Henley Royal Regatta Preview part 5 – The Student and Junior events

With racing kicking off tomorrow I’ve just got time to look at the student and junior events…


Temple Challenge Cup


The Temple Challenge Cup

Holders: Oxford Brookes University

Selected crews: Proteus-Eretes Netherlands, University of Washington USA, Princeton University USA, Yale University USA, Brown University USA, Newcastle University “A”, Oxford Brookes University “A”, Syracuse University USA


Oxford Brookes “A”: The holders, having won the last two editions of this event. The production line rolls on for Oxford Brookes – this crew won Championship Eights at BUCS Regatta and were second at Ratzeburg Regatta, behind their Ladies Plate entry. They also recorded the fastest time ever by a Temple eligible Brookes crew in that race – 5:33. They are the fastest Temple crew from the UK, the question is, how do they match-up to the rest of the world.

Brookes have a 2nd crew racing and their “A” crew will be watching their “B” crew race with great interest – not just to support their club mates, but also because the “B” crew are racing one of their main rivals for the event – The University of Washington. A combination of athletes from the first, second and third Varsity Eights. The University of Washington won the James Ten Eyck Trophy as the overall points winner for the 11th time in the last 12 years at the IRA National Championships – they won both the Second and Third Varsity Eight titles. They last won this event in 2012 with a freshman eight. UW and Brookes “A” are on opposite sides of the draw so this sets up a potentially mouth-watering final on Sunday (if the form book runs true).

Another selected crew in the top half of the draw are the Dutch of Proteus-Eretes.  They finished 3rd in the ARB Regatta behind Nereus and a Gyas/Skadi/Vidar/Skoll composite. At the Holland beker recently they split into Senior and Development 4+’s both reaching the A-Final of their respective events.

The next Selected crew are Princeton University. This is the Princeton’s lightweight eight, who were silver medallists in the lightweight category at the IRA National Championships and Eastern Sprints. The most successful lightweight eight from Princeton since 2010, they’re looking to become the tenth crew from the Tigers to win at Henley. The crew includes Brits Adam Teece and Marcus Jonas.

The final selected crew in the top half of the draw are Yale University. Another extremely strong US crew, This crew is led by Cole Tilden from the IRA Championship winning 1st Varsity 8 along with members of the Yale 2nd and 3rd Varsity Eights. This crew includes Angus Morrison, who has been voted as Captain of Boats next season. The Second Varsity crew beat Harvard in their annual match and finished third at the IRA National Championships. Yale could well be the strongest crew in the top half of the draw and will have a potential showdown with Washington in the semi-final.

In the lower half of the draw Brown University are the first Selected crew. Several British athletes on-board – former junior world oarsman Oscar Bird and Coupe gold medallist Thomas Phelps (winner of the Thames Challenge Cup last year). Finalists in 2014, Brown finished sixth in the Varsity Eight final at the IRA National Championships and won a bronze at the Eastern Sprints. This is largely their Varsity Eight and as such, should pose the biggest challenge to Oxford Brookes’ defence of their title.

Apart from Brookes, the only other British selected crew are Newcastle University. Third in Championship Eights at Marlow Regatta only 2 seconds behind the Leander Ladies Plate crew, and fourth in the same event at BUCS Regatta, this is the strongest Newcastle Temple eight for a few years and the draw could give them a potential meeting with Brown University on Friday.

Syracuse University are the final selected crew in the event. Visiting Henley Royal Regatta for the first time in eleven years, Syracuse are one of nine NCAA Division 1 institutions competing in the Temple Challenge Cup this year. Their Varsity Eight finished second in the Petite Final at the IRA Championships. They face a tough first round All-American meeting against Cornell University One of the most prestigious lightweight programs in the world, this Cornell crew is a combination of the second Varsity Eight, third Varsity Eight and Varsity four. Both of the eights finished sixth in their petite finals at the IRAs. Their match-up with the Syracuse heavyweights could be one of the highlights of the first round of racing.

Surprisingly not selected are the 2015 winners from A.S.R Nereus in the Netherlands. This crew finished 2nd at the ARB Regatta (beating the Selected Proteus-Eretes) four of the crew won the HG 4+ A-Final at the prestigious Varsity Regatta in April. They have another mouth-watering first round contest against their rivals from Proteus. I’ve a feeling the guys from Nereus will making the Stewards regret their decision to select the Proteus instead of them.

Temple University of the USA are competing at the regatta for the first time since 1994 and are coming off the back of an excellent season which saw them claim the Dad Vail title and qualify for the IRA Championships. The only drawback for Temple is that they will have to be without their strongest rower, U23 World Champion Seb Devereux, who is not eligible for this event. There’s will be a tough battle as they face another all-American 1st round race against the Selected crew from Yale.

The Irish from Trinity College Dublin will also be looking to do well in the bottom half of the draw. This crew finished fifth in Championship Eights at Marlow Regatta. They won their annual Boat Race against Queen’s University, Belfast and were awarded ‘Team of the Year’ by Trinity Sport – they also won at the Trinity Regatta, defeating defending national champions Commercial RC in the process. They face the University of London “B” crew on Wednesday and then a potential match up with the winner of the Syracuse/Cornell race.

The final crew that deserves a mention are Shiplake College. This is their J16 crew and the youngest male crew in the entire regatta. They’ve had an outstanding season, winning at the National Schools Regatta and to qualify for the Temple is the icing on the cake and will stand them in good stead for when they move to the Princess Elizabeth event next year.

My picks…this should work out to be an Oxford Brookes v either Yale or Washington in the final (although Nereus may have something to say about that). It should be a cracking final and I’m going for Brookes to retain their title.


The Prince Albert Challenge Cup


The Prince Albert Challenge Cup

Holders: Newcastle University

Selected crews: University of London, Durham University “A”, Grand Valley State University USA, Columbia University “A”, A.S.R Nereus Netherlands, Goldie Boat Club

The University of London are the first Selected crew in the top half of the draw. This is UL’s second-ranked crew (with their top crew racing in the Visitors Challenge Cup) the boat is coxed by three-times Cambridge Blue Ian Middleton. This crew finished second in Championship Coxed Fours at Marlow Regatta. They raced the eight at the Metropolitan Regatta, finishing third in Challenge Eights.

The 2nd Selected crew are Durham University “A” crew. Stroked by former Henley winner and two-times junior international Oscar Lindsay, this crew were second in Championship Coxed Fours at the Metropolitan Regatta but won the event at Marlow Regatta. They also took silver in the Champ 4- at the BUCS Regatta. After a lean few years, this Durham crew look like one of the home favourites approaching the Regatta, having all their main domestic rivals at Marlow Regatta.

The final Selected crew in the top half of the draw are Grand Valley State University from Michigan. They have brought crews to race at both Henley Women’s and Henley Royal. Only one of their men’s fours qualified for the main draw. This is half of their Varsity 8 which finished 13th at the Dad Vail Regatta in May and 8th at the ACRA Championships. They face a very tough 1st round draw against Imperial College who will perhaps be a bit disappointed not to be Selected. Imperial were winners of Championship Coxed Fours at BUCS Regatta and Metropolitan Regatta. This is their top-ranked crew, with cox Wilf Le Brocq a former junior international and Casper Woods a junior world champion and National Schools’ gold medallist with St Paul’s School. With a considerable amount of international experience, this crew should be considered as one of the favourites.

In the lower half of the draw the first Selected boat are the Lightweights from Columbia University USA. Making their fourth appearance at Henley Royal Regatta in the past six seasons, this crew are one half of the Lightweight Varsity Eight who won the IRA National Championships and Eastern Sprints. One of the strongest lightweight programs in the USA, the eight Varsity athletes are also joined by several of the undefeated Second Varsity Eight. Columbia face 2016 winners Edinburgh University in the first round. They were 3rd in the B-Final of Championship 4+ at Marlow and 4th in Championship 4+ at the BUCS Regatta.

ASR Nereus of the Netherlands will be one of the favourites among the overseas crews. They finished 1st in the HG4+ at the ARB Regatta and 3rd at the Varsity Championships. Nereus have yet to reach the final of the Prince Albert and they face a tough first round race against the Irish from N.U.I Galway.

The final Selected crew in the lower half of the draw are Goldie Boat Club. This is half of the successful Goldie eight that won the reserve Boat Race in March. They finished 3rd in championship 4+ at Marlow behind Durham and UL. They face Oxford Brookes in round 1 which will be a test. A number of the Brookes crew finished 3rd at the BUCS Regatta and have been part of the various strong Brookes boats during the summer.

There are two other overseas crews racing in this event, the Dutch from D.S.R Laga and the Americans from the University of California, Irvine.

D.S.R Laga include Roelant Feldbrugge, who made the semi-finals of the Fawley Challenge Cup with Hilversumse Roeivereniging Cornelis Tromp in 2013, this crew finished third in men’s heavyweight coxless fours at the ARB Regatta and second in the same category at the ZRB Regatta. D.S.R. Laga won the Temple Challenge Cup in 2013 but haven’t made the finals since.

University of California, Irvine were silver medallists in the Varsity Four at the WIRA Championships in April, the University of California, Irvine are sending a crew to Henley Royal Regatta for the first time in nearly 40 years.

My picks….I’m going for a Durham win


Finally a few comments on the Junior events. Time is against me meaning I haven’t been able to do a detailed preview of these events. However, the great guys and girls at Junior Rowing News have done some exhaustive previews so I recommend checking them out.

