Henley Women’s regatta preview

Next weekend sees a veritable smorgasbord of rowing, with the 2nd Rowing World Cup taking place at Dorney and the 25th Henley Women’s Regatta. I’ll be previewing the World Cup later, but now it’s time for the premier women’s regatta in the UK.
(A quick note before I get started, information on some of the crews is a little sketchy so I’ve had to make a few assumptions…hopefully some of them might even be correct!)

Elite 1X
7 entries. The overwhelming favourite is Leander’s Debbie Flood. Debbie was in the GB W4X that made the “A” final at the London Olympics, she is a 3 time World Champion. Having retired from International duty she has been very active on the domestic regatta scene winning at Wallingford, Ghent and the Saturday of the Metropolitan Regatta (although she was pipped by lightweight Olympic champion Kat Copeland in Sunday’s regatta). Behind Debbie are a number of extremely talented young scullers. 2nd to Flood at the Saturday of the Metropolitan regatta was Agecroft’s Stella D’Arch-Smith. The 23 year-old is part of the GB “Start” programme and has competed at the GB trials (she was 19th in the February long distance race). Another young sculler hoping to make an impact is Jess Leyden (racing for Hollingworth Lake). Jess won Champion Girls 1X at the National Schools Regatta last month, she has a silver medal from the Australian Youth Olympic Festival and was in the GB JW4X that won the “B” final in 2012….definitely one to watch for the future.
Another GB international racing is Clydesdale’s Claire McKeown. Claire was part of the GB W8 that won bronze at the European Championships last year. The last sculler to highlight is South African Kristine Johnson, racing for Leeds. Kristine has a HWR winners medal, having won the Senior 1X title last year.
My picks….Flood for the win

Elite 2X
A straight final between Wallingford and Imperial College. Imperial won the BUCS championships and defeated Wallingford when the two crews met at the Metropolitan Regatta (Imperial winning by 10 seconds. I can’t see a different result at Henley, IC for the win.

Elite 2-
9 entries. International representation here from Boston College USA. As a warm up to Henley the BC Eagles raced at the Swiss National Championships on Lake Sarnen where the pair picked up a silver medal. The domestic challenge is likely to be spearheaded by Cardiff City and Durham. The Welsh won E2- at the Met Regatta, but they lost to Durham in SEN 2- at the same event. There won’t be much to choose from between these two. City of Cambridge was just behind Durham & Cardiff at the Met. London were also victors at the Met regatta in the lower IM1 division and will be looking to step up at Henley. Another crew to watch will be Molesey (although I haven’t been able to find any of their results so far).
My picks…Durham for the win

Elite 4-
6 entries. Tideway Scullers were winners on both days at Ghent (albeit against limited opposition) and were 2nd on the Sunday of the Metropolitan Regatta. But, at the Met they were between by the GB U23 composite racing as Aberdeen/Agecroft/Molesey & Tees (Beth Bryan, Rebecca Chin, Iona Batty & Nel Castle Smith). The Cambridge University women have half of their Boat Race crew in this event and certainly will be competitive. The Boston Eagles are doubling up, splitting their Elite 8 into two 4’s. As with the E2- , they raced at the Swiss championships where they took silver and bronze. Another international crew racing are the Dutch of KSRV Njord, my information on this crew is sketchy, but a W4- from the Dutch student club were 3rd at the Thetis Sprints in Amsterdam earlier this month.
My picks….the GB U23 composite

Elite 4X
4 entries. Imperial are favourites for this event. They won at BUCS and again at the Metropolitan Regatta. The other 3 entries are all doubling up in the Elite Lightweight division. Exeter were winners at BUCS and also won IM1 4X on the Saturday of the Metropolitan. 2nd to Imperial at the Met were the U23 lightweight composite, racing as UL/IC/Sir William Borlase/Newcastle. The final entry are a lightweight quad from Thames who were 2nd at Ghent.
My pick…the BUCS champions, Imperial.

Elite 8’s
2 entries. The GB U23 Composite v the Boston College Eagles. The Americans won the Swiss National Championships last weekend and were 7th at the Eastern Sprints in the USA. I think they may find the going tough against the U23 composite boat….GB for the win.

