It’s that time of year again…it’s Henley time! An integral part of the Henley experience is the qualifying races on the Friday before the main regatta. For some crews having to race a time trial is a minor inconvenience, for others, to hear their crew announced as a qualifier is the highlight of their season…it’s almost like a Henley win!
But, it’s a brutal set of races, a time trial is sometimes worse than a match race. In a match race if you get a lead you can pace your race according to what your opponent, in a Time Trial there is no such luxury, you have to go flat out the whole way down the course.
So, the entries have been announced and the Stewards, in their infinite wisdom, have decided who is pre-qualified and who has to race on Friday. So this is my look at who has to race the qualifiers and who I think will get through.
Starting with the Diamonds (M1X)
9 scullers to race with the fastest 2 to qualify.
Elliot Barton of Exeter University, who, according to the InfinityPro website is a “professional rower and Commonwealth champion”. He won gold for England at the Commonwealth Regatta in Canada in 2010. More recently he was 5th in Elite 1X at Marlow.
Chris Boddy of Leander Club. A bit harsh in my opinion to make Chris qualify. He raced the LM1X at the 2nd World Cup at Dorney last weekend where he finished 9th, he also raced in the LM4- at the first World Cup in Sydney where he picked up a silver medal.
T Hope of Upper Thames. Won Elite 1X at Wallingford and has just been picked to represent the USA in the U23 LM2X
Hugh Mackworth-Praed (Auriol Kensington) the veteran is back for another bash. 42 year old Mackworth-Praed is still a force to be reckoned with. He might not quite have the speed he had as a GB lightweight international in the early noughties, but he won at Notts City this season so mustn’t be underestimated.
Adam Neill of Brentwood College Canada. Formerly of Reading University and was 4th at the Metropolitan Regatta. He won at Reading when Mackworth-Praed crabbed and capsized (it happens to the best of them).
Valetin Piticariu (Lea Rowing Club) is a Romanian international and a former U23 world champion. His last international appearance for Romania was in the M8 that finished 5th at the European Championships in 2011.
Dave Read (Leander) A Henley medallist in the Prince of Wales Challenge Cup in 2010. This season Read has 2nd places from Marlow and the Metropolitan Regattas.
The Revd James Stephenson (Isis) Like Mackworth-Praed, the 35 year old Stephensen is an ex-GB lightweight international (They actually raced together in the GB LM4X in 2004). He was also in the 7 seat of the victorious Isis crew this year.
S Bishop (Walton) may find the going a little hot, the highlight for his so far this season is a win in IM2 at Putney Town Regatta.
So who will be the lucky 2….I think Chris Boddy will get one slot with the second going to the Romanian Piticariu.
Silver Goblets (M2-)
5 crews to race with 4 to qualify.
Coughlan & Bartlett of Poplar, Blackwall & District have raced at The Met and at Marlow. They finished 4th at the Met and 3rd at Marlow. The race at Marlow combined 2 boats in elite with 2 in Senior, so Poplar finished 2nd in Elite but 3rd in the race. Ahead of them were..
Jinks & Meigh of Birmingham University. This pair have been racing together most of the season, winning Senior 2- at Marlow and 2nd in Senior 2- at the Met
Fryer & Schreiber of Lymington are more used to racing on the sea than the river and won at the Coalporters Regatta.
Holden-Smith & Todd of Taurus…these two are probably the pick of the qualifiers. Alex Holden-Smith was U23 bronze medallist in 2007.
Finally, Rogers & Leach of City of Oxford are a veteran pair and won Masters B at the Abingdon Head of the river.
I think it’ll be between City of Oxford & Lymington to be the unlucky pair.
The Princess Royal (W1X)
5 crews with 1 to qualify
Rebecca Humphreys (London Rowing Club) raced for GB in the U23 LW4X in 2011 finishing 5th. This season in the single she has a 6th place at the Met regatta and a semi-final place in Elite Lightweight singles at Henley Women’s Regatta
Kris Johnson (Leeds Rowing Club) raced Elite 1X at Henley Women’s Regatta last week beating fellow qualifying hopeful Pippa Whittaker, then losing to the eventual champion Debbie Flood. She also qualified for this event last year (losing to the Italian international Laura Schiavone) and in 2011 (losing to US international Gevvie Stone).
Pippa Whittaker (Nottingham) As mentioned above, she raced at HWR losing to Johnson. Like Johnson, Whittaker also qualified for his event last year (losing to the Irish international Sonia Puspure). She also has a 3rd place at Notts City regatta this season.
Club mate of Whittaker is Nicky Spencer. She finished one place behind her club mate at Notts City. She also raced at Henley Women’s Regatta in elite Lightweight, losing in the semi-final.She and Pippa Whittaker combined to win Elite W2X at the Coronation Regatta.
Fran Rawlins (Mortlake, Anglian & Alpha) In 2012 Fran raced for England in the LW1X at the Home International Regatta picking up a gold medal. This season she has a 5th place finish in Elite W1X at Wallingford.