But, here are my (brief) thoughts on the Junior events

The Princess Elizabeth Challenge Cup


The Princess Elizabeth Challenge Cup

Holders: Scotch College Australia

Selected Crews: Brunswick School USA, Shiplake College, Radley College, Latymer Upper School, St Paul’s School, Shrewsbury School, Bedford School, Eton College, St Joseph’s Nudgee College Australia, St Edwards School

There is, really, only one school in this. St Paul’s are one of the finest schoolboy crew I’ve ever seen – certainly up there with the Eton crew of 2009-10 and the legendary Hampton crew of 1986. Bobby Thatcher has produced an outstanding unit that no other school in the UK can get close to. They won the National School’s Regatta by a massive 15 seconds. They also won Champ 4- and were runners-up in Champ 4+. They have wins at the Head of The Charles, the Pairs Head, Sculler’s Head, fours Head and School’s Head. At Marlow Regatta they finished 2 seconds behind the Leander Ladies Plate crew in a time of 5:36.5 – just 0.6 seconds off the World Best time for a JM8! During the warm up to Henley they’ve raced (and beaten) Thames, Oslo and Montclair from the Thames Cup and also Brown University from the Temple.


The Fawley Challenge Cup


The Fawley Challenge Cup

Holders: The Windsor Boys School

Selected Crews: The Windsor Boys School, Westminster School, Sydney Rowing Club Australia, Gloucester Rowing Club, Warrington Rowing Club, Leander Club, Henley Rowing Club “A”, Maidenhead Rowing Club.

This event has provided some fantastic racing over the years, and last year’s final was one of the bet. Windsor Boys are back to defend their title. They had a slightly disappointing race at the National Schools finishing 5th but stepped on significantly at Marlow Regatta, winning Junior Quads and then, 2 hours later, racing in championship quads had a great battle with arch rivals Maidenhead, finishing just over a second behind.

Maidenhead are the form crew so far this year. Their trophy cabinet has already had quite a boost this year: National Schools Regatta 2018 – Gold in Champs 4x, Junior Sculling Head (Oarsport) 2018 – Gold in J18 4x, Schools Head of the River 2018 – Gold in Champs 4x. Victor Kleshnev, Edoardo Marshall and Elliott Kemp were selected to represent GB at Munich International Junior Regatta and all medalled there. Harrison Rowe raced at all GB Senior and U23 trials this season in U23 Lwt 1x, he was invited to the last selection in April and was 16th overall there. All four scullers represented GB last summer and medalled – Victor at Junior World Championships, Harrison, Edoardo and Elliott at Coupe de la Jeaunesse.

Sydney Rowing Club could well be the dark horses of the event. They last won the Fawley in 2011 and will be strong contenders this year. This crew have been rowing together and competing as a development group at SRC since 2017 when Harry Crouch was selected in the Australian JM4x and Tom Galloway teamed with Ash Nicholls to win gold in the NSW Sprint Championship. Galloway rowed at Shore School, Crouch and Potter at Newington and Nicholls at Kings. Following on from 2017 they attended the club s 2018 Jindabyne camp in January and represented SRC in various combinations including a quad that won the B Grade 4x at the Ed Trickett Grade Championships. Tom Galloway also won a silver medal at the same regatta representing SRC in the Men’s A Grade 4-

Leander Club will be another crew to watch in this event. They’ve never won this event as a single club and last won it as a composite back in 2002. They were 4th at the National Schools and runners-up to Windsor in the Junior Quads at Marlow.

My money is on Maidenhead to take their first ever win in this event.


The Diamond Jubilee Challenge Cup


The Diamond Jubilee Challenge Cup

Holders: Gloucester

Selected crews: Latymer Upper “A”, Henley Rowing Club “A”, Y Quad Cities Rowing Association USA, Sydney Rowing Club Australia, Marlow Rowing Club, Headington School.

No overseas crew has ever won this event, but the Americans from Y Quad Cities Rowing Association could well be the first. They won the US Youth National Championships by 11 seconds and are, perhaps, the strongest US quad to ever enter the Diamond Jubilee.

Henley Rowing Club are the dominant force in British women’s youth rowing at the moment. Winners in 8’s and quads at the National School’s Regatta and JW4X at Henley Women’s Regatta it will take something special to deny Henley their own “Triple” on home water.

Sydney could be another storng entry. Half of this crew raced at Henley Women’s Regatta in 2017 losing in the semi-final. They went on to win silver in the JW4X at the Holland Beker. In 2018 they won silver in the U19 W4X at the National Regatta. The crew won a Gold medal rowing in W B grade 4x at the Edward Trickett Regatta Grade championships in 2018.

My picks…Henley and Y Quad are slated to meet each other in the 2nd round which should be a cracking race. I think the winner of that encounter will go on to win the whole event, and I think that will be Henley.


Henley Royal Regatta Preview part 4.2- The Britannia Challenge Cup

Following on from the Club events preview yesterday here is the one for the Britannia Challenge Cup which I didn’t have time to complete…..

Britannia Challenge Cup


The Britannia Challenge Cup

Holders: NSR Oslo, Norway

Selected crews: Molesey Boat Club “A”, SC DHfK Leipzig Germany, Vesta Rowing Club, Thames Rowing Club “A”, D.S.R Copenhagen Denmark, Sydney Rowing Club Australia.

In the top half of the draw the first Selected crew are Molesey Boat Club “A”. This is a young crew of juniors, including Michael Dalton and Theo Darlow who rowed for GB at the Munich Junior International Regatta. At Marlow Regatta they finished 5th in Championship coxed fours only 6/10ths behind their Britannia Cup rivals from Thames (the top three crews were all University crews racing in the Prince Albert). They also won Tier 2 coxed fours at the Metropolitan Regatta.

The 2nd Selected crew in the top half of the draw are the Germans from SC DhFK Leipzig. This crew, like Molesey, is a young crew and has a couple of athletes that raced at the Munich Junior regatta this season, Paul Hendrik Dohrmann and Richard Aurich (Dohrmann was in the JM4- that finished 2nd to the British boat containing Molesey’s Theo Darlow). Bowman William Strulick is another competitor from the Munich Junior Regatta, although he rowed in the 2017 version.

The 3rd of the Selected crew in the top half of the draw are from Vesta Rowing Club in Putney. Containing remnants of the crew who made the semi-finals of the Wyfold Challenge Cup in 2013, this crew were sixth in Championship Coxed Fours at Marlow Regatta and third in Challenge Coxed Fours at Wallingford Regatta. A powerful unit with plenty of experience.

Moving to the bottom half of the draw, the first Selected crew are Thames Rowing Club “A”. This is Thames’ 2nd ranked boat (not the Wyfold crew as erroneously mentioned earlier). This crew won the Championship 4’s at the Metropolitan Regatta and were the fastest Britannia Challenge Cup crew in Championship coxed 4’s at Marlow. Back in May ¾ of this crew raced in the M4+ at Ghent Regatta in Belgium winning gold (that crew had Tom Foad instead of Mike Trevena)

Thames face Agecroft Rowing Club in the first round which should be a good contest. Agecroft won the ‘B’ final of Championship Coxed Fours at Marlow Regatta and finished sixth at the Metropolitan Regatta in the same event. Agecroft’s top-ranked crew at the regatta they have had a good season and are building on the success of winning the Jackson Trophy at the Head of the River in March.

The next Selected boat in the lower half of the draw are the Danes from D.S.R Copenhagen. Although rowing as a Danish club there’s a distinctly English feel to this crew as it includes Fred Vystavel, who has raced at Henley for Westminster School, Princeton University and Elizabethan Boat Club. Also in the boat is Moritz Schneider who rowed for Sport Imperial in this event, losing in the final to Bayer Leverkusen. Mark Hartsteen in the bow seat rowed for Denmark at the U23 World Championships in 2013 finishing 13th in the BM1X. The 4th member of the crew is Nicolai Bernsen, who will celebrate his 20th birthday on the Saturday of the regatta. He raced for Denmark at the Junior World Championships in 2016. This is a very strong-looking crew and could go all the way to the final.

Sydney Rowing Club are the final selected crew in the draw. Alex Nichol and Jackson Kench were members of the Australian U21 team that won the first leg of the Trans-Tasman Regatta against New Zealand last month. Three of this crew, Kench, Nichol and Clinton Boltman won the U21 M4+ at the Sydney International Regatta in March. Sydney won this event in 2015 and raced in this event last year reaching Friday’s racing before going down to the eventual champions from Oslo.

Tideway Sculler’s School last won this event in 2010 and they have qualified two crews for this year. The Sculler’s “A” crew finished second at Wallingford Regatta in Challenge Coxed Fours and made the B-Final of Championship 4’s at marlow (although they withdrew before that race). Kieran Brown and Murray Wilkojc  (a finalist from the Wyfold last year) raced a pair at the Metropolitan Regatta, finishing second in Championship Pairs. The Sculler’s B crew are highly experienced as well with a number of Henley finalists on board like Adam Lodygowski, Nathan O’Reilly and Stuart Heap. They have a tough first round draw against the young Selected Molesey crew but it could be a cracking race.

My picks….this is really too close to call and could go to any one of 4-5 crews. But I’m going to go for a win for the youngsters of Molesey.



Henley Royal Regatta Preview part 4: The Club Events

Time now for some of the most popular events at the regatta….the club events.


The Thames Challenge Cup


The Thames Challenge Cup

Holders: Thames Rowing Club

Selected Crews: Cork Boat Club Ireland, Leander Club, N.S.R Oslo Norway, Thames R.C “A”

Thames Rowing Club come into Henley as winners of 2 of the last 3 Thames Cups (Their win in 2015 was their first since the war). Last year saw an All-Thames final and this year’s crew has three returners from that race, Ben Thomas and Ian Hurley from the winning “A” crew and Sam Thornton from the losing “B” crew.. Thames have established themselves as favourites with strong results at the Metropolitan Regatta where they finished 2nd in the A-Final at the Metropolitan Regatta (losing to their training partners from St Paul’s School). They had a bit of a disappointing Time Trial at Marlow which relegated them to the B-Final of Championship 8’s which they duly won in a time of 5:38 (which would’ve placed them 4th in the A-Final (just ahead of the Leander Club Thames Cup crew).

The other selected crew in Thames’ side of the draw are the Irish from Cork Boat Club. They won the B-Final of Challenge 8’s at the Metropolitan Regatta. Four of the crew won the Intermediate 4+ at Cork City Regatta last week.

