both Wratten and Parfett made their international debut last season racing in the W8 at the European Championships and the 2nd and 3rd world Cups, winning a silver and bronze medal.
Of the crews that need to qualify the University of London look to be one of the strongest, Alessandra French, Georgia Statham, Fi Gannon & Isobel Powell were winners of Champ 4’s at the BUCS Regatta. French, Statham and Powell were all members of the GB BW8 that finished 6th at the 2017 U23 World Championships. Gannon raced at the Junior World Championships in 2015 placing 6th in the JW4-.
As is often the case these days, the Yale University crew has a very international flavour with an American, and Australian a Canadian and a Brit on board. Meg Galloway is the sole US representative in the crew she and Aussie Sophie Deans were in the Yale 2V that finished 8th at the Ivy League Championships. They are joined by Freshmen, Claire Dirks from Australia and GB’s Katie King-Smith.
Leander lost to Molesey in the semi-finals of Henley Women’s Regatta but they will be confident of qualifying for the main draw. Their crew is Bayly Camp, a Kiwi and graduate of Oregon state, Chloe Laverack, a 2017 Oxford Blue, Flo Donald, a Junior international who raced at the 2017 Junior World Championships and Rachel Heap another junior international who raced at the 2017 Worlds.
My picks….I think this could come down to a battle of the squad boats….I’m going for a UL/Agecroft win ahead of the Leander/Bath composite.
The Remenham Challenge Cup
Th Remenham Challenge Cup
Holders: Waiariki Rowing Club, New Zealand
19 entries. To be reduced to 12 by Qualifying races.
This event sees the national squads of both Australia and Great Britain square off against a number of US , British and Dutch Universities and clubs. The Australian crew (racing as National Training Centre Australia) at Henley is very different the one that beat Great Britain at the Linz World Cup. Lucy Stephan, Katrina Werry, Sarah Hawe and Molly Goodman were W4- World Champions last year and they are joined by Rosemary Popa who was in the W4- that won in Linz, Jacinta Edmunds and Ciona Wilson (who were in the W8 in Linz), Annabel McIntyre (a silver medallist in the BW2- at the 2107 U23 World Championships).
Great Britain, racing as Leander Club and The University of London, are unchanged from the crew that finished 4th at the Linz world Cup with Anastasia Chitty, Katherine Douglas, Holly Hill, Beccy Girling, Karen Bennett, Holly Norton, Fi Gammond and Rebecca Shorten. They were just edged out of the medals by the Australian 8 at Linz having taken silver at the first World Cup in Poznan. Great Britain (also racing as Leander Club and the University of London) lost in the final last year to the Kiwis and they’ll be anxious to avoid a 2nd antipodean defeat.
Also pre-qualified are Princeton Training Centre USA, this is the likely US U23 crew for the World Championships in Poznan at the end of July. The crew has four members of the Stanford varsity 8 Chase Shepley, Alie Rusher, Kaitlyn Kynast and cox Leigh Warner. Joining them are two Princeton Tigers, Hadley Irwin and Claire Collins and the Sam Lamos from Cal, Liliane Lindsay from Yale and Harvard’s Teresa Rokos. Collins has already represented the US with a silver medal in the BW8 last season and Alie Rusher rowed in the U23 BW4- in 2017.
A number of US Universities have been pre-qualified including the University of Washington, Yale University and the Iowa University A crew. Washington are probably the pick of the three. They have brought a mix of the 1st and 2nd Varsity boats, with Brooke Mooney, Tabea Schendekehl, Marlee Blue and Elise Beuke from the 1st varsity boat that finished 2nd at the NCAA’s and Katy Gillingham, Jessica Thoennes, Karle Pittsinger and Brooke Pierson from the 2nd Varsity that won gold in their event at the NCAA’s. It’ll be really interesting if the draw pits Washington against the US U23 crew!
Yale have brought their full Varsity line-up (with one change). They were runners-up at the Ivy League Championships and finished 9th at the NCAA’s. At Henley Women’s Regatta they reached the final, defeating the Irish from Galway and the University of Iowa en-route before losing the GB U23 crew in the final
The Iowa Hawkeyes finished 11th in the NCAA championships this year, only the 3rd time the University has qualified for the end of season championships.
A.S.R Nereus of the Netherlands are one of the crews that have to qualify, but they will be one of the favourites to progress. Their crew includes Kirsten Wielaard who raced in the W8 at the senior World Championships last year. Also in the crew are a couple of U23 internationals, Bente Paulis and Martine Van Den Boomgaard, both of whom were in the Us3 BW4X.
Oxford Brookes will be expecting to qualify, they finished 2nd at BUCS regatta and for Henley they have combined 3 of the crew that were runners-up in the Championship 4’s at Henley Women’s Regatta (Zoe Taylor, Annie Withers and Susannah Dear) with five of the crew that won Academic 8’s at Henley Women’s (Ella Morgan, Jo Gannon, Aly Vogelzang, and Madeleine Dobson). Should Brookes qualify they will be relishing the chance to have a crack at some of the US crews.
Another US University entered for this event are Grand Valley State (known as the Laker Navy). They have their full Varsity line-up that finished 5th at the Dad Vails and then rounded off with an excellent bronze at the ACRA Championships.
Other potential crews to qualify are Newcastle University (runners-up to Oxford Brookes at Henley Women’s) and Tideway Scullers School who won the Aspirational Club 8’s at HWR.
My picks…going to be a good one between Australia and GB….I’m going to go for a home win.