Elite Lwt 1X
5 entries. My favourite is Putney Town’s Charlotte Taylor. 2nd to Debbie Flood in E1X at Wallingford, Charlotte has wins in IM1 at Wallingford, E LW1X and IM1X at the Met. Leading the chase will be Nikki Spencer of Nottingham. She has a win this season at Notts City and 2nd place to Taylor at the Met.
Taylor for the win

Elite Lwt 2-
5 entries. Not sure if some of the crews are doubling up in Elite 2- but there are London and Wallingford boats in both. But the probable favourites will be Durham, winners of Championship Lightweight pairs at BUCS Regatta beating Aberdeen into 2nd. The main challenge will probably come from London and Mortlake Anglian & Alpha. The London boat (if it’s the same one) won the IM1 division at the Met and the MAA crew were 3rd in Elite 2- at the same regatta.
My pick….Durham

Elite Lwt 4X
3 entries. Again, it looks like all these crews are doubling up in the lightweight and open weight events. Exeter were winners of the lightweight quads at BUCS and also won IM1 4X at the Met. The U23 composite (see E4X for details) were 2nd in Elite 4x’s on the Sunday of the Met regatta. Thames are the 3rd entry.
This will be very close but I think the U23 composite will win.

Now onto the Senior events….

Sen 1X
17 entries. No single entry really stands-out, which should make for some good racing. Holly Norton of Tuks RC was in the South African JW2- that finished 8th at the Junior World Championships in 2011. Another sculler with junior international experience is Lucy Walczak of Molesey, she was 9th in the JW1X in 2006. Imperial’s Clio Aubugeau-Williams raced in the Coupe de la Jeunesse and also raced for Wales at the Home International Regatta in 2012. Another of the Welsh senior squad is the lightweight Kate Evans (Swansea). Evans won the Lightweight 1X at the BUCS regatta in 2012 and was 3rd in the Home International regatta.
The GB “Start” programme has a couple of scullers involved with Charlotte Davies of Tees and Sara Parfett of Bath Uni. Davies was 3rd in IM2X & won IM3 1X at the Met regatta. Parfett was part of the Bath Uni elite swimming programme before switching to rowing making the final of W2X at the 2012 BUCS regatta. The final scullers to highlight is Karen McCarthy of Walbrook and Kate Hart of Nottingham. McCarthy was 3rd in the Senior 1X at the Sunday Met Regatta. Hart was 3rd in Elite 1X at Notts City.
My pick…..tricky…..I’m going for Evans of Swansea…or maybe Walczak of Molesey…err.. I think

Senior 2X
22 entries. My favourite for this is Wallingford. They won Elite 2X at their home regatta and came 2nd at the Met. Thames finished just behind Wallingford at the Met and will be hoping to reverse this at Henley. Maidenhead will also be strong challengers having finished 3rd in this category at the Met. Of the student crews, Bath University have shown good speed recently with a win in IM1 at Reading Amateur at the start of June (they were also 4th at BUCS). A couple of intriguing entries are the composites of Leicester and Texas and also Falcon & Arundel. The Scottish clubs will also be mounting a strong challenge with Strathclyde and Clydesdale. Strathclyde won at their home regatta with Clydesdale in 3rd.
My pick…I’m going for Wallingford.

Senior 4X
19 entries. BUCS champions, Imperial must start as favourites with Reading University (silver medallists at BUCS) chasing them. The schoolgirls of Latymer Upper will be putting up a strong challenge. They were runners-up at the National Schools Regatta, winners of J18 4X at Wallingford, and winners of Elite 4X at Reading amateur.
Imperial for the win

Senior 4+
13 entries. 3 entries from the USA with two boats from Trinity College Hartford Connecticut, and one from Grand Valley State University, Michigan. The GVS Lakers 2nd Varsity 8 won at the American Collegiate Rowing Association Championships (ACRA) with their Varsity 4 finishing 7th. Trinity Hartford have split their Senior 8. They were 6th in the Grand Final of the NCAA championships. Leading the domestic challenge will be BUCS winners, Newcastle (who also won at Reading). They will be pushed by Molesey and Upper Thames. These last two crews have been battling each other all season. At Wallingford Regatta the Henley club beat Molesey in Senior 4’s but this was reversed in Elite 4’s at the Met where Molesey were 2nd and Upper Thames 3rd.
My pick…Newcastle

Senior 8’s
9 entries. Potentially the most competitive event at the regatta. The best of British v the best of the USA. BUCS and Boat Race champions, Oxford take on Grand Valley Michigan. The Americans were winners at the Dad Vails and also the American Collegiate Rowing Associations Championships. Another American challenge will come from the Radcliffe Lightweights who were runners-up at the IRA regatta. Other entries of interest are University College Dublin who won IM1 at the Met regatta and also the composite from Durham/Star (built around the crew that were 2nd in Provisional 8’s at the WEHORR).
My pick….it’s going to be an epic battle between Oxford and GVS…I’m going for a home win.

Senior Lwt 1X
15 entries. Simone Dutreux of UL won the Lightweight division at BUCS in 2012. Several of the entries raced Elite LW1X at Notts City, Yasmin Marks of Nottingham had the best performance finishing 2nd to her club-mate Nikki Spencer (who is racing Elite LW1X). Rebecca Sadler of Upper Thames was 3rd with Wright of Upper Thames finishing 4th. Another entry from Upper Thames is the veteran Juliet Machan, she was world champion in the LW2- in 1996 and will be a strong challenger.
My pick, Yasmin Marks of Nottingham for the win.

Senior Lwt 2X
4 entries. This will probably turn into a fight between BUCS winners, UL and the winners at the Met, Mortlake Anglian & Alpha. The Oxford lightweights just missed out on the “A” final at BUCS but won the “B” final convincingly. The final entry are Wallingford. They were 3rd at the Met behind MAA.

My pick….ULBC

Club Events:
Club 8
14 entries. This is where some of my info gets a little sketchy so forgive me if I get some of the assumptions wrong! But, this looks to be a three-way battle between Thames, Lea and Vesta. Thames “A” were winners of IM2 at Reading and also IM3 at Notts City. The Lea won IM2 and Notts City but were runners up to Thames in IM3 (if they were the same crews…assumption no.1). Vesta were 4th in IM1 at the Met and were runners up to Thames in IM2 at Reading. Outside of these 3 look out for the Irish juniors from Galway, victors in Division 1 eights at the Queen’s Regatta, Castlewellan earlier this season.
My pick…Thames A

Club 4+
27 entries. The entries to highlight are probably the Lea, winners of IM2 at Wallingford, Thames, who won IM2 at Notts City and City of Oxford who were runner-up in IM2 at Reading. Also to watch are Mortlake Anglian & Alpha who won IM3 at Wallingford and Furnival who also won IM3 at Reading.
My pick….The Lea

I’m not going to preview the Academic events as I don’t have enough information regarding the specific crews to make it worthwhile.

Junior events

Junior 4x
4 entries. Favourites are Eton Excelsior who raced at the National Schools Regatta where they were 4th. They also won J18 quads at the Metropolitan Regatta. St.Edwards raced at Reading Amateur where they were runners-up to Marlow. Broomfield Acton from the USA are a bit of an unknown quantity.
My pick….Eton

Junior 4+
11 entries. A strong contingent from North America have entered. Pick of them will probably be Harriton from Philadelphia. They were runners up in Girls Senior 4’s at the prestigious Stotesbury Regatta. Greenwich Academy from Connecticut also raced at Stotesbury where they were 5th. From Canada, Kingston Collegiate are the Eastern Rowing Association Champions. From the domestic entries the strongest challenge will probably be St.Pauls Girls School. They were silver medallists in the Girls 4+ at the National Schools Regatta with Aberdeen 3rd, Tideway scullers 4th and Great Marlow 5th.
My pick….I think this will go across the Atlantic to Harriton

Junior 8
7 entries. Lady Eleanor Holles are one of the powerhouses of junior womens rowing in Britain and were 3rd at the National Schools Regatta. They should be well clear of their rivals with the “best of the rest” probably being the Canadians of EL Crossley who won Senior 63kg 8’s at the Canadian Secondary Schools Rowing Association championships.
My pick…LEH comfortably
That’s it…I know I’ve omitted a few events but as I said, some of the information is sketchy so my apologies. Also as I mentioned earlier, if some of my assumptions regarding which crew won at which event is wrong feel free to let me know! Now we just have to hope the weather gods are kind!

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