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Henley Royal Regatta preview part 6 – The junior events

 

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passions run high in the junior events. Photo: Getty

Time has pretty much beaten me I’m afraid. So my preview of the junior events is going to be somewhat curtailed.

Princess Elizabeth Challenge Cup

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The Princess Elizabeth Challenge Cup

Holders: Eton College

This has the makings of one of the best Princess Elizabeth Challenge Cups for years, the champions of Great Britain, the USA and Australia are all racing. The top half of the draw is massively stacked with St Pauls, Scotch College and Eton College.

Scotch College are the Australian schoolboy champions, they raced at the Holland Beker last weekend finishing 2nd in the JM8 to the Dutch junior national squad. The posted a time of 5:40 which is brisk for any crew let alone a junior boat. They face St. Georges in the first round, winners of the 1st Fours at the National Schools.

St Pauls are the reigning British National School’s Champions. Bobby Thatcher has put together an outstanding unit. They made the final of Championship 8’s at Marlow Regatta finishing 6th (beating the Elizabethan Ladies Plate crew in the process).

Eton are the reigning champions and have half of that crew returning. At the National Schools Regatta they finished 2nd to St Pauls by under 2 seconds. With coach Alex Henshilwood stepping down from his position as head coach to become a Housemaster a victory in his last race would be a fitting send off.

Gonzaga from the USA will also be confident of doing well in the bottom half of the draw, they finished 4th at the Youth Nationals – this is particularly noteworthy as they were the best placed school, the top three were all from youth club programmes.

Radley College have a habit of peaking just at the right time for Henley. They finished 5th at the National Schools but Master in charge of Rowing and former Olympian Sam Townsend, has changed the line up and have found more speed in the last few weeks and finished 4th in Tier 2 8’s at Marlow.

The top US school racing are Montclair from New Jersey. They’ve had an undefeated season so far this year winning the Stotesbury Cup, Scholatics and the National Schools Championship Regatta.

My picks…any one of St Pauls, Eton, Scotch, Montclair or Gonzaga could win this. One of the best races could be a potential semi-final between Eton and St Pauls, whoever wins that will win the title. I’ve a sneaky feeling Eton will make it 5 wins in 9 years.

 

The Fawley Challenge Cup

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The Fawley Challenge Cup

Holders: Claires Court Boat Club

8 Selected crews in this event, all of whom get a bye through the first round. The first Selected crew are San Diego Rowing Club USA. They last raced at Henley in 2015 losing to finalists Nottingham in the early stages. At the Southwest Youth Championships they finished 3rd in the M4X.

Leander are the next Selected crew, 2nd at the Schools Head, 2nd at the National Schools they will be looking to go one better at Henley and take their first win in the event for 15 years

Malvern Prep from Pennsylvania were losing finalists in this event back in 2003. The 2017 crew arrive in Henley on the back of a win at the SRAA Championships.

Windsor Boys are possibly the favourites in the event. Finalists in two of the last three years. Winners of the National Schools Regatta in both the Champ quads and the Champ doubles. They’ve raced for GB at the Munich Junior Regatta and the European Junior Championships.

In the lower half of the draw the first Selected crew are the defending champions, Claires Court. 4th at the National Schools but have been improving since then with a win at the Metropolitan Regatta.

Globe are the next Selected crew, 5th at Wallingford followed by 2nd at the Met and 3rd at Marlow. A potential quarter final against Claires Court beckons.

Maidenhead are the 3rd of the Selected crews in the bottom half of the draw. Winners at the Schools Head of the River was followed by silver at the National Schools and a win at Marlow. The way the draw is looking they will be favourites to reach the final.

The last of the Selected crews are The Tideway Scullers. A number of this crew have been involved with the GB system at the Munich Junior Regatta and placed 3rd at the Metropolitan Regatta and 5th at Marlow.

My picks I’m going to plump for a Windsor v Maidenhead final with Windsor taking the win

 

The Diamond Jubilee Challenge Cup

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The Diamond Jubilee Challenge Cup

Holders: Gloucester

4 selected crews out of the 16 crews in the event. The first of the Selected crews are also possibly the favourites, Gloucester. They won Junior quads at Henley Women’s Regatta and were 4th at the National Schools.

The 2nd Selected crew in the top half of the draw are the biggest threats to Gloucester, Headington School. They won by 10 seconds at the National Schools Regatta and raced in the Senior Quads at Henley Women’s Regatta, just losing out in the final to Tideway Scullers.

Henley are the first of the Selected crews in the bottom half of the draw. Henley have an outstanding junior programme and were the first winners of this event back in 2012. 2nd at National Schools they made the semi-finals of Henley Women’s Regatta.

The final Selected crew are Latymer Upper. Bronze medallists at the National Schools Regatta, they lost to Gloucester in the quarter finals of Henley Women’s Regatta.

Outside of the selected crews the ones to watch include Beckett School – 5th in Champ 4X at National Schools Regatta. Also watch out for Isle of Ely, finalists at the Henley Women’s Regatta.

My picks…a potential Headington v Gloucester semi looks to be a potential classic, whoever wins that will take the title. I’m going for a win for Ryan Demaine’s girls from Headington.

 

So that’s it. My apologies the school events have been a bit cursory, but time has run out.

I hoe you’ve enjoyed reading my previews, judging by the number of hits they do seem quite popular. Now to sit back and enjoy the racing and if you see a slightly frazzled Fatsculler at the regatta, and you’ve enjoyed reading these blogs maybe you could buy me a pint!!

Henley Royal Regatta 2017 preview part 5 – The student events

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With time rapidly running out before racing starts I need to crack on with the Student events…

 

The Temple Challenge Cup

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The Temple Challenge Cup

Holders: Oxford Brookes University “A”

12 crews have been Selected by the Stewards in what is always a fiercely contested event.

First of the selected crews in the draw are one of three Dutch crews in the draw, all of whom have been Selected. Top of the list are KSRV Njord, from Leiden near The Hague. Last weekend they raced in the Intermediate event at the Holland Beker winning the gold medal in an impressive time of 5:40.

They face one of three Oxford Brookes’ crews in the first round, the Oxford Brookes “C” crew. This Brookes’ crew were unlucky at Marlow Regatta when an equipment failure meant they were a “DNF” In the Tier 2 8’s final having posted the 3rd fastest time in the Time Trial.