The lower half of the draw sees the selected crews as Leander Club and the Norwegians from NSR Oslo.  The Norwegians from NSR Oslo are, perhaps the biggest challengers to Thames. They won the Britannia Challenge Cup in 2017 and were beaten finalists in the Thames Cup in 2016. They have three of the 2016 crew returning, Hallvard Bjorkelund, Markus Holmemo and Patrick Een Sture.  The crew includes the Norwegian M4- that raced at the 2nd World Cup in 2013 (Lars Myhrer, Sven Nicolaysen, Bjorkelund & Holmemo). Sture also has senior international honours to his name having raced in the LM1X at the 1st and 2nd World Cups in 2016. This crew raced at Ratzeburg regatta finishing 8th behind three Oxford Brookes 8’s and crews from Poland, Germany and China.

Leander Club finished 5th in Challenge 8’s at the Metropolitan Regatta 8 seconds behind Thames, and at Marlow Regatta they finished 4th in championship 8’s. This is the Pink Palace’s development crew and contains a number of young athletes making the transition from Junior to Senior. Both Joe Wolfin and Jonno Cameron have winner’s medals from the Fawley Challenge Cup.

This event also includes a couple of crews from the USA, the pick of which are the Montclair Mounties from New Jersey. This is predominantly a High school crew that were planning on entering the Princess Elizabeth, however a road traffic accident meant that two of the original crew were unable to row, so two recent graduates were brought into the crew which unfortunately meant they were unable to race in the PE and have switched to the Thames. They have established themselves as one of the fastest junior crews in the USA, winners of the prestigious Stotesbury Cup. They face Upper Thames in the first round and will be looking to progress.

The 2nd US crew are from Potomac Boat Club. This is a mixed crew of students and masters rowers (with an age range from 22 to 40) and will be racing at Henley Masters as well as Henley Royal.

Molesey last won this event in 2016 and will be hoping to do well this year, they face Kingston in the first round and will be confident of progressing to a potential meeting with the Selected Norwegians in round 2. So far this season the men in black have a 5th place in the B Final of Challenge 8’s at the Met and 6th in Championship 8’s at Marlow (posting a time of 5:47).

Agecroft have qualified two crews for the main draw, their A Crew were winners of the Club 8’s at Marlow and 7th in the C Final of Challenge 8’s at the Metropolitan. They face Vesta in the 1st round

London Rowing Club last won a club event at Henley in 2011 (The Wyfold) and it’s been 12 years since they last made the final of the Thames Cup. This year’s crew finished 5th in the ‘B’ final of Championship Eights at Marlow Regatta. They were also fifth in the final of club eights at Wallingford Regatta.

The final crew to mention are Royal Chester Rowing Club, 3rd  in the final of Championship Eights at Marlow Regatta and 4th  in Challenge Eights at the Metropolitan Regatta, Royal Chester consistently enter a strong Thames Cup crew although they’ve yet to make it to the weekend’s racing.

My picks…the draw should provide a comfortable route for Thames to the final, but a potential final between Oslo and Leander could be good. I’m predicting a Thames v Leander final with Thames retaining their title


The Wyfold Challenge Cup


The Wyfold Challenge Cup

Holders: Sport Imperial Boat Club

Selected crews: Aviron Grenoblois France, Swan River Rowing Club Australia, Upper Yarra Australia, Wairau Rowing Club New Zealand, Dresdner Ruder-Club 1902 Germany, Mercantile Rowing Club Australia, Potomac Boat Club USA, RTHC Bayer Leverkusen Germany

Somewhat surprisingly the Stewards haven’t selected a single home crew in this event and the likes of Molesey and Thames could feel somewhat aggrieved not to get the nod from the Stewards.

But, in the top half of the draw the first Selected crew are the French from Aviron Grenoblois. This crew includes former U23 international Jean Noury who rowed in the U23 BM8 that finished 6th at the 2015 U23 World Championships. He’s joined by Loic Lezarme, Antoine Lagouge and B Belinghan. They were all members of the Grenobles M8 that won silver at the French Championships.

The 2nd selected crew in the top half of the draw are Swan River Rowing Club of Australia. This crew will be of particular interest to former Cambridge coach and Head of Rowing at King’s School Ely, Mark Beer, who takes up the post of chief coach at Swan River in the autumn. They are a young crew, all still 18, but have already racked up a number of medals between them at state and national level. At the recent Sydney International Regatta Tim Sanders and Riley King were members of the U21 M4+ that won bronze.

The 2nd Aussie selected crew are also in the top half of the draw, Upper Yarra Rowing Club from Melbourne. This is the club name for Melbourne University Boat Club. They have been in this country for a couple of weeks and raced at Marlow Regatta where they finished 5th in the B-Final of Championship 4-. They also raced at the Sydney International Regatta in March finishing 5th in the final of the open M4-.

The final selected crew in the top half of the draw at the New Zealanders of Wairau Rowing Club. These could well be one of the strongest crews in the top half of the draw. Three of the crew, Troy O’Reilly, Tufi Sele and Joe Trappitt won a bronze medal in the Senior M8 at the New Zealand National championships earlier this year. The 4th member of the crew, Josh Earl won multiple medals at the New Zealand University championships, including gold in the championship M2- with senior international Dirkus Conradie.

The lower half of the draw has Dresdener Ruder-Club as a selected crew. Not much information on this crew at the time of writing. The crew is J Florian, R Bischof, B Burgdorf and M Boese.


The next selected crew in the lower half of the draw is the 3rd Australian boat, Mercantile Rowing Club from Melbourne. Benjamin Canham and Angus Maloney raced in the U23 M4- at the Sydney International finishing 4th and also in the u23 M8 winning silver. Jack Kelly from Banks Rowing Club raced in the open M2X at Sydney and the 4th member of the crew, Mitch Hooper won bronze in the U21 M2X. A number of the crew also raced at the Victoria State Championships winning gold in the M8.

Potomac Boat Club of the USA are the 3rd Selected crew in the lower half of the draw, and as with their Thames Cup 8 they are a mix of students and masters rowers. Their Wyfold crew includes former Harvard Lightweight and London Rowing Club oarsman Craig Herron.

The final selected crew in the draw is the 2nd German crew of RTHC Bayer Leverkusen. Regular visitors to the Regatta and winners of the Britannia Challenge Cup in 2016, RTHC Bayer Leverkusen always bring powerful, well-drilled crews to Henley Royal Regatta. Leon Lenzen and Adrian Ernst won gold in the lightweight men’s four at the recent German Championships whilst Julius Chrsit and Robin Goeritz won a silver in the men’s four.

Outside of the selected crews the strongest of the home crews is likely to be between Molesey Boat Club and Thames Rowing Club. Molesey, with former junior international Oli Knight on-board, who has made three HRR finals with Walton and St Edward’s School, this crew raced at Ratzeburg regatta where it won a bronze and silver medal on the Saturday and Sunday.

Thames Rowing Club will be strong contenders in this event. The club’s second-ranked crew, who finished fourth in Championship Coxless Fours at Marlow Regatta but crucially ahead of all other Wyfold competition.

A club which has qualified for Henley for the first time are Rex Boat Club, this is the alumni club for Kings School Chester, all the crew still live in and around Chester and have continued their rowing as part of the Kings Chester network. It’s great to see new clubs in the main draw at Henley.

Another club I’m particularly proud to see make the main draw are Ardingly Rowing Club from West Sussex. A club that were foolish enough to make me an honorary member….what is it Groucho Marx said about not wanting to be a part of any club that would have him as a member ;)…But, Ardingly have qualified, and qualified well. They were runners-up in the tier 2 M4- at Marlow Regatta behind the Eton Vikings Visitors crew.

Bewdley Rowing Club could do quite well, A crew that contains several athletes who won the Temple Challenge Cup for Oxford Brookes in 2014. They were fifth in Championship Coxless Fours at the Metropolitan Regatta and sixth in Challenge Coxless Fours at Wallingford Regatta. They face Exeter Rowing Club in the first round and then meet the winners between Mercantile and Strathclyde.

Lea Rowing Club last won at this event in 1995 and they have a strong crew this season. A very strong club crew, who finished sixth in Championship Coxless Fours at Marlow Regatta. They were third in the same category at the Metropolitan Regatta. The club’s top ranked crew and arguably the strongest they’ve had at the Regatta for several years.

Tideway Sculler’s School have been losing finalists in 3 of the last 4 years (controversially being disqualified in the final against Upper Thames in 2015).  They’ve got a new crew, with several athletes formerly of London RC, and finished fifth in the final of Championship Coxless Fours at Marlow Regatta.

My picks….despite not being selected I think this could go the way of Thames Rowing Club


The Britannia Challenge Cup to follow shortly…….

Henley Royal Regatta preview part 3 – The Intermediate events

Time now to move on to the Intermediate events, and some of the most fiercely contested trophies at the Regatta


Ladies Challenge Plate

Ladies CP

The Ladies Challenge Plate

Holders: Oxford Brookes University and Taurus Boat Club

Entries: 6

Selected crews: Oxford Brookes University, Leander Club

Oxford Brookes University, under Director of Rowing Richard Spratley and chief coach Henry Baillache-Webb, have established themselves as the premier University rowing programme in Europe, and have ambitions to be no.1 in the world. Earlier this season they raced at Ratzeburg Regatta placing 1st 2nd and 3rd in the open 8’s. The 1st 8’s time of 5:29 is the fastest ever by a British 8 outside of the senior national squad. They are unbeaten by any crew in Europe so far this season. Their only defeat came at the Windermere Cup in Seattle when they were narrowly defeated by the University Of Washington Varsity 8. The crew is Quentin Antognelli, Ed Grisedale, Sam Nunn, Matt Hnatiw, Rory Gibbs, Matt Aldridge, Henry Swarbrick, Morgan Bolding and cox Harry Brightmore. Antognelli raced for Monaco at the World Championships last year, finishing 23rd in the M1X. Gibbs, Aldridge, Bolding and Swarbrick all return from the crew that won this event last year.