Very tough to pick just one sculler to qualify, but if I have to pick one I’ll go with Kris Johnson to qualify for her 3rd Henley Royal.
6 crews with 4 to qualify.
A few old hands are trying their luck in this event!
Colborne & Scrivener (Martyrs & Cheltenham College) Julien Scrivener is a former GB international who won his last international vest as part of the M4X in 1985.This season they have a 2nd place in IM1 at Wallingford.
Another of the veterans having a crack are Rob Roy. This is a mix of youth and experience. The experience comes in the shape of Simon Goodbrand…he raced for GB in the M2X back in 1998. His partner, Ed Parkhouse, provides the youth…he won his novice pot at Peterborough this year.
Upper Thames’ Will Hoodless & Will King raced at Marlow and took 5th.
Mole & Fisher of Tyne finished 1 place behind Upper Thames at Marlow.
Huw Mackworth-Praed and Elliot Barton are both doubling up in the Diamonds with the 42 year old Mackworth-Praed a Henley veteran.
Perhaps the pick of the qualifiers are Sam Knight & Dave Bell racing as UL & Molesey. Knight was in the GB U23 quad last year coming 11th. Dave Bell made Friday’s racing in the Diamonds in 2011 and started this season as part of the Molesey 1st 8.
To qualify…Knight/Bell, Mackworth-Praed/Barton, Colborne/Scrivener & Hoodless/King
Britannia Challenge Cup (Club M4+)
8 crews with 3 to qualify.
Belfast Boat club are, apparently, 2 of the Irish U23 4- for this season, A 3rd is the U23 1X and the 4th crewman will be racing in the Coupe De La Jeunesse. This might be stretching the rules of the event a little (No U23 crew may compete) but as this is not the full U23 crew they are eligible (just 😉 )
Combined Services Boat Club have raced at the Met regatta where they came 4th in IM1.
Thames B…I’m not sure of the line up but Thames did have 2 4+ racing at Ghent with the 2nd boat finishing 5th.
Taurus B…again I have no info on the line-up at the moment but as Brookes old-boys they will be fairly quick.
Tideway Scullers have tinkered with the line-up of the 4+ that has been racing this season. Crouch and Murray have come out of the 8 and are joined by Chung & Beckett.
To qualify: Belfast, TSS & then it’ll be very close between Taurus & Thames.
Wyfold Challenge Cup (Club 4-)
37 crews with 14 to qualify. I’m not going to go through every crew…life’s too short and you’ll get bored…but here are a few highlights (in alphabetical order).
Bexhill – 3rd in IM1 at the Met and 2nd at Marlow. Should qualify.
Broxbourne – 2nd in IM2 at Marlow.
Elizabethan – Westminster alumni, includes JM8 silver medallist Fred Vystavel – They also won IM1 at Marlow. I’m a little surprised they weren’t pre-qualified.
Eyre Club – I must admit this is a new one on me and I know nothing about them! All I know is they are based out of Thames…possibly a veteran crew?
Gloucester – includes former lightweight 1X national champion, Ben Rodford. They were 3rd in IM2 at Marlow.
Leeds- 5th in IM1 at Notts City
Both London boats struggled at Marlow with neither the IM1 nor the IM2 boats making it out of the Reps. I think they may struggle to be top 14
Marlow- 3rd in IM1 at Marlow
Molesey – 1 place behind Marlow at Marlow – Should qualify
Newark – 5th in IM1 at the Met
Nottingham & Union B – 5th in Elite 4- at Notts City – should qualify
Quintin – 4th in IM1 at the Met (assuming that was the Wyfold & not the Visitors crew)
Radley Mariners – Radley College alumni…they were due to race at Marlow but withdrew
Royal Chester – they raced in Elite at Notts City and came 4th, they also raced at Marlow in IM1 and came 7th.
Thames – with a win in IM1 at Marlow and at The Met, they will be a little disappointed not to have been given the nod from the Stewards
Tees – finished 2nd behind Thames in IM1 at the Met
Tideway Scullers A – this is the TSS 3rd ranked boat and raced in Elite at Marlow coming 6th.
Upper Thames – The B boat came 2nd in IM1 at the Met with the C boat coming 7th – I think one of these will qualify but it’ll be tight for the other.
Worcester – Came 3rd in IM1 at the Met
York – 3rd in IM1 at Notts City
So, my qualifier picks are…Bexhill, Elizabethan, Marlow A, Molesey, Notts & Union B, Quintin, Radley Mariners, Royal Chester, Tees, Thames, TSS A, UTRC B, Worcester & York.
Visitors Challenge Cup (Intermediate M4-)
5 crews with 2 to qualify.
Durham were semi-finalists in championship 4- at BUCS
London raced at Marlow and picked up a 2nd place 3 seconds behind Molesey.
Pangbourne are a very talented young crew but may find the going a little quick in this event. They were 2nd at the National Schools Regatta and 7th in Senior 4- at Marlow.