Winners of the Tier 2 race at Marlow was the Oxford Brookes’ “B”crew, stroked by Tom Asteriades. They are the 2nd Selected boat in the top half of the draw. On the Sunday of the Metropolitan Regatta this crew was 3rd in Tier 1 8’s in a remarkable 1,2,3 for Oxford Brookes. In their first race on Wednesday Brookes face Imperial College. This promises to be a great contest, at Marlow Regatta Brookes’ won the Tier 2 8’s with Imperial in 2nd. 8 seconds separated the two crews on that occasion. It’ll be interesting to see if Imperial can narrow the gap in a match race on the 2112m Henley course.

The third Selected crew in the top half of the draw are Kings College Queensland, Australia. Not a particularly long-established or renowned rowing programme in Australia, Kings nevertheless have had a good run since arriving in the UK. They raced Tier 2 8’s at Marlow finishing 4th in the B-Final, and at Reading Town Regatta they placed 2nd in their heat of Senior 8’s. They face a first round contest against Bath University who finished 3rd in University 8’s at Marlow. This should be a good race and the Aussies will have a fight on their hands to progress to Thursday.

The next Selected crew are Yale University. This crew is a mix of the 2nd and 3rd Varsity 8’s, with Edgar Staunton, Tom Beck, John Risbergs, Angus Morrison, Seth Bartlett and cox Woods Connell from the 2V and Tom Bischoff and Bryan DeVries from the 3V. The final member of the crew is Nick Helms, who didn’t race during the last season. Both the 2nd and 3rd Varsity boats finished 4th in their respective events at the IRA Championships and will be expecting to do well at Henley. They have University College London in the first round and will be confident of progressing.

The next Selected crew are the University of London “A” crew. UL have a proud history at Henley – there was a time that UL “Purples” were banned from this event as they were considered of too high a standard. After a few years in the doldrums, UL men’s rowing is going through a bit of a renaissance, and UL are about the only British university that have gotten anywhere near Oxford Brookes. At the BUCS Regatta UL were delighted to win the silver medal, losing out to the top Brookes crew (the majority of whom are racing in the Ladies Plate) but beating the top Brookes Temple crew. But at the Metropolitan regatta Brookes’ got revenge pushing UL back into 4th, behind both the 1st and 2nd Brookes Temple boats. At Marlow Regatta UL finished 3rd, a length behind the no.1 Brookes Temple crew in an excellent time of 5:37. UL race Bucknell University from Lewisburg Pennsylvania. The Bucknell Bisons finished their regular season on a high with a silver medal in the Varsity 8’s at the ACRA Championships on Lake Lanier Georgia. This should be a good contest but I expect UL to progress.

At the bottom of this half of the draw are Cornell University “A” crew. One of three Cornell boats in the draw, this crew are the Lightweight Varsity crew. They’ve had an exceptional 2017 season, going undefeated and winning the Lightweight Varsity 8’s at the IRA’s. They will be one of the favourites in the top half of the draw and a potential meeting with either UL or Yale on Friday could be one of the highlights of the day.

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Cornell University, USA winners of the Lightweight Varsity 8’s at the IRA Championships

The first Selected crew in the lower half of the draw are University of California, Berkeley USA. The Cal Bears will start as one of the favourites. The crew is a mix of the 2nd and 3rd Varsity boats and has a distinctly Aussie feel to it with no fewer than 5 Australians on board – James Riley, Jack Cleary, Hamish McDonald, Sam Horsley and Mark Brinker. Horsley and Brinker were in the Cal boat that raced in the Ladies Plate last year losing to Leander in the Semi-Final. The 2V members of the crew (Hunter Hodges, Jo Sterner, McDonald & Horsley) won silver at the IRA’s this season with the 3V (Riley, Will Creedon & Brinker) placing 3rd in their division. Facing the Bears on Wednesday are the medics of the United Hospitals – 4 from Imperial College School of Medicine, 4 from Barts and 1 from Kings. The cox, Alexander Davie is the first of the crew to qualify as a Dr. This crew have no illusions about the challenge they face against the Californians, but are determined to make the most of the “Henley experience”.

The next Selected crew are the University of Virginia, coached by Frank Biller. The crew includes a couple of talented lightweight oarsmen, Calvin Heimberg at bow and stroke Chris Hastings, who won the LWT 4+ at the Dad Vails last year and were 4th in the LM4- at the Head of the Charles. They also have a number of heavyweight varsity rowers who finished 3rd at the ACRA Championships. One thing you can be sure of with any Virginia crew is that they will be easy to spot at Henley as they paint their blades in a particularly vibrant variation of their traditional orange colours (I’m told it’s only this bright for Henley!) Racing against UVA are Goldie Boat Club. This is the Cambridge development crew with an eye mainly on building a squad for the 2018 Boat Race and beyond.

Although neither are a Selected crew, it’s worth just quickly mentioning an all-American race between Santa Clara University and Worcester Polytechnic Institute – a classic West Coast v East Coast match.

Unusually for Henley the draw has pitted two Selected crews against each other in the first round, Cornell University “B” and the lightweights from the University of Groeningen, The Netherlands. Cornell is a heavyweight development boat with a mix of guys from their 2nd, 3rd and 4th Varsity boats, all of whom raced at the Eastern Sprints and IRA’s. Not much info on Groeningen but they are a strong lightweight boat. This should be a good match up.

Oxford Brookes “A” at the next Selected crew and for many people they are favourites to take the title. At the BUCS Regatta they were pipped for 2nd by UL but at the Metropolitan regatta they finished 2nd to their own number 1 boat and then at Marlow they produced an outstanding row to finish 2nd again the Brookes/Taurus Ladies Plate. Their time at Marlow of 5:34 broke the previous club record.

The final Selected crew in the bottom half of the draw are the lightweights from ASR Nereus. Winners of the LM8 at the Heineken Championships earlier this year they are a good, strong lightweight boat. After the shenanigans between Brookes and Nereus last year a potential match up on Thursday between these two clubs (albeit with very different crews) will be “fun”. To get to Thursday Nereus have to get passed fellow lightweights Cornell University “C”. This is a lightweight development boat from Cornell made up of guys from their 2nd, 3rd and 4th Varsities who all raced at the Eastern Sprints and IRA’s. This should be another good battle – if there’s one thing the American crews know how to do and that’s match race.