Oxford Brookes with their fastest ever time by a British club crew. Photo: WeRow

Such is the strength in depth of the Oxford Brookes programme that they have a 2nd crew racing as Oxford Brookes and Edinburgh University this is the basis of the Brookes 3rd 8 that won bronze in Ratzeburg with James Axon, Brendan Edwards, James Snowball, Tim Grant, Gareth Syphas, Oliver Wilkes, Morgan Glover (who won this event last year) and Joel Cassells (a former World and European champion).

The main challenge to a Brookes repeat victory will come from Leander Club. They were winners at Marlow Regatta in a time of 5:34. The standout oarsman in this boat is Cam Buchan (almost as famous for his rowing vlogs as for his actual rowing!) He’s coming back from a long-term injury and will be looking to return to the GB squad for 2019. He was a member of the British M8 throughout the 2017 season, winning medals at the 1st and 2nd World Cups and then finishing 7th at the World Championships. The Leander boat has an international feel to it with Brazilian Francisco Mendes and Ollie Wilkes (an U23 silver medallist in 2017). Frazier Christie is another oarsman with senior international honours having raced for GB in the M2X during the World Cup series last year. Two of the crew are returners from the boat that lost to Brookes in last year’s Ladies Plate final, Jack Godesen-Kaye and Oxford Blue Will Geffen. The boat is stroked by another Oxford Blue, Vass Ragoussis (a member of the outstanding Abingdon School crew that won the “Triple” in 2012). If Leander and Brookes meet in the final there could be some fireworks.

The fourth crew in this event are, Berliner Ruderclub from Germany. This boat has some outstanding oarsmen in it, including Rio Olympians Felix Krane and Anton Braun. They were both members of the German M4- that finished 12th in Rio. Braun was also in the German M8 that won a silver medal at the World Championships in 2015. Strokeman Bjoern Birkner is another senior international having raced in the M4- that finished 8th at the 2014 World Championships. Stephan Riemekasten at 7 and Michael Trebbov at 3 are both U23 World Champions. Clearly this is going to be a very fast boat and could spoil the Brookes/Leander party.

The other overseas entry is from UTS Haberfield and Sydney Rowing Club. I haven’t had a chance to see what the line-up will be, but there was a Sydney Rowing club 8 originally entered in the Thames Cup and a UTS Haberfield 4 in the Visitors (neither of which are in the main draw so I assume the Ladies Plate 8 is a combination of these two boats).

The final entry are Cantabrigian Rowing Club. This crew had originally entered the Thames Challenge Cup but were bumped up to the Ladies Plate by the Stewards. The crew raced in Tier 2 8’s at Marlow regatta finishing 4th in the C-Final , but the Stewards felt there were a few too many Cambridge students in the boat and that it wasn’t in keeping with the spirit of the Thames Cup, so they had the choice of moving up a class or changing their crew to race the Thames….they chose the former and will face-off against Oxford Brookes & Edinburgh in the 1st round.

My picks…I think it’ll be close, but I’m going for Brookes to defend their title.


The Visitors Challenge Cup


The Visitors Challenge Cup

Holders: Leander Club

Entries: 16

Selected crews: University of London, Leander Club, Wairau RC & Pentone RC New Zealand, Cambridge University & Leander Club

This has the potential to be one of the most competitive events in the regatta with a lot of really high class crews entered from across the world including Australia, New Zealand, the Netherlands, the USA and France.

One of the most interesting crews are the “Bad Boys Rowing Club” of Wairau and Petone Rowing Clubs, New Zealand. They are a crew of recent New Zealand internationals who’ve come together with the explicit intention of winning at Henley. The crew is James Hunter, 5th in the LM4- at the Rio Olympics and a bronze medallist in the M2- at the Sarasota World championship, Ian Seymour, who rowed in the NZL M8 at the 2011 World Championships, Axel Dickinson, who rowed at the World cups in 2016 and Dirkus Conradie, a member of the New Zealand M8 in 2017.


Dirkus Conradie from the Waiaru & Pentone RC Visitors crew. Photo: World Rowing

The 2nd New Zealand crew entered are Waikato rowing Club. This crew contains some of the top club oarsmen in New Zealand with James Ingham and Will Guest who were 3rd in the Senior M2- at the New Zealand championships, Tom Bedford who was 2nd in the Senior pairs and Fergus McSwiney who won gold in the Championship 8’s at the New Zealand University Championships.

From the Netherlands are K.S.R Njord. The crew of Joris Bergman, Jan Lankhorst, Milan Pastoors & Sven Brinkman were winners of the development LM4- at the ARB Bosbaanwedstrijden regatta last week and 3rd in the LM4- at the Dutch Varsity Championships.

Australia have one representatives in the event. UTS Haberfield and Sydney Rowing Club composite. This crew includes world silver medallist Darcy Wruck along with senior internationals Ben Coombs and Nathan Bowden, both of whom were in the M8 at the World Championships last year. The fourth member of the crew is U23 international Peter Koster.

Another overseas crew are the lightweights from Columbia University in the USA. They were the top lightweight programme in the US for the 2018 season and their crew for Henley includes one member of the Varsity 8 that won the IRA Championships – Cypriot Alex Zisimides. Also in the crew are Brit George Patterson and John Robison who were in the 2nd Varsity 8 that won at Eastern Sprints. The final member of the crew is Levi Beckett who was in the Varsity 4 for the 2017 IRA Championships.

The final overseas crew in the event are the French from C.A Nantes & A.C Bolougne. This boat includes LM4X World Champion Francois Teroin. Also in the crew are Luke Epain, who won bronze with Teroin at the World University Championships, and former junior international Ismael Bourennane.

Leander Club are the defending champions in this event and they have one returner from the 2017 crew, Barnaby Stentiford. He’s joined by former Oxford Brookes strokeman James Stanhope (who won the Ladies Plate last year). Also in the crew is senior international Ross Jarvis, A Harvard graduate, he’s an U23 silver medallist and made his debut in the senior squad in 2017 and raced at the Belgrade World Cup this season with Tom Ransley in a GB M2-. The 4th member of the crew is Tim Clarke. His international debut came in 2012 when he won silver in the men’s eight at the FISU World University Rowing Championships. He went on to place fifth in the under-23 men’s eight in 2013, and won gold in the FISU men’s eight in 2014 and 2016.

After joining the GB Rowing Team senior squad at the start of 2017, Clarke was selected in the men’s eight for the first World Cup in Belgrade, winning silver behind the Netherlands. At World Cup III in Lucerne, Clarke teamed up with fellow Newcastle University graduate Tom Ford in the men’s pair, finishing second, and added a cox in the form of Harry Brightmore for the World Rowing Championships in Florida, where they finished just outside the medals in fourth. They were winners at Marlow Regatta in the impressive time of 5:54. They also won at the Metropolitan Regatta (with Callum Johnson racing in place of Jarvis). They will probably start as favourites to retain their title.

Runners-up to Leander at both the Metropolitan and Marlow regattas was the University of London. Their crew of Matt Benstead, Pat Sullivan, Rufus Schoelfield and Richard Clarke have all represented Great Britain at U23 level with all but Schoelfield having won medals at that level. Benstead and Schoelfield were in the crew that won the Champ 4’s at the BUCS Regatta. They warmed up for Henley with a trip to Amsterdam to race at the Holland Beker taking gold in the M4+ event (with legendary Dutch cox Peter Wiersum sitting in the coxes seat.


ULBC (& Peter Wiersum) winners of the M4+ at the Holland Beker. Photo: ULBC Twitter

Another strong crew will be a boat of potential U23 GB oarsmen racing as Cambridge University and Tideway Scullers. This crew includes Cambridge Blue Freddie Davidson and Harvard student David Ambler. They had also entered the Silver Goblets (and were mentioned in my preview) but have subsequently withdrawn to concentrate on racing this event). Ambler, stroke of an impressive Harvard Varsity boat this season, is also an U23 medallist from the GB BM8 last season. He’s joined by Princeton student David Bewicke-Copley – who was also in the bronze medal U23 BM8 last year and former New Zealand junior international Braeden Camp.

Eton Vikings contains a crew full of athletes who have represented Great Britain at age-group level. Benedict Aldous and Charlie Pearson were in the JM8 that won bronze in 2016. Charlie Thurston raced in the JM4+ in 2014 winning a silver medal and James Goble finished 5th in the BLM2- at the U23 World Championships in 2015. Aldous rowed in the Oxford Blue Boat this year. At Marlow Regatta they made the B-Final of Champ 4- but didn’t start that final.

The composite of Molesey Boat Club & Thames Rowing Club has three athletes who study in the US, Jens Clausen who was in the Princeton 2V at the IRA’s, Orlando Nixon (Yale’s 2V and former winner of the Thames Cup) and Rufus Biggs from Brown. The only non-US educated athlete is George Stewart from the University of Surrey, who won silver in the BM4+ at the U23 Worlds last year.

I must also give a shout out to the masters crew from Upper Thames Rowing Club, Tom Carter, Hamish Floyd, Josh Davidson and James Burkitt. The draw has thrown up a local derby for these guys as they take on favourites Leander Club in the first round. Whatever happens in the race they’ll be sure to get a huge cheer as they pass their club house.

My picks…Leander look very strong but the Kiwis have a fearsome line-up and these two are slated to meet eachother in the final. I reckon the boys in cerise will just take it, but it could be a classic.


The Prince of Wales Challenge Cup


Holders: Leander Club

Selected crews: AASR Skoll Netherlands, Leander Club, Edinburgh University & Nottingham Rowing Club, RTHC Bayer Leverkusen & TVK Essen Germany.

This event has been running since 2001 and since then Leander Club have only not made the final twice (2004 and 2005) and they’ve won 9 times (including an all-Leander final last year). This year’s crew will be one of the favourites to make it 10 wins. The boat is Charlie Waite-Roberts, Rowan Law, Ollie Stevens & Andy Joel. All 4 of this crew were involved in the final last year with Law and Joel in the winning Leander A crew and Waite-Roberts and Stevens in the B crew. Law and Joel are also in the unusual position of having won the Queen Mother Challenge Cup before winning the Prince of Wales. All four of them are either U23 or senior internationals. Waite-Roberts raced in the senior LM4X at the World Championships in 2016 and both Law and Joel raced in the M4X at the Belgrade World Cup in 2017 and New Zealander Stephens won silver in the U23 BM4X in 2016. At Marlow regatta they finished 2nd to the GB U23 quad.

The U23’s, racing as Edinburgh University & Nottingham, could well be the ones to spoil the Leander party. Winners at Marlow Regatta the crew is George Bourne of Durham University, Sam Meijer from Harvard, Josh Armstrong of Edinburgh and Matt Haywood of Nottingham. Meijer is the reigning U23 BM23X World Champion and rowed in the Harvard Varsity 8 this season. One, perhaps apocryphal, story about Meijer is that whilst at Westminster School he raced at one of the European long distance sculling races finishing in the top 10 and beating double Olympic champion Olaf Tufte. After the race Tufte congratulated Meijer asking if he was the new GB sculler and what had happened to (the then GB M1X) Alan Campbell? Meijer replied, “no, I’m 17 and still at school” to which Tufte replied “F*ck” and stomped off! Armstrong, a junior World Champion in 2015, raced in the BM1X at last year’s U23 Worlds finishing 7th  and also made his senior debut racing in the single at the Poznan World Cup, finishing 11th.

The third Selected crew are the Dutch from AASR Skoll. Job Huigsloot, Guillaume Krommenhoek, Olav Molenaar and Leonard Van Lieorp. They have warmed-up for Henley by winning on both days at the Holland Beker this weekend. Krommenhoek raced in the Dutch M4X at the Belgrade World Cup last year finishing 5th. Van Lierop raced in the Dutch U23 squad in 2015 and 2016 finishing 4th in the BLM4x in 2015. Molenaar, the youngest of the crew at 19, raced at the World Junior Championships last year finishing 6th in the JM8. They also raced at the Essen Regatta earlier this year claiming 4th place in the final (beating the Czech M4X into 5th

The final selected crew are the Germans from RTHC Bayer Leverkusen & TVK Essen. Their crew is Heiner Schwartz, Michael Wepplemann, Fabian Weiler and Dominik Drueke. They also at the Essen Regatta making the B final and finishing 4th (10th overall). Weiller & Drueke raced at Ratzeburg in the M2X finishing 6th in their heat.

Reading University have the remarkable record of having qualified 4 crews for this event, one quarter of the draw are from one club, a remarkable achievement. Their no.1 boat finished 3rd at Marlow Regatta and has Rory Harris, Olly Dix, George Lawton and Franklin Hamilton. Harris and Lawton raced together at the Junior World Championships, finishing 14th in the JM2X. At the BUCS Regatta they finished runners-up to Queen’s University Belfast.

Leander club also have athletes in two other composite boats, the first is Leander Club & Army. This crew includes Zimbabwean international Peter Purcell-Gilpin. He joins James Sudlow, James Mawby and Patrick Munnelly who all raced in the M4X at Marlow regatta, finishing 1st in the B-Final.

The 2nd Leander composite is Leander Club and Upper Thames Rowing Club. This has Will White of Birmingham University, George Eden from Leander and Upper Thames’ James Scott and Tom Foster. This quartet raced at Marlow making the A-Final.

Another crew which made the A-Final of Champ 4X at Marlow was the composite of Newcastle University and Edinburgh University. This has Dale Flockhart of Edinburgh, Dominic Jackson and James Stevenson of Newcastle University and Leander Club’s Sebastian Matthews. At the final GB trials Matthews and Flockhart made the B-Final of LM1X with Stevenson and Jackson in the C Final. They face Durham University (who finished 2nd in the B-Final at Marlow) in the 1st round and will be confident of progressing.

The final crew to mention are the Edinburgh University and Oxford Brookes composite of Matthew Curtis, Ben Reeves, James Temple & Gavin Horsburgh. These are all experienced U23 and senior internationals. Horsburgh and Curtis won gold in the U23 BLM4X in 2016 and Horsburgh went on to win silver in the senior LM4X in 2017 and raced in the LM2X with Jamie Copus at the Linz World Cup. Reeves is an U23 bronze medallist from the 2017 BLM4- and Temple finished 4th in the BLM4X in 2017, he also made his senior debut racing in the LM2X at the Belgrade World Cup and then the LM1X in Linz. This looks like the potential U23 BLM4X for the World Championships at the end of the month.

My picks….the draw should pit Leander against the Edinburgh/Nottingham composite. The U23’s have already beaten Leander this season and I reckon they could do it again.






Henley Royal Regatta preview -part 2 The Women’s Events

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



Entries: 6

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

Holders: Hollandia

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

town challenge

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.


Henley Royal Regatta 2018 – the Men’s Open Events


Its that time of year again…Henley Royal Regatta….the best regatta in the world!

The 2018 edition of the Henley Royal Regatta will see the third-largest entry on record, with 565 boats divided up into 454 domestic and 111 overseas crews.

So, as always it’s time for me to cast my eye over the entries and give a guide (and maybe an opinion and prediction or two) to the entries. Starting with the men’s open events.

The Diamond Challenge Sculls


The Diamond Challenge Sculls

Holder: Matt Dunham (Waiariki Rowing Club, New Zealand)

23 entries to be reduced to 12 by Qualifying races

Mahe Drysdale of West End Rowing Club and New Zealand starts his 8th Diamonds – he’s won 5 of them and if he takes the title this year he will equal the record set by Australian Stuart Mackenzie of Sydney who won every year between 1957 and 1962. But, it’s not been a great year for the double Olympic champion. His seat in the Kiwi team is under extreme pressure from Robbie Manson who has beaten Mahe every time they’ve raced this year. It’s entirely possible that Henley could be Mahe’s last hurrah and if he wins there could be no finer way of bowing out than by equalling a record that has stood for 56 years.

Standing in Mahe’s way is Kjetil Borch. The Norwegian Olympic silver medallist partnered the legendary Olaf Tufte in the M2X in Rio and was World Champion in the M2X with Nils Jakob Hoff in 2013. For the 2018 season he’s switched to the single scull and finished 4th in the A-Final at the Linz World Cup.

The leading domestic challenger is likely to be Charlie Cousins – racing for Griffen Boat Club. Charlie is a former World Silver medallist from the GB M4X in 2014. He stepped down from the international team at the end of 2015 due to injury and had, seemingly, retired and is now a coach at Abingdon School. But with some impressive erg scores during the winter he made a return to the single scull this season. So far he’s unbeaten on the domestic circuit with wins at Wallingford, The Metropolitan Regatta and Marlow Regatta in an impressive time of 6:53. Could we be seeing a return to the national team for GB’s top single sculler of 2014?

Another strong overseas challenger will be Tom Graves of the Craftsbury Sculling Centre USA. Graves is a Henley regular, and has made the final no fewer than three times in the Queen Mother, the Double sculls and, last year, the Diamonds. But he’s yet to win one of those precious little red boxes.


Tom Graves. Photo: US Rowing

Another former GB teamster is Jamie Kirkwood. He was GB’s leading lightweight single sculler in 2014 and 2015 and made the A-Final at the World Championships in the LM1X in 2015. He retired from international rowing in 2016 and took up a coaching position with the Oxford University Women’s Boat Club. He raced at Marlow Regatta finishing 3rd.

Runner-up to Cousins at Marlow was Clydesdale’s Jack Burns. That performance caught the eye of the Stewards and meant he is one of just seven scullers to pre-qualify. He competed at the final GB Trials in April finishing 11th. At the Metropolitan Regatta in May he finished 4th.

The final pre-selected sculler is Portugal’s Nuno Mendes. The 34 year-old has been on the international circuit since 2004, the majority of the time in the LM2X with Pedro Fraga. They raced together at the Beijing and London Olympics, placing 5th in London.

It’s not often we see the Tufte among those required to qualify, but it’s not double Olympic champion Olaf, but Petter Tufte. He was a member of the Norske Studenten Rokllub , Oslo Thames Cup 8 that made the final in 2016 and lost to Thames on Friday last year. He’s also won gold at the Norwegian championships.

Another Henley stalwart is Hugh Mackworth-Praed of Auriol Kensington. The 46 year old made his Henley debut in 1985 and has been competing (or trying to qualify) pretty much every year since! He last made the regatta main draw in 2015.

Another strong contender for qualification is Sam Bannister of Cardiff University. He’s a member of the Welsh High Performance squad and produced a strong performance at Marlow to finish 4th.

Finishing one place behind Bannister at Marlow was York University’s Calder Trewin Marshall. He also took 2nd in the Tier 2 sculls at the Metropolitan Regatta.

My picks….I’ve got to go with Mahe for a record equalling 6th Diamond Sculls, but I’d love to see Charlie Cousins make the final and give him a run for his money.


The Grand Challenge Cup


The Grand Challenge Cup

Holders: Passau & Treviris Trier, Germany

3 entries

This year The Grand is a Great Britain v Australia v Romania affair. I would expect the British, racing as Leander Club & Molesey, to be the selected crew and receive a bye to the final with the Australians (Georgina Hope Rinehart National Training Centre) taking on the Romanians (Clubul Sportiv Dinamo, Bucharest and Clubul Sportiv al Armatei Steaua, Bucharest) for the right to take on the home favourites.