Okeanos/Nereus- The Dutch students. I don’t believe these are the top student boats so may find the pace a little quick.
Trinity Hall/Caius – again, not sure of the line-up so difficlut to tell how quick they’ll be.
To qualify…London & then the Cambridge composite.
Princess Eizabeth Challenge Cup (Schoolboy 8)
One of the smallest entries for years means that 3 crews are required to race qualifiers for 2 spots.
Cheltenham, RGS Worcester & Kings School Worcester.
Cheltenham are the only one of the three to race at the National Schools Regatta but they finished last in their semi-final of 1st 8’s.
My pick…I think Kings Worcester will miss out.
Prince Albert (Student 4+)
8 to qualify from 28 entries.
3 US crews are having to go through qualifiers, the juniors from Boston College, Trinity College Hartford and University of Virginia B. But I think one of these, Boston, will miss out.
Of the domestic entries I would pick out:
Bath Uni – 4th at BUCS
Brookes – 2nd at BUCS
Edinburgh A – finished 5th at BUCS
Exeter – 6th at BUCS and winners of IM2 at Marlow
Imperial A – winners of Elite at the Met – (although apparently the line-up has changed since then)
Newcastle – 3rd at BUCS
Southampton – 5th in IM1 at Marlow and lost the final in elite at Reading Amateur.
UL – winners of IM1 at the Met
Qualifiers….Hartford, Virginia, IC, Brookes, UL, Bath, Newcastle & Edinburgh.
The Thames Challenge Cup (Club 8’s)
This is the one or the clubs talk about (if 171 pages of comments on Talk Rowing are anything to go by!)…12 crews to qualify from 35 racing.
I’m not going to go through all the crews…have a read of Talk Rowing if you have insomnia 😉
But my 12 to qualify are:
City of Cambridge
The Temple Challenge Cup (Student 8)
A big entry of 45 crews for 15 places. A mix of Schoolboy 2nd 8s (or J16’s) and the student boats.
Of the schools Eton have their 2nd 8 and their J16’s racing. The 2nd 8 were 3rd at the National Schools and the J16 were National Schools champions, both these boats could well embarrass the older students and take 2 of the qualifying spots.
Hampton have their 2nd 8 which won at the National Schools regatta – I think they will definitely qualify.
St.Paul’s 2nd 8 finished 1 place behind Hampton at National Schools. A possible qualifier.
Of the students the pick is probably Durham, 5th in Senior 8’s at Marlow and 4th at BUCS.
Goldie winners of IM3 at the Met.
University College London – winners of IM2 at Marlow
Queen’s Belfast were 5th at BUCS although (if the chat on Talk Rowing is to be believed) this is a different line-up so may struggle to qualify.
Exeter finished 2nd in IM3 at Marlow one place ahead of Birmingham.
Glasgow were 3rd in the Scottish University championships behind perennial rivals Edinburgh.
Bristol’s 1st 8 were 6th in IM2 at Marlow and their 2nd 8 missed out on the final of IM3 at Marlow.
So to qualify…(and I’m sure lots of you will disagree with some of these)
Durham, Eton A & B, Exeter, Goldie, Hampton, Reading Blue Coat, UCL, Birmingham, Bristol A, UL & Worcester College.
The Fawley Challenge Cup (JM4X)
46 entries for 13 qualifying slots.
Again, there is endless discussion on this event on Talk Rowing (also check out the Junior rowing blog for detailed info on the junior entries), so I will just pick out the crews I think will make the top 13.
Claires Court A, Dulwich, Lea A, Maidstone Invicta, Marlow B, Molesey A, Monmouth Comprehensive, Newark, Star & Arrow, Star A, Kings Worcester, Tideway Scullers A & Westminster B
Remenham challenge (Elite W8)
3 crews to qualify from 7 entries.
Exeter include the 4 that won Academic 4+ at Henley Women’s Regatta and as an 8 they were 6th in Senior 8’s at the Met.
Newcastle were 3rd at BUCS
London were only 6th at BUCS but improved throughout the season and won Academic 8’s at Henley Women’s.
The composite of Newcastle/Nereus is an unknown quantity but I would assume they are a scratch, but talented, composite.
My qualifiers…UL, Newcastle, Exeter
And last but my no means least
17 crews for 4 spots
The one entry from the US; Bromfield Acton are required to qualify, they lost in the quarter finals of Henley Women’s Regatta to fellow-qualifying hopeful, Kingston Grammar.
Marlow have the winners of J16 quads at Henley women’s regatta where they beat Tideway Scullers in the final.
Sir William Borlase raced at the National Schools Regatta where they were 5th.
Reading also raced HWR where they came up against the eventual winners, Gloucester, in the quarter finals.
At the moment I have no info on the 2 Irish quads from Galway.
My selection…KGS, Galway, Marlow & Sir William Borlase.
So that’s it, good luck to everyone having to race tomorrow and roll on next week!