 

My picks…this is always a tight contest – the potential semi-final match ups between Cal and Brookes’ “A” could be the race of the regatta on Saturday. I think the title will go to Brookes.

 

The Prince Albert Challenge Cup

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The Prince Albert Challenge Cup

Holders: Edinburgh University “A”

 

8 Selected crews in this 16 boat event. At the top of the draw the Selected crew is DSR Laga from the Netherlands, winners earlier this season at the ZRB Regatta. They face the schoolboys from Kent School, Connecticut. They raced at Marlow finishing 4th in the B-Final of Champ 4+.

The second Selected crew are Imperial College. The crew of Oliie Hines, Tristan Vouilloz, Tobias Heaton, Jack Walsh and cox Chris Au will probably start as marginal favourites for the title. They were 4th at BUCS but since then have victories in Championship 4’s at both the Metropolitan and Marlow regattas. Their first race is against the University of Surrey. They can probably count themselves unlucky to draw the favourites in the first round as they’ve had a solid season of racing and if the draw had been more favourable could have progressed a couple of rounds, 3rd in Tier 3 at the Met they were 2nd in College 4’s at Marlow.

The next Selected boat are the Americans from Boston University. This is half of the BU 2nd Varsity 8 that finished 6th at the IRA’s. stroking the boat is US U23 international Isaac Mocarski. They face the University of Bristol in the first round stroked by former GB Junior international Callum Gathercole.

Edinburgh University are the defending champions and have been selected again this year. They may find the going a little tough to retain their title. This year’s crew of Finlay Watson, Andras Nemeth, Ryan Morrison, Callum Urquhart and Rosie Margolis, raced in the Champ 4+ event at Marlow finishing 2nd in the B-Final. Facing Edinburgh are Durham University “A”. This will be a tough race for the Selected crew, Durham won Tier 3 4’s on both days at the Met and at Marlow they won College 4’s posting a time 9 seconds faster than Edinburgh. This could well be the race of the round in this event.

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Edinburgh University – winners in 2016

In the bottom half of the draw the first Selected crew are from the University of London. They last won this event in 2012, for 2017 the crew is Stuart Pearce, Andrew Holm, Fred Smart, Archie Hilder and cox Harry Peters. They raced in Tier 2 on both days of the Metropolitan Regatta finishing 6th on Saturday and 3rd on Sunday.  They also raced Tier 2 at Marlow ending up in the B-Final. What will be of concern to the UL coaches is that five of their Prince Albert competition finished ahead of them in the A-Final. In their first race they faced the Durham University “B” crew. This could be a tricky match for the selected crew, Durham finished 3rd in College 4’s at Marlow in a significantly quicker time than UL. At the Met Durham finished 2nd in Tier 3 on Saturday and Sunday.

The next selected crew are from the University of Virginia. They raced in the Collegiate 4’s event at the Head of the Charles finishing 9th. The crew includes Connor O’Brien who won gold in the 3rd Varsity at the Dad Vails, Sebastian Simko a gold medallist in the M4X at the ACRA Championships, and Grant Janart, a silver medallist at the ACRA’s. They have an all-USA first round when they face Colgate University from Hamilton New York. The stern pair of the Colgate crew, Peter Rex and Liam Emmart raced the Varsity pair at the Dad Vails finishing 3rd. The bow pair, Tom Parker and Peter Baker raced in the Freshman/Novice 8’s at the Dad Vails finishing 10th.

Newcastle University are the next Selected crew, they last won this event in 2014. This year’s boat is probably the favourite for this half of the draw. They were silver medallists at the BUCS Regatta and finished 2nd to Imperial College in Champ 4’s at Marlow. Looking at the splits between Newcastle and Imperial it looks like IC got the jump off the start covering the 1st 500m 2 seconds quicker than Newcastle in 1:32.6. For the remaining 1500m there was almost nothing to choose between them. If these two crews get to the final it could be a cracking race. For their first race Newcastle face a crew from the Université de Lyon. They were part of the Aviron Club De Lyon M8 that were joint winners of the Rowing Champions League last year (finishing in a dead-heat with Crefelder of Germany in a time of 49.25 seconds).

The final Selected crew in the event are University College Dublin from Ireland. The Dubliners raced at the Metropolitan Regatta on and finished 4th in the Championship 4’s, 12 seconds back from the winners, Imperial College. They face the boys from Deerfield Academy, Massachusetts. The Americans have been in the UK for a couple of weeks and took 2nd in Tier 2 4’s at Marlow and then at Reading Town Regatta they were beaten by 3 lengths in IM1 4’s by Kent School.

 

My picks….this has the makings of a Newcastle v Imperial final, and if so I’m going for an IC win.

Henley Royal Regatta 2017 preview part 4 – The club events

 

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Time now for the one’s everyone’s interested in…the men’s club events.

 

The Thames Cup

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The Thames Challenge Cup

Holders: Molesey Boat Club

 

The Stewards have picked out 8 crews to be Selected, four from the UK two from Germany and one each from Norway and the USA.

In the top half of the draw the first of the selected crews are Thames Rowing Club “B”. It’s a mark of the strength in depth of the Putney club that they have qualified three boats in this event and two of them have been selected. The “B” crew raced on both days of the Metropolitan Regatta finishing 4th in the Tier 2 8’s on the Saturday and following that up with 2nd place in the “C” Final of Challenge 8’s on the Sunday. They also raced at Marlow finishing 3rd in Tier 2 8’s – crucially being the fastest club eight in the race (losing to Oxford Brookes and Imperial College). Looking at the draw they face City of Oxford on Wednesday and the winner of Kingston & Molesey on Thursday. Having beaten both of these crews already this season the Thames boys will be confident of reaching Friday’s quarter finals.

If Thames do reach the quarter-finals they will most likely face the 2nd of the Selected crews in the top half of the draw, Ruder Club Allemania von 1866, Germany.  The German’s have a number of U23 internationals on board including Peruvian Nicolas Pezet at bow. He raced in the U23 BM1X at the 2016 World Championships. At 4 is Gregory Schaltegger who was the spare for the 2014 U23 team. At 7 is Jonas Briese – who made the A-Final in the BLM2- at the 2013 World Championships.

The third Selected crew in this half of the draw are London Rowing Club. Since the war London have won this event 6 times but the last was back in 2006. They’ll be desperate to make it number 7. But, they face a really tough challenge on Wednesday when they face Agecroft. Both of these boats raced in the B-Final of Champ 8’s at Marlow with London emerging victorious by just 0.2 second. It could be too close to call between these two and London could well be the first Selected crew to fall.