The Leander Club & Molesey crew is unchanged from the line-up that raced at the Linz World Cup taking silver behind the Germans. The crew contains three Olympic champions from Rio, Will Satch at stroke, Mo Sbihi at 5 and Tom Ransley at bow. Also in the boat is Olympian Al Sinclair and 2017 World Bronze medallist Matt Tarrant along with Tom’s George and Jeffery who raced as the GB M2- at last year’s World Championship where they finished 5th. The final member of the crew is Ollie Wynne-Griffith. The Yale graduate was an U23 silver medallist in 2016 and made his senior debut last season at the Lucerne world Cup and then subbing-in to the M4- for the semi-final at the World Championships. The crew are steered by Henry Fieldman.


The GB Men’s 8 preparing for the Belgrade World Cup. Photo:Naomi Baker

The Australians produced a bit of a shock at the Linz world Cup sending the German world Champions to the repecharge. In the final they couldn’t reproduce that feat and ended up 5th . But, the crew entered for Henley is a little different to that which raced in Linz. According to the entry documents, the Australians are bringing in their outstanding M4- into the 8 with Josh Hicks, Spencer Turin, Jack Hargreaves and Alex Hill joining Angus Moore, Josh Booth, Nick Purnell and Tim Masters. The M4- were clear winners in Linz and their inclusion in the M8 makes them a fearsome combination. It remains to be seen if Australia continue with this line-up or go with the line-up that raced in Linz (which had Liam Donald, Angus Widdicombe, Simon Keenan and Rob Black.

Romania raced at the Belgrade World Cup taking the bronze behind the Germans and British. They’ve made one change to the crew that raced in Belgrade, with Adrian Damii replacing Florin-Sorin Lehaci in the 2 seat. Damii raced in the 8 last season that finished 5th at the world Championships, as did crew mates Constantin Radi, Constantin Adam, Sergiu-Vasile Bejan and Cristi-Ilie Pirghie. Bow-man Vlad-Dragos Aicoboae raced in the M2- at the 2017 World Championships that won the B-Final and also won a silver medal at the European Championships in the M4-. The final two members of the crew are aa pair of medal-winning U23 athletes, Alexandru Martinca at 3 and 21 year-old strokeman Alexandru-Cosmin Macovei.

My picks…if the Aussies go with the line-up they have listed then there could be some serious fireworks against the British, but I’m going to plump for a narrow home win.


The Stewards Challenge Cup


The Stewards Challenge Cup

Holders: Leander Club & Molesey

2 entries

A straight, and all-British Final sees one of the senior GB M4-‘s take on the likely GB U23 M4-. The Seniors, racing as Leander Club, raced as GBR2 at the Linz World Cup finishing 4th (1 place ahead of their teammates in GBR1). The crew is James Johnston, Adam Neill, Jacob Dawson and Tom Ford. They take on the U23’s (racing as Leander Club and Oxford University) with Felix Drinkall, Tom Digby, Charlie Elwes and Leonard Jenkins. One would imagine that this would be a relatively straightforward win for the seniors, but I think it’ll be a lot closer than that. Digby, Elwes and Jenkins all row together at Yale and were members of the outstanding Yale Varsity crew that won the IRA’s this year. Digby and Elwes were in this event last year and took the scalp of the senior French M4- before going down to the Italians (who went on to win silver at the world Championships) by just 2/3 length. Digby and Elwes went on to win silver at the U23 World Championships. Leonard Jenkins represented New Zealand as a junior but is now GB qualified. Oxford University’s Felix Drinkall who has just been elected as President of the Oxford University Boat Club for the 2019 season. He won the Princess Elizabeth Challenge Cup with Eton in 2016 and went on to become Junior World Champion in 2017. He finished 2nd at the final GB Trials in April partnering senior GB oarsman Ollie Cook. With Digby and Drinkall still teenagers and Jenkins and Elwes only 20 this is an outstanding young crew and features athletes who could become mainstays of the British team for the Paris Olympiad.

digby yale.jpg

Tom Digby of Yale and Leander Club. Photo: Boston Globe

The senior Leander crew will be wary of their young opposition, but they will be confident of victory, they are all experienced Henley winners and are looking to secure their position as the selected GB M4-  Johnston made his senior debut last year racing in a 2nd GBR M4- that finished 10th at Lucerne. This season he’s still racing as a member of the 2nd GBR M4- and has two A-final finishes so far. Adam Neil’s international career started later than expected due to a serious back injury but he returned in 2016, winning the Ladies Plate with Leander and winning the GB Indoor Championships. This return to form saw him win selection for the GB M8 for 2017. Washington graduate, Jacob Dawson, was selected as the GB M2- with Matt Rossiter and they won gold at the 1st World Cup in 2017. He then moved into the GB M8 that finished 7th at the World Championships.  Tom Ford also raced in the Leander crew that won the Ladies Plate in 2016, and won his first senior international vest in the M8 in Belgrade. He moved to the M2- for Lucerne winning silver and then the M2+ for the world Championships, just missing out on a medal.

It promises to be a really interesting battle between these two boats, but I think the senior crew from Leander will just take it over their U23 counterparts – but not by much.


The Queen Mother Challenge Cup


The Queen Mother Challenge Cup

Holders: Leander Club

2 entries

Another straight final (as was 2017). This year sees the British M4X (racing as Leander Club and Agecroft) take on the Norwegians of Fana Roklubb.

The British quad of Tom Barras, John Collins, Jonny Walton and Graeme Thomas were winners in Belgrade at the 1st World Cup. In Linz they had a disastrous regatta missing out on the A-final. Chief Coach Jurgen Grobler could find no reason for the disappointing performance and just put it down to a bad day at the office. They will be looking to recapture their mojo with a win on their home water. Collins and Walton raced together in the M2X at the Rio Olympics finishing 5th. For the 2017 they both moved into the quad and won silver at the World Championships. Graeme Thomas was a member of the M4X throughout 2016 before cruelly falling ill just before the start of the Games. He missed a large part of the 2017 season following hip surgery but returned to row in the M2X with Angus Groom that finished 7th. But, a last-minute injury to Pete Lambert saw Thomas jumping into the stroke seat of the quad just minutes before the start of the final. He stroked and steered the quad to an outstanding silver medal. The 4th member of the crew is Tom Barras – a qualified physiotherapist, he made his senior debut at the start of the 2017 season racing in the quad at the 1st world Cup and European Championships before moving to the M1X. A great 1st performance at the 2nd World Cup saw him place 5th and then 13th in a tough field in Lucerne. At the World Championships in Sarasota however he really made the world sit up and take notice when he took the bronze medal behind Ondrej Synek of the Czech Republic and Cuba’s Angel Fournier Rodriguez.

Facing the British are the Norwegians of Fana Rokllub. Martin Helseth, Erik Solbakken, Jan Oscar Stabe Helvig and Nils Jakob Hoff. This is the line-up that raced at the World Championships last season finishing 6th in the A-Final. For the 2018 season Hoff was replaced at the first 2 World Cups by the great Olaf Tufte and they won bronze at the 1st World Cup. Hoff finished 11th in the M1X at the Rio Olympics and was World Champion in the M2X back in 2013. 22 year-old Helvig made his senior debut at the European Championships in 2015 and went on to win silver at the U23 World Championships and place 14th at the Senior Worlds that year. Solbakken also made his senior debut in 2015 and was a crewmate of Helvig’s in the M4X at the Europeans and World Championships. In 2016 he and crewmate Martin Helseth won silver in the BM2X at the U23 World Championships

This “should” be a comfortable victory for the British, the Norwegians haven’t beaten the British quad (although they got within 1/10th second at the 2017 Europeans). If GB row to their usual level thy will take the win.


The Silver Goblets and Nickalls’ Challenge Cup


The Silver Goblets and Nickalls’ Challenge Cup

Holders: Theophile Onfroy and Valentin Onfroy Club France

18 entries (to be reduced to 12 by qualifying races)

The big names in this event are the Sinkovic brothers, Martin and Valent, of CARC Mladost, Croatia. They were the dominant force in the M2X throughout the Rio Olympiad, becoming the first M2X to break the 6 minute barrier at the 2014 World Championships. They topped off an outstanding career in the double by winning gold at the Rio Olympics. In 2017 they decided to try a new challenge and switched to the M2- with the intention of winning gold in Tokyo. They haven’t been as successful in the pair as they were in the double. They came close in 2017 taking silver at the World Championships and so far this season they won their first gold medal as a pair when they won in Belgrade. They suffered a setback in Linz when they were outclassed by the Czech Republic and just managed to pip the French (who are the defending Henley Champions) for the silver.

Sinkovic M2-

MArtin and Valent Sinkovic of Croatia

One of the main challengers for the Croatians are Marius-Vasile Cozmiuc and Ciprian Tudosa of Clubul Sportiv Dinamo Bucharest & Clubul Sportiv al Armatei Steaua Bucharest, Romania. They raced at the Belgrade World Cup finishing 4th.  In 2017 they were members of the M4- that won silver at the European Championships and then moved into the M8 that finished 5th at the World Championships. Cozmiuc represented Romania in the M4- at the Rio Olympics and Tudosa is a former Junior World Champion and U23 silver medallist.

One crew that’ll be itching to have a crack at their international rivals are James Rudkin and Josh Bugajski (racing As Newcastle University and Oxford University). They were both members of the GB M8 that won silver at the 1st World Cup and then moved to the M2- for the 2nd World Cup in Linz. A strong heat saw them finish 2nd to the Croatians and then they produced an excellent row to win the Repecharge only to be relegated to last due to an underweight boat – something that has never happened to the senior GB team before (and no-one really knows how it happened). In the end they had to race in the D-Final, (which they won by 11 seconds) taking 19th overall.  It was yet another chapter in the saga of Josh Bugajski season – he was dropped from the Oxford Blue Boat just days before the race, but then won his place in the senior GB team and won his first senior medal in Belgrade.

There is another crew from the senior GB team racing, Harry Glenister and George Rossiter representing Leander. They raced at the 1st World Cup finishing 7th and then moved into the GB M4- for the 2nd World Cup taking 5th. Glenister made a bit of History at Henley last year when he became the first man (by 2 hours) to win all three quad events (The Fawley in 2013, The Queen Mother in 2016, and the Prince of Wales in 2017). Rossiter is a double Henley medallist (the Ladies Plate in 2016 and the Visitors in 2017) and made his senior debut in the GB team this year.

Hungary’s Adrian Juhasz and Bela Simon Jr (Penzugyor Sportegyesulet) are one of the most experienced M2- on the international circuit having been rowing together since 2009 (becoming U23 silver medallists that year). Their best performances as a coxless pair were in 2016 when they became European Champions and then qualified for the Rio Olympics where they placed 9th. For the 2017 World Championships they moved into the coxed pair and won a fantastic race overhauling Australia in the final quarter (covering the final 500m 7 seconds faster than the Aussies). With the event now being dropped from the World Championship programme they will forever be the reigning World Champions! For the 2018 season they are back in the M2-  having a great race in Linz reaching their 1st world Cup A final for 3 years.

Australia haven’t won the Silver Goblets since Luxford and Shinners of Sydney University in 1976. This year they have Campbell Watts and Angus Widdicombe (Georgina Hope Rinehart National Training Centre). Watts made his debut in the senior Australian team in 2017 racing in the M8 at the Poznan World Cup and then the World Championships. For 2018 he was named as the spare for the World Cup series and raced in the M1X in Linz finishing 14th. Widdicombe also made his senior debut in 2017 in the M8 at the Poznan World Cup. For the World Championships he moved to the M2+ – the crew that were overhauled by the Hungarians after leading by clear water with 500m to go! (a rematch between the Aussies and Hungarians in a match race on the Henley course would be fun to watch).

One of the crews I’m really excited to see are the Cambridge University and Leander Club pairing of Rob Hurn and Sholto Carnegie. Both of these guys rowed together at Yale winning the Ladies Plate at Henley in 2015 (beating arch rivals the University of Washington in the final). Hurn and Carnegie raced in the Stewards Challenge Cup last season (with Tom Digby and Charlie Elwes) that beat the French senior M4- before losing narrowly to the Italians. They went on to win silver at the U23 World Championships. Carnegie stroked the Yale Varsity to an outstanding season this year winning both the IRA Championships and the Harvard v Yale race. They are both looking to gain selection for the senior GB team and there is a rumour they will be racing in GB colours at Lucerne.


Sholto Carnegie of Leander Club (a Henley winner with Yale)

Another pre-qualified crew are the Leander pairing of Seb Devereux and Jacob Barker. Devereux has multiple Henley medals to his name and in 2017 became U23 World Champion in the BM2X with Sam Meijer. Devereux studied in the US, initially at the University of Washington (with whom he won the IRA Championships) before transferring to Temple University. The highlight of the season for Temple was winning Varsity 8’s at the Dad Vail Regatta. Temple have made the trip to Henley and are racing in their namesake event, but without their top oarsman who is ineligible. Barker is Canadian, and attends Boston University. He raced in the Visitors Challenge Cup with Boston in 2017 losing on the Friday to the eventual winners from Leander. In 2016 he represented Canada at the U23 World Championships finishing 9th in the BM4+

One crew that can perhaps consider themselves unlucky at having been asked to qualify are the French, Franck Solforosi and Alexis Guerniot (Aviron Nautique de Lyon and Cercle de L’aviron de Lyon). Solforosi is an Olympic bronze medallist in the LM4- at the Rio Olympics and Guerniot won World Championship gold in the LM2- in 2016 and a World Championship silver in the LM8 in 2015. Solforosi rowed at three Olympics and has numerous World and European medals to his credit in a career that stretches back to 2004. They must surely be one of the favourites to secure a qualifying spot.

Another crew who will expect to qualify are the Leander pairing of lightweights Ed Fisher and Jon Jackson. They won at Marlow (in a very fast time of 6:37.8) and were also members of the Leander quad that won in Ghent. They both rowed together in the U23 BLM4- in 2016 that won a bronze medal. Fisher went on to make his senior international debut in 2017 winning a silver medal in the LM4X at the Senior World Championships.

Runners-up to Leander at Marlow were the Thames Rowing Club pairing of Nick Pusinelli and James Palmer. Palmer was a member of the Thames crew that won the Thames Cup in 2015 and Kiwi Pusinelli rowed for New Zealand at the 2011 World Championships and was a winner at Henley in the Visitors Challenge cup in 2016.

David Ambler and Freddie Davidson (Tideway Scullers and Cambridge University) look to be the GB U23 M2-. Ambler is a student at Harvard making the Varisty 8 in his Freshman year in 2017. In 2018 he formed an all-St Paul’s School stern pair in the Crimson Varsity boat with Arthur Doyle and finished 4th at the IRA’s. He raced for Great Britain in the U23 BM8 last year winning a bronze medal. Davidson is a two-time winning Blue and also raced for GB at the U23 World Championships last year finishing 6th in the BM2-.

Other crews trying to qualify include Charlie Buchanan and Nick Elkington (1884 Club) who both raced for Isis this year, Melbourne University pair Tom Page and James Heath (3rd at Marlow). Giovanni Galavotti and Michael Cannon of Vesta. Peter Jacobs and Will Sadler of Upper Thames and Mark Mitchell and Kieren White of Bexhill Amateur Rowing Club.

My picks….The Croatians should win this, but match racing at Henley can throw up some surprises. I think the GB pairing of Bugajksi and Rudkin could give them a serious run for their money.


Double Sculls Challenge Cup


The Double Sculls Challenge Cup

Holders: J.W Storey and C.W. Harris, New Zealand

17 entries. To be reduced to 12 by qualifying races


This has all the makings of a classic Heavyweight v Lightweight battle (and Henley’s seen a few of those in the past). Favourites for the event will be the Leander pairing of Jack Beaumont and Angus Groom. They are the current GB M2X and are in a rich vein of form. They produced a superb scull at the Linz World Cup to take the gold. Beaumont was the youngest member of the GB team at the Rio Olympics when he Joined Groom as a late substitution in the M4X that finished 5th. He and Groom raced together as juniors at the Junior World Championships in 2010 and then reunited at U23 level in 2013 and 2014 (winning a bronze in the BM2X). Injury sidelined Groom at the start of the 2017 season but he returned in time for the World Championships finishing 7th in the M2X with Graeme Thomas (also recently recovered from injury). Beaumont was a regular in the M4X in 2017 winning gold at the Poznan World Cup and silver at the World Championships. 2018 sees Groom and Beaumont reunited in the M2X. At the time of selection, Beaumont himself saw this as something of a sideways move out of the quad, but the performances he and Groom have shown so far this season (silver in Belgrade and gold in Linz) makes it look more like a step-up. Beaumont has already won 4 of the 5 sculling events at Henley (The Fawley, Prince of Wales, Queen Mother and Double Sculls), I’d be willing to put money on him winning the Diamond Sculls at some point in his career to become the first man to win every sculling event at the Regatta!


Angus Groom and Jack Beaumont in their U23 days in 2014

The main challengers to Beaumont and Groom is likely to come from two outstanding lightweight doubles. Paul and Gary O’Donovan of Skibberreen Rowing Club of Ireland, and Kristoffer Brun and Are Strandli of Bergens Roklub Norway. The O’Donovan’s are the Olympic silver medallists and are some of rowing’s biggest personalities. They first raced together on the world stage at the 2015 European Championship where they finished 5th. But it was the 2016 season where they really made their mark with a silver medal at the 1st World Cup and then gold at the European Championships, they also made the A-Finals at the 2nd and 3rd World Cups. Their highpoint was the Rio Olympics where they “pulled like dogs” to win the silver medal and won the hearts of millions around the world with the brilliant post-race interviews. 2017 was less successful with Gary suffering from illness which ruled him out of the World Championships, brother Paul raced the LM1X winning gold in Sarasota. They’ve started 2018 with a bronze medal at  the Belgrade World Cup, funding issues meant they had to miss the Linz World Cup but will be at Henley and promise to be one of the crowd favourites.

Kristoffer Brun and Are Strandli finished 1 place behind the Irish at the Rio Olympics in bronze medal position. They have been racing together as a LM2X since the European Championships in 2007. Their first medal came at the Munich World Cup in 2010 (which was also their first A-Final appearance). 9th at the 2011 World Championships saw them qualify for the London Olympics where they ended 9th. That performance in London spurred them on and during the Rio Olympiad they became regular A-Final finishers and medallists in 2013 culminating in a gold medal at the World Championships. The Norwegians are familiar with the podium as they won bronze medals at the 2014 and 2015 Worlds, the 2015 Europeans and at 2 World Cups. 2016 saw them move up a step to silver at the World Cups before just being pipped by the Irish in Rio to win yet another bronze.

Another strong crew are Ioan Prundeanu and Marian-Florian Enache of Romania. They raced together at the World championships in Florida finishing 10th. Prundeanu was junior World Champion in 2011 and made his senior debut the year later. Enache is also a Junior World medallist and made his senior debut in 2017. These two first raced together in the M2X at the Lucerne World Cup last season finishing 11th. They raced at the Belgrade World Cup reaching their first senior A-Final finishing 5th.

Another crew that has pre-qualified are the former GB team members Tom Solesbury and Dan Ritchie (racing as Thames Rowing Club and Herne Bay Rowing Club). Solesbury made his international debut in 2006 racing in the M8 finishing the season in 5th. For the Beijing Olympics he raced in the M2- with Robin Bourne-Taylor finishing 13th. He won a Boat Race Blue with Oxford in 2009 In 2011 He moved to the sculling team in as part of a strong M4X ending up 5th at the London Olympics. He stepped back from the international team after the Olympics founding his own law firm specialising in sports and employment law. His partner for Henley, Dan Ritchie, last raced internationally at the 2014 World Cup in Aiguebelette. He started his senior career in 2008 and won his first senior medal at the Munich World Cup in 2009. In 2010 he was a member of the GB M8 that won silver at the World Championships and repeated the feat in 2011. Injury meant he missed the London Olympics but he returned in 2013 to win his one and only World Championship gold medal as a member of the M8 in 2013. Since retiring from the senior GB team he had a spell as director of Rowing at Fulham Boys School, before moving into the business world as a consultant and researcher. They warmed up for Henley with a win in Championship Doubles at Marlow Regatta. It’s great to see two former stalwarts of the British team back on the water.

The 2nd Norwegian crew competing are Erling Oeyasaeter and Jorgen Nilsson. This pairing raced at the Linz World Cup finishing last of the 13 boats. Both were making their senior debuts at the World Cup having raced together on the Norwegian U23 team in 2016.

My picks….should be a good win for Beaumont and Groom. I hope the draw gives us a showdown between the Irish and Norwegian lightweights…that’ll be fun to watch!


Next up, the Women’s Open events…




World Cup Preview part 3 – Lightweights

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Linz Ottensheim


With racing starting in a few hours I better get a move on….



15 crews

Jason Osborne of Germany dominated this event in Belgrade beating Switzerland’s Michael Schmid by a whopping 8 seconds. Osborne was a member of the LW2X that finished 9th in Rio and 6th in Sarasota. The field maybe a little more competitive in Linz but he will still start as favourite.

The main challenger to Osborne will most likely be James Lassche of New Zealand. He was a member of the NZ LM4 between 2012 and 2016 winning silver in 2014 and finishing 5th at the Rio Olympics. With the demise of the LM4- as an Olympic event he switched to heavyweight and gained a seat in the M8 that finished 6th at the World Championships. Now back among the lightweights, Linz will be his first international race in a sculling boat.

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Jason Osborne of Germany. Photo: Filippi_Deutschland

Another medal contender is Switzerland’s Michael Schmid. He was in the LM2X in Rio that finished 13th and then in 2017 he won the LM1X European Championships and placed 4th at the Worlds. In Belgrade he took silver behind Osborne.

Germany have a 2nd sculler entered, Jonathan Rommelmann. He took bronze in Belgrade and was the German LM1X at the World Championships finishing 13th.

4th in Belgrade was Norway’s Ask Jarl Toem, this was his best result since winning a bronze medal at the 1st World Cup in 2016. He raced at both the U23 and Senior World Championships last year finishing 19th in the BLM1X and 15th in the LM4X in Florida.

James Temple of Great Britain made his senior debut at the 1st World Cup racing as the 2nd LM2X in Belgrade and finished 13th. He represented GB at the U23 World Championships in 2017 finishing 4th in the LM4X.

Italian Martino Goretti made his senior debut back in 2005 and is a triple World champion in the LM8. He raced in the LM4X in Sarasota finishing 4th. He raced in the LM4- at both the London and Rio Olympics. He finished just outside of the medals at Rio and then in 2017 switched to the LM4X placing 4th in Sarasota. He’s certainly the most experienced member of the field.

Brazil’s Uncas Batista is the reigning U23 BLM1X world Champion and finished his 2017 season placing 6th at the Senior World Championships, at 21 years of age he will be targeting the U23’s again this year and could become Brazil’s 1st senior World Champion in the next few years.

Also racing are Hamish Parry of Australia, Paul Sieber and Rainer Kepplinger of Austria, Zhiyuan Zhang of China, Joona Petaejniemi of Finland, Thibault Colard of France and Swiss number 2 Florin Rueedi.

My picks…Osborne to win again if he sculls as well as he did in Belgrade with Goretti of Italy in silver and Schmid of Switzerland in bronze.



13 scullers

Alena Furman of Belarus was the winner in Belgrade, her first gold medal since winning the U23 World Championships in 2012. She raced as an openweight throughout the Rio Olympiad finishing 15th in the W2-.

Her main challenger could well be a pair of German scullers, Marie-Louise Draeger (GER2) makes her first international appearance since finishing 11th in the LW2X at the Rio Olympics. The 37 year-old started her senior career back in 2001 and she’s a three-time World Champion and three-time Olympian.

Racing as GER1 is Katrin Thoma. She raced in the LW2X in Belgrade with Leonie Pless that finished 8th. She was a member of the LW4X between 2014 and 2016 winning gold, silver and bronze.

Another experienced sculler is Poland’s Joanna Dorociak. 9th in the LW2X at Belgrade and 4th at the World Championships. Her best result in the LW1X was a silver medal at the Poznan World Cup in 2017.

Anastasia Lebedeva of Russia made the A-Final in Belgrade. She raced in the LW2X at the World Championships finishing 12th.

The USA have two scullers racing in Linz. Emily Schmieg and Christine Cavallo.  Schmieg, from Philadelphia, raced in the LW2X at the World Championships winning a bronze medal. Cavallo (racing as USA2) made her senior debut in the 2nd LW2X boat at Belgrade finishing 11th.

Another sculler to watch is Italy’s Clara Guerra, she’s the reigning U23 silver medallist and former Junior World Champion and finished 8th at the Senior Worlds.

The final sculler to mention is Sweden’s Emma Fredh. Her performance in Belgrade was somewhat disappointing when she only finished 12th, the first time in 6 events that she failed to make the A-Final. In 2016 she won silver at the World Championships and last year became European Champion. Not sure why she under-performed in Belgrade but I expect her to be stronger in Linz.

Also racing are Austria’s Anja Manoutscheri (7th at the U23 Worlds), 2 Chinese scullers – debutant Zaozhao Lei and Chunqin Kuang (15th in the LW2X in Belgrade) and a 2nd Swedish sculler Lovisa Wallin (16th in Belgrade).

My picks….Furman ahead of Draeger with Fredh in 3rd



21 doubles

All eyes in this event will be on the French. Jeremie Azou surprised the rowing world by announcing his retirement earlier this year. This left a big gap to fill and the French have selected Thomas Baroukh to partner Olympic Champion Pierre Houin. Baroukh raced in the M2+ at the World Championships last year and was a member of the LM4- that won bronze at the Rio Olympics. Given how dominant the duo of Azou and Houin were it’s a big challenge for Baroukh.

One crew that are noticeable by their absence are the Irish O’Donovan brothers. Funding issues means the Irish aren’t attending this World Cup, there was some discussion that the O’Donovan’s would fund the trip themselves, but have, instead, chosen to race at Henley.

The biggest challengers to the French are the Italians. Stefano Oppo and Pietro Ruta won silver behind the French in Sarasota. Ruta is a hugely experienced sculler and raced at both the London and Rio Olympics. Oppo also raced at Rio finishing 4th in the LM4-. He then went on to win gold at the U23 World Championships. Italy have a strong 2nd boat racing as well with U23 World Champion Gabriel Soares joined by World LM2- Silver medallist Alfonso Scalzone.

Norway are strong medal prospects as well. The 2013 World Champions, Are Strandli and Kristofer Brun won bronze at the Rio Olympics. Brun raced in the single last season winning bronze at the World Championships. It appears they had some issues making weight in Belgrade as they raced in the heavyweight division, making the A-Final.

Winners in Belgrade were the Poles, Jerzy Kowalski and Milosz Jankowski. They finished 4th at the World Champs.

2nd in Belgrade were the Belgians Tim Brys and Niels Van Zandweghe. They made the A-Final of the World Championships last year and will forever be remembered as the crew that missed out on a place at the Olympics despite winning the Qualifying Regatta.

Great Britain have two boats racing. Sam Mottram and Zak Lee-Green. They finished 8th in Belgrade. Mottram finished 10th in this boat class at the World Championships and Lee-Green was silver in the LM4X. The 2nd GB crew is Jamie Copus and Gavin Horsburgh. Copus raced the single in Belgrade and partnered Mottram in the LM2X last year. Horsburgh raced as GBR2 in Belgrade that finished 13th. He was a crew mate of Lee-Green in the silver medal quad.

The final crew to mention are the new Kiwi pair Benjamin Van Dalen and Matt Dunham. Van Dalen is making his senior debut following two years in the U23 squad. Dunham won silver in the LM1X last season. The Kiwis always produce fast combinations so it remains to be seen what sort of speed this new pairing has.

My picks…Italy ahead of the French with the Norwegians in bronze.



17 crews

This has the potential to be one of the most competitive events at the regatta with the gold and silver medallists from 2017, and the Olympic champions all racing. Romania are the reigning World Champions, Gianina-Elena Beleaga and Ionela-Livia Cozmiuc. They are one of the rare crews that win both U23 and Senior World Championships in the same season.


World champions Gianina-Elena Beleaga and Ionela-Livia Cozmiuc of Romania. Photo: mediafax

Silver medallists in Sarasota were the Kiwis, Zoe McBride and Jackie Kiddle. McBride won the LW1X World Championships in 2016 and set a World Best Time in the process. Kiddle won the U23 World Championships in 2016 and then took gold in the LW1X at both the 2nd and 3rd World Cups.

The Netherlands, Marieke Keijser and Ilse Paulis were winners in Belgrade. Paulis is the reigning Olympic Champion and Keijser won silver in the LW1X last season.

Australia have two boats racing, AUS1 Georgia Miansarrow and Georgia Nesbitt and AUS2 Amy James and Alice Arch. All four of these athletes were in the LW4X that won silver last season.

Great Britain also have two boats racing Ellie Piggott was partnered by Emily Craig in Belgrade taking 3rd. Craig unfortunately is ill so her place is taken by Fran Rawlins. She raced as GBR2 in Belgrade winning the C-Final. GBR2 are Maddy Arlett and Gemma Hall. They were members of the LW4X that finished 5th last year.

Italy have two U23 medallists in their crew, Valentina Rodini is the reigning U23 champion from the BLW4X and Federica Cesarini won silver in the BLW2X.  Cesarini is also the reigning senior World Champion in the LW4X. Rodini raced in the LW2X in Sarasota finishing 8th.

My picks….the Netherlands ahead of Romania with New Zealand in 3rd.

That’ll have to do….I’ve run out of time. Apologies for the slightly truncated preview (and the lack of LM2- and LM4X).