The final selected boat in the top half of the draw is Riverside Boat Club from Boston Massachusetts. In the words of one club member this crew is “the fastest eight the club has ever had”. At the Head of the Charles last October this crew finished 5th in the Club 8’s events. Henley has been their main focus for the season and will be disappointed if they don’t make it through a few rounds. They have drawn Tideway Scullers on Wednesday and will be confident of progressing.

In the bottom half of the draw the first of the selected crews are RTC Bayer Leverkusen, Germany. Five of this crew reached the final in 2015 losing to Thames Rowing Club. The returning members are Dominik Drueke, Thorsten Jonischkeit, Dominic Imort, Fabian Weiler and Fabien Wimberg.

The next Selected crew are Leander Club. This is the Pink Palace’s development 8 although sitting in the 6 seat is Paralympic gold medallist James Fox. They raced at the Metropolitan Regatta finishing 7th and then at the Champ 8’s at Marlow Regatta they finished 5th.

The next Selected crew are the Norwegians from NSR Oslo. The Norwegians made the final of the Thames Cup last year and have half of the crew returning – Petter Tufte, Hallvand Bjorkeland, Markus Holmemoe & Enn Sture. At the recent Nordic Championships Tufte and Matti Saborowsky won the M2-.

The final selected crew are Thames Rowing Club “A”. Thames won this event for the first time since the war in 2015 and will be the favourites from the home crews for the title. So far this season they raced at the Metropolitan regatta finishing as the fastest club in 5th. At Marlow they were also the fastest club finishing 4th in the Champ 8’s.

Fastest of the non-Selected crews could well be the New Zealanders from Avon Rowing Club. At the New Zealand Championships in February they won the Club 8’s. Half the crew also won the Club 4+. They face Cantabrigian on Wednesday and then a possible match up against Riverside on Thursday.

As mentioned above, Agecroft could cause the Selected London Rowing Club some difficulties in the first round.

Molesey are the defending champions and this year’s crew raced in Tier 2 at Marlow finishing 2nd in the B-Final.

My picks…I think this could well be an Avon v Thames final with the honours going to Thames.

 

The Wyfold Challenge Cup

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The Wyfold Challenge Cup

Holders: Grasshopper-Club, Zurich, Switzerland

8 crews have been selected for the Wyfold Challenge Cup. In the top half of the draw the first of these is London Rowing Club. They last won this event in 2011. This year’s crew of Matt Cummings, Nick Parnell, Stephen Griffiths & Dom Parnell raced on both days of the Metropolitan Regatta taking 3rd place on both days.  They also raced in the final of Champ 4- at Marlow Regatta finishing 5th.

The 2nd of the Selected crews in the top of the draw is Sydney Rowing Club, Australia. The Sydney-siders are regular visitors to Henley and won this event in 2009. Their crew for 2017 is Max Brenner, Clinton Boltman, Jack Quinn and Nick Clifton. They raced the U23 BM4- at the Holland Beker last weekend finishing 3rd of the 3 crews. Back in Australia they four of them were members of the Sydney M8 that won silver in the Men’s Club 8’s at the Sydney International Rowing Regatta. They also picked up a silver medal in the club 4’s event.

The third of the Selected crews in the top half are The Tideway Scullers School. All highly experienced Henley competitors with Nathan O’Reilly, Lloyd Seaman, Will Fields and Murray Wikojc. They finished in 5th place in Champ 4-‘s on the Sunday of the Metropolitan Regatta and then 4th at Marlow half a second behind Sport Imperial and only half a second ahead of London.

The final Selected crew in the top half are the Dutch from K.A.R.Z De Hoop. This crew have been targeting this event all season and have put together a strong-looking bid. At bow is Frank Verschoor who raced in the Temple Challenge Cup for Nereus, losing the final in both 2010 and 2011. At 2 is Dom Meyrick-Cole – he raced as part of the Nereus “Oude-Vier” in 2015, but illness kept him out of the boat for Henley. At 3 is Marlou Kamphuis from Groningen, a winner of the Head of the Amstel. Stroking the boat is Mathew Kleine Punte, another Nereus alumni who rowed in the Temple finals in 2010 and 2011. As a four this season they have a 2nd place at the ZRB Regatta and won the Thetis sprint, defeating the Dutch U23 crew in the process.

In the lower half of the draw the first of the selected crews are Mercantile from Australia. The crew includes Andrew Burke and Angus Maloney who were part of the M8 that won the U23’s at the Australian Championships. Joining them in the crew are Tom Hunt and Callum Nott.

The next selected crew are Sport Imperial – possibly the leading home crew in the event. The crew of Sam Butler, Matt Pointing, Josh Butler and Matt Whaley raced to a 4th place at the Metropolitan Regatta and 3rd at Marlow – in both cases they were the leading Wyfold eligible crew. The margins between them and the likes of Tideway Scullers and London may be small, but those wins will give them the edge in a match race.

The 3rd Selected crew in the lower half of the draw are the Irish from Commercial Rowing Club – Colm Dowling, Michael Corcoran, Fionnan Groome & Shane MacEoin. Corcoran raced for Trinity College, Dublin in the Prince Albert last year losing in the heats.  Dowling, Groome & MacEoin have all represented Ireland at the Home International Regatta and last season Dowling and Groome were in the Commercial crew that won Senior 8’s at the Irish Championships – setting a new record in the process.

The final Selected crew in the event are Thames Rowing Club.  Another crew of seasoned Henley campaigners with James Palmer, Will Downey, Luke Wertheim and Harry Dorrance-King. They raced at Marlow Regatta finishing 6th in the Champ 4- A-Final. If the Selections pan out as intended by the Stewards they should meet the Irish on Friday.

Outside of the Selected crews the ones to watch include the Norwegians from Christiana Roklub, 8th in Ghent and including Nikolai Jorgensen who rowed for London RC in the Britannia Challenge Cup in 2013, and Kristoffer Lorentzen who raced for Norway at the 2013 Universidad.

Another crew to watch are City of Bristol. The West Country club are developing into a force to be reckoned with in that part of the world and have successfully qualified 2 boats for the Wyfold. The boys from Bristol docks in the “A” crew are having an excellent season finishing 3rd in the B-final of Champ 4’s at Marlow and 2nd in Tier 2 at the Metropolitan. As a Bristolian myself I’ll be cheering them on in their tough 1st round race against Maidstone Invicta who themselves were winners of Tier 4 4-‘s at the Metropolitan.

Maidenhead are another one to watch, finishing 2nd & 3rd in the Tier 3 events on both days of Metropolitan Regatta. They have drawn Radley Mariners in round one and will be confident of progressing to a likely meeting with Thames on Thursday.

The final crew to mention are Northwich – Joe Anderson, Finn Lawton, Harry Taylor and George Lawton. They won Tier 3 4- at the Metropolitan Regatta and Tier 2 at Marlow. George Lawton raced for GB last year at the Junior World Championships. The draw gives them a potential meeting with London on Thursday, and the Selected Londoners will have a real fight on their hands to progress.

 

My picks….really tricky….I think we will have a K.A.R.Z De Hoop v Sport Imperial final with the Imperial boys just sneaking it.

 

The Britannia Challenge Cup

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The Britannia Challenge Cup

16 crews in this event of which half are deemed worthy of “Selection”. In the top half it’s Thames Rowing Club that are the first Selected crew. They probably earned the Selection nod from the Stewards after a strong performances at Marlow Regatta, finishing 5th in the A-Final of Champ 4+. This followed a good regatta at the Metropolitan with a 2nd place in tier 2 on Saturday, losing to National University Ireland, Galway and a win in Tier 2 on Sunday. Thames face Wallingford in round 1, a crew they have beaten a number of times this season so will be confident of progressing.

If successful against Wallingford, Thames will face the winner between Agecroft and the 2nd Selected crew The New York Athletic Club, USA.  The New Yorkers are Bucknall graduates Veton Celaj and Connor Corwen along with Colby College’s Noah Teachey and Dan Curtis. At the Head of The Charles Regatta NYAC finished 4th in the Club 4’s. They face a tricky contest against Agecroft in round 1, they finished 2nd in Tier 4 at the Metropolitan Regatta and will be a good test for the Americans.

The 3rd of the selected boats in this event are Kingston Rowing Club. Kingston have won this event twice, the last time being 1978. This season they raced at Ghent May Regatta finishing 5th and also finished 5th in Tier 2 4+ at the Metropolitan Regatta. They have a tricky first round match-up as well, facing the Norwegians from N.S.R Oslo. This boat includes former Harvard oarsman and Australian U23 international Ed Northorp. He’s joined by Norwegian U23 international and Henley finalist Ole Bang-Andreason. Also in the crew is former Brazilian junior international Francisco Mendes. The Norwegians are probably unlucky not to have been Selected themselves and could well be too quick for the Kingstonians.

The final Selected crew on this side of the draw are the Australians from Sydney Rowing Club. Sydney won this event in 2015 and could go far again this year. The crew includes University of California, Berkeley graduate Michael Bernerius, he raced at U23 level in 2013 finishing 4th in the BM4+. Also in the crew is Henley finalist Charles Patterson, he was in the crew that were beaten in the quarter finals of the Prince of Wales Cup in 2014 and then in the Wyfold crew that lost to Petone of New Zealand in the heats. In the three seat is William O’Connell, he was a member of the Sydney Rowing Club crew that finished 2nd in Club 4-‘s at the Sydney International Regatta. They face Southampton Coalporters in the first round and will be confident of progressing to face either Kingston or Oslo in the 2nd round.

In the bottom half of the draw the first Selected crew are the Bostonians from Riverside Boat Club, USA. At the Head of the Charles this crew finished 6th in the Club Fours, 30 seconds behind NYAC. This crew includes Alex Barat, a graduate of Worcester Polytechnic Institute and now assistant coach at Clark University and James Primes of Boston College. They are drawn to meet qualifiers Stratford-upon-Avon in the first round and then (assuming they are victorious), the winner of St. Andrew Boat Club from Scotland and Club De Nautique, France. St. Andrews are the selected crew and have raced a number of times in England, at the Metropolitan Regatta they picked up a 2nd place in Champ 4’s on the Saturday and 5th in Tier 1 on the Sunday. At Marlow Regatta they finished 1st in the B Final of Champ 4’s. This crew includes U23 international Graham Ord who was 9th in the BM2- at last year’s World Championships.

The next Selected crew are the 2nd Australian crew in the event, U.T.S Haberfield. This crew were winners of the Open Club 4+ at the Australian Championships and last weekend raced at the Holland Beker finishing in 3rd behind the NYAC Visitors 4.

The final selected crew are Molesey, who last won this event in 2008. This year’s crew raced in Tier 1 at the Metropolitan Regatta finishing 4th, but were the first of the Britannia Cup eligible crews. It was a similar story at Marlow Regatta where they finished 4th in the Champ 4+ event but were the highest placed Brit crew. They face a tricky first round tie against the Germans from R.T.C  Bayer Leverkusen.

My picks…it’s a very open field, the top half of the draw is especially stacked with Thames, Sydney, NYAC and Oslo. I’ve a feeling we may see a Molesey/Thames final and I’m going for Molesey for the win.

 

Henley Royal Regatta 2017 preview part 3 – The Intermediate events

 

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Time for part three of my Henley Preview…the men’s Intermediate events….

 

The Ladies Plate

This has the makings of one of the most exciting (and intriguing) events at the regatta,

Newell Training Centre USA and Mosman Roiwng Club Australia

Despite the name this is basically Harvard University. It’s a combination of their 2nd and 3rd Varsity 8’s. From the 2nd Varsity crew that finished 5th at the IRA Championships is Chase Bucholz, Jack Kelley & Henry Kennelly. From the 3rd Varisty 8 which won a silver medal in their division at the IRA’s is Max Ferguson, Australians David Fleming and Dom Glover, and Estonian Juri-Mikk Udam. The final member of the crew is Philip Bates who stroked the Varsity IV to a 7th place at the IRA’s.

 

RTHC Bayer Leverkusen, Germany

This boat has three senior internationals on board, Peter Kluge won a bronze medal in the M2+ at the 2014 World Championships and along with Clemens Ernsting raced the M2- at the 2016 European Championships. Clemens won a silver medal in the M2+ at the 2015 World Championships. Stroke man Bjoern Birkner raced in the M4- at the 2014 World Championships finishing 8th. Also in the crew are U23 internationals Max Niemand and World U23 silver medallist Felix Niemand.

German crews in the Ladies Plate are always strong and this boat looks like it could do very well.

 

Army Rowing Club

A strong army contingent, but they may find the competition a bit too hot. The crew includes Ollie Pemberton, a member of the Coldstream Guards and coach of the J15’s at Abingdon School. Former Henley winner and Wingfield Sculls competitor Capt. Laurence Wells, and former Newcastle University rower Richard Francis.

 

Brown University, USA

From Providence, Rhode Island, this crew is unchanged from the line-up that raced at the IRA’s finishing 6th in the Grand Final. The crew includes Rufus Biggs from Great Britain in the 2 seat and Kiwi Russell Dodd at bow. Coached by Brown alumni Paul Cooke the crew also finished 6th at the Eastern Sprints.

 

Dartmouth College, USA

The 2nd Ivy League Varsity in the event, Dartmouth College from Hanover, New Hampshire. Dartmouth finished 3rd in the Petite Finals at the IRA’s. At the Eastern Sprints they had a much better regatta finishing 5th, 2 seconds ahead of Brown. When they faced Brown in their Dual Meet the “Big Green” took the win by just under 1 second. If the gods of the Henley draw are kind we could see round 4 between these closely matched crews. Coached by Olympic champion Wyatt Allen, Dartmouth have only one overseas athlete in their boat, Albert Mitchell from Great Britain.

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Dartmouth College – The “Big Green”. Photo: Dartmouth College

Elizabethan Boat Club

Nominally the old boys club for Westminster School, this crew is made up entirely of students who are studying at either Harvard or Princeton (with the exception of new Cambridge President Hugo Ramambason in the coxes seat). From the Princeton heavyweights are George Bradbury, Fred Vystavel, Franco D’Agostino and Oswald Stocker. From the Princeton lightweights are Cam Kerr, and Oskar Arzt-Jones. From Harvard are heavyweight Nick Plaut and his lightweight brother James.

This boat (with one change) raced at Marlow Regatta finishing 7th in the final of Open M8.

 

Molesey Boat Club and Leander Club

This is the Great Britain U23 crew for the World Championships in July. A couple of things of note with this crew, the first is that the British Rowing press release names Rufus Biggs in the 4 seat….given Mr Biggs is rowing at 2 in the Brown Varsity boat that could prove problematic! No word yet about who is replacing Biggs in this crew. The other interesting point to note is that the same said press release lists the clubs to which the athletes belong…..except they don’t, five of the crew (including Biggs) are current students at university in the US, but the rules for British Rowing (not Henley) state that to be selected to represent your country you have to be a member of a mainland UK club…cue a few “flag of convenience” clubs on the entry forms!

Anyway….in the crew are Oxford Blue Wll Geffen (racing in London RC colours), U23 bronze medallist Alistair Douglass (Molesey), George Stewart (Molesey), A.N.Other replacing Biggs, David Bewicke-Copley – an U23 silver medallist and member of the Princeton Varsity 8 that finished 4th at the IRA’s (racing as Sport Imperial), Jack Gosden-Kaye from the University of California, Berkeley (racing as Leander), David Ambler and Arthur Doyle from Harvard (racing in Tideway Scullers and ULBC colours respectively). Coxed by Ian Middleton of Cambridge.

 

Oxford Brookes University and Taurus Boat Club

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Oxford Brookes & Taurus BC, winners of the Grand Challenge Cup at Marlow Regatta.

The fastest crew in Britain….and that’s not just an opinion…it’s a fact. At Marlow Regatta Brookes won the Champ M8 in a time of 5:30. Not only was this a course record at Dorney Lake for a non-International crew, it is also the fastest 2K ever by a British club crew. Oxford Brookes have dominated the men’s 8 category all season and have won pretty much everything all season. Coach Henry Bailhache-Webb has put together an outstanding unit with 8 of the 9 crew members having GB U23 representative honours. At bow is Robbie Massey, 13th in the BM4X in 2014. At 2 is Oxford Blue Josh Bugajski (an U23 international from 2012), at 3 is Rory Gibbs, 4 is Matt Aldridge and 5 is Michael Glover – all three of these guys were in the 2016 U23 BM4+ that finished 5th last year. In the 6 seat is Morgan Bolding from the 2015 U23 BM8 and at 7 is a crewmate from that U23 crew, Henry Swarbrick. Stroke is James Stanhope who is, currently, the only member of the crew without a GB vest. In the coxswains seat is Harry Brightmore who steered the U23 BM4+ last year. A number of this crew won an epic Temple Challenge Cup last year against Nereus and 5 of this crew are still eligible for the U23’s. The draw has a potential final between Brookes and the nominated GB U23 8…now that (if it happens) will be worth watching!

Team Keane Sculling School

Team Keane are a fairly new club based in Chiswick who described themselves as “West London’s Top Rowing Club”. This year’s crew had originally wanted to enter the Thames Cup but fell afoul of the eligibility criteria and found themselves bumped up to the Ladies Plate.  The crew are all members of various Oxford University colleges and are stroked by 2016 Blue George McKirdy. Also in the crew is Canadian Jacob Cushnie, a Columbia graduate who raced at the World University Games. Behind Cushnie in the 5 seat is Benedict Aldous from this year’s Isis crew. They raced in the Tier 2 M8 at Marlow Regatta finishing in 7th.

My picks….this looks to be one of the most outstanding events in the regatta. The draw is likely to pit Brookes against either Dartmouth of or Bayer Leverkusen in the semi-finals with the GB U23’s likely to face Brown in the other. I’m really excited to see just what Brookes can do when really pushed. A showdown in the final between Brookes and the GB U23 crew could have chief coach Pete Shepherd sweating a little! Brookes are such a tight cohesive unit I think it’ll take something special to beat them.

 

The Visitors Challenge Cup

The Stewards have “Selected” 7 of the 17 crews.

In the top half of the draw the first of the selected crews are Edinburgh University. In the stern pair are Calum Irvine and Rufus Scholefield. Irvine won a silver medal in the U23 BM8 last year and Scholefield finished 5th in the same event the year before.  This duo were also in the coxed 4 that won at BUCS Regatta. In the bow pair are Oliver Wilkes and Matt Christie. This crew won the open 4- at the Scottish championships earlier this month.

The next Selected crew in the top half of the draw are the New York Athletic Club, USA. This crew is another example of a US Ivy League School racing under different club colours. In this instance the guys are all from Northeastern University. The bow pair of Phoenix Susak and Australian Texas Lawton raced in the 2V at the IRA’s finishing 11th. The stern pairing of Aaron Goodman and Trevor Appier raced in the 1st Varsity at IRA’s that finished 1st in the Petite Final (7th overall)

The third of the Selected crews in the top half are Cambridge University. This is half of the Cambridge Blue Boat crew from this year, 3 of whom are graduates from US Ivy League Universities. At bow is Canadian Aleksander Malowany, a graduate of the University Of Washington with three IRA titles to his credit. At 2 is American Pat Eble, a Princeton graduate. In the three seat is triple Blue, American Ben Ruble a graduate of Wisconsin. At stroke is the only non-North American in the crew, Freddie Davidson.

The final Selected crew in the top half of the draw are the French from Aviron Grenobles.

4th at the recent French Championships, this crew has senior lightweight international Francois Marty at stroke. Behind him in the 3 seat is three-time U23 international Hugo Laborde.  In the 2 seat is a double U23 international, Jean Noury and in the bow seat is Loic Lezarme.

In the bottom half of the draw the first of the Selected boat is Boston University. A truly cosmopolitan line-up (as are most US Collegiate crews these days) this boat has an Englishman, and Irishman a German and a Canadian – sounds like the beginnings of a very bad joke! The Englishman is Luke Towers, a junior World silver medallist from 2015 and member of the 1st Varsity crew that finished 10th at the IRA’s. In the 2 seat is Jacob Barker from Victoria Canada, he’s another member of the 1st Varsity boat and raced in the U23 BM4+ at the 2016 World Championships. In 3 is Fionnan McQuillan-Tolan from Galway in Ireland, the third of the 1st Varsity rowers in the boat. In the stroke seat is Germanys Nils Kocher, he raced in the 2nd Varisty 8 that finished 6th at the IRA’s and is a junior world champion from 2016.

The next selected crew is Leander Club, This has been one of the outstanding M4- on the domestic scene. They produced an excellent performance at Marlow winning the Champ 4- in a very impressive 5:55. At bow is GB Start graduate, Barney Stentiford an U23 international from 2013. In 2 is Finn Stevenson, a winner in the Prince of Wales Challenge Cup last year, he’s made fast progress in the sport having only started in 2014. In 3 is Sam Twine, a graduate of Reading University (where he still coaches) a winner of the Champ 1X at the BUCS regatta and also competed at the European Universities Championships. At stroke is George Rossiter (brother of Matt who is in the top GB M4-) A graduate of Newcastle University he’s represented GB four times at U23 level winning medals in 2011 and 2012. He was a member of the Leander Ladies Plate crew that won at last year’s regatta

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The Leander Club Visitors 4 with coach Matt Beechey. Photo: Leander Club

The final Selected crew are California Rowing Club, USA

Sitting in the stroke seat of this crew is Scotland’s Andrew Holmes.  As a Senior at Harvard in 2014 he stroked the Varsity 8 winning the Eastern Sprints and winning the annual Harvard v Yale race.

In the three seat is Channing Walker from the University of California, Berkeley who raced in the Cal 3rd Varsity 8 at the IRA’s in 2016.

At 2 is John Madura a graduate from Worcester Polytechnic Institute. He raced for the USA at the 2015 World Championships finishing 12th in the M4X.

At bow is Conor Harrity, a member of Harvard’s 1st Varsity crew that won bronze at the IRA’s this year.

Among the non-Selected crews the ones to watch are the Germans from R.C Allemannia von 1886. This crew includes Rio Olympian Tobias Franzmann who finished 9th in the LM4- and two-time lightweight World Champion Can Temel. Sitting in the stroke seat is U23 lightweight silver medallist Sven Ditzel.

Also watch for the crew from Taurus Boat Club. Joseph Mallen, Arthur Arnould, Ed Grisedale and Richard Hawkins. This crew was originally entered in the Britannia Challenge Cup, but the Stewards ruled that they were ineligible and were bumped up to the Visitors (losing their cox en-route). At Marlow Regatta they finished 3rd in the Champ 4+

Cornell University have brought a crew containing two of their 1st and 2 of their 2nd Varisty rowers. Canadian Alexander Bebb and New Zealander James Aimer were in the 1st Varsity 8 that finished 12th at the IRA’s and Americans Mac Manion and Chris Wilkins came from the 2nd Varsity that finished 10th.

My picks…I’m going to plump for a home win from Leander.

 

The Prince of Wales Challenge Cup

Just 4 crews have received the preferential nod from the Stewards and been selected.

The first selected crew in the top half of the draw are Molesey Boat Club. With club stalwart and multiple Henley Winner Dave Bell in the two seat. He leads a young talented quad with 18 year old Rory Harris at bow, a member of the GB junior team last year. At three is another junior GB trialist, Cormac Molloy from Tiffin School and in stroke is 19 year old former Hampton pupil Dom Jackson. Jackson rowed in the GB JM8 at the 2016 Junior World Championships that won the bronze medal. He’s also the current junior lightweight 5K ergo world record holder.

This crew won the Champ 4X event at Marlow by nearly 4 seconds ahead of Leander.

 

The 2nd Selected crew in the top half of the draw are Leander “A”. A Leander crew has been in the final of this event for the last 11 years, winning 8 of them (including 6 in a row between 2010-2015). After last year’s defeat to a crew from Schuylkill Navy Leander are anxious to get back to winning ways. This year’s no.1 boat will start as favourites. The crew of Harry Leask, Rowan Law, Harry Glenister & Andy Joel won the Queen Mother Challenge Cup last year so it’s quite unusual for the same crew to step down a level at Henley. One wonders if there was some debate between the Stewards and Leander coaches about perhaps the defending champions competing in the Open event again this year?

They are an outstanding unit, 5th at the U23 World Championships last year, the GB team decided to give them a taste of senior competition at the 1st World Cup in Belgrade this year. Racing as GBR2 they finished in 4th place beating the Netherlands and Estonia. They warmed up for Henley with a good win at the Holland Beker defeating the US senior men’s quad from the Schuylkill Navy

 

In the bottom half of the draw the first Selected crew are Edinburgh University. This is another outstanding young crew, winners of the Champ 4X at the Metropolitan Regatta. At bow is James Temple, he raced the LM1X at the European University Championships last year. At two is Josh Armstrong, the 19 year old is one of the most exciting talents in British rowing. He raced at his first senior international competition at the 2nd World Cup in Poznan posting an excellent 11th place finish. At three is Matt Curtis, an U23 world champion in the BLM4X in 2016.  Stroking the boat is another highly talented sculler, Gavin Horsburgh. He was another member of the gold medal U23 BLM4X crew from last year and was a last minute replacement for the 2nd GBR Quad that raced at the Poznan World Cup, finishing just behind the heavyweight New Zealand quad in 8th place. If the draw plays out the way the Stewards have planned we should see a Leander v Edinburgh final which should be an epic battle.

The last of the Selected crews are the Leander “B” quad.

This crew has a Kiwi stern pair with Braeden Camp at 3 and Oliver Stephens at stroke. Camp was a member of the Kiwi junior team last year that finished 4th in the JM8. Stephens raced in the U23 BM4X at the 2016 World Championships winning a silver medal. In the bow pair are two experienced GB lightweights. In the bow seat is Jon Jackson, a two-time bronze medallist in the U23 BLM4- and in front of him at 2 is Charlie Waite-Roberts, an U23 silver medallist from 2014 and who raced in the senior LM4X at last year’s World Championships. This crew raced at Marlow finishing 2nd to Molesey.

Of the non-Selected crews, the ones to watch include Nottingham & Agecroft. This crew were third at Marlow Regatta and also picked up 3rd place at the Holland Beker this weekend.

Christiana Roklub, Norway will be another crew to watch, they include former junior international Johannes Groseth at bow and U23 international Halvor West at 2.

Reading University have two crews in the event, the “A” crew were winners of thee Tier 2 quads at Marlow and two for the crew (Simon Williamson and Franklin Hamilton were in the quad that finished 5th at the BUCS regatta). The Reading “B” crew also raced in tier 2 quads at Marlow finishing 5th.

The Bath University & Bath Minerva composite raced in the Champ 4X event at Marlow finishing 2nd in the B-final. One place ahead of Bath was the Eton College & Burway Rowing Club composite.

 

My picks…this should develop into a Leander v Edinburgh University final. If it does this should be one of the highlights of Sunday’s racing, I think Leander will take their 7th win in 8 years.

Henley Royal Regatta preview part 2 – The Open Women’s events

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This year sees three new Open women’s events added to the regatta programme – the W2-, W2x and W4X. So far they have no trophy names but I’m sure that will change in the next couple of years.

 

The Princess Royal Challenge Cup

Holder: Lisa Scheenaard, Hollandia Roeiclub,

 

Judith Anlauf – Ruder-Club Süderelbe v.1892 e.V., Germany

Silver medallist in the LW4X at the 2016 World Championships. Anlauf was Germany’s representative in the LW1X at the 2015 World Championships where she finished 6th and won bronze at the European’s earlier that year.

 

Jennifer Cleary – Mercantile Rowing Club, Australia

A member of the Australian W4X during the Rio Olympiad that finished 4th in 2014 and 5th in 2015. At the Rio Games they had a slightly disappointing regatta being the one crew in a 7 boat event that failed to make the A-Final.

 

Inge Janssen – Hollania Roeiclub, Holland

A two-time Olympian, Janssen raced in the W2X at the London Olympics finishing 8th. 4 years later in Rio she was a member of the W4X that won a silver medal. She has won championship medals in the W1X with a bronze at the 2013 European Championships. So far this season she has a gold and silver medal from the 1st World Cup in the W2X and W4X. At the European Championships she was a member of the gold medal winning W4X. She will be one of the favourites for the title.

 

Kirsten McCann – University of Pretoria, South Africa

Another two-time Olympian, McCann raced in the LW2x at the Beijing Games finishing 14th. She took a break from international competition after Beijing to focus on her studies, but returned for the Rio Olympiad forming an effective partnership with Ursula Grobler. They won bronze in 2015 and then just missed the medals in Rio finishing 5th in the Final.

 

Hannah Osborne – Waiariki Rowing club, New Zealand

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From Te Kuiti in New Zealand’s North Island, Osborne made her senior international debut at the Poznan World Cup this year. She raced in the W1X and finished a strong 5th.

 

Annekatrin Thiele – Sport-Club Deutsche Hochschule für Körperkultur Leipzig, Germany

Yet another two-time Olympian, Thiele won silver in the W4X in London. She remained in the quad for the Rio Olympiad winning gold at all three World Championships and then culminating in gold in Rio.

For 2017 she’s moved into the single and took silver behind GB’s Vicky Thornley at the European Championships and 4th at the Poznan world Cup.

 

Vicky Thornley – Leander Club

The 5th Olympian in the event (and the 4th Two-time Olympian) Thornley will start as favourite for the title. She’s had an outstanding season so far in 2017 with silver at both the 1st and 2nd World Cups and gold at the European Championships. That gold medal made her the first British woman to win a senior open-weight single scull championship. After the difficulties of 2016 that so nearly had a fairy-tale ending she looks to be relishing the freedom of racing the single scull. The Princess Royal Title would be a fitting reward and set her up brilliantly for the rest of the season.

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Three scullers progressed from the Qualifying races on Friday:

Camilla Plumb – Peterborough Rowing Club

A GB trialist and runner-up in the Senior LW1X at Henley Women’s Regatta and 4th in elite LW1X at Notts City. She’s currently on a sports scholarship at Leicester University reading Law.

 

Pippa Whittaker – Imperial College

A former member of Leander Club, Whittaker won the W1X at the Home International Regatta in 2013 and went on to race in the W4- at the World University Championships in 2014 winning the gold medal. She also raced at the 2014 Commonwealth Regatta winning both the W1X and the W2X. 2017 will be her third time of racing in this event, in 2013 she lost to Mirka Knapkova and the year before to Sanita Puspure of Ireland.

Sophie Connolly – Leicester Rowing Club.

3rd in the elite W1X at Notts City regatta and she reached the quarter finals of Senior 1X at Henley Women’s Regatta.

 

My picks – I’m going for a home win for Vicky Thornley

 

W2-

8 crews

The Stewards have attracted a world class field to inaugurate this event.

Sam Courty & Carragh McMurtry – Bath University and Southampton Coalporters Amateur Rowing Club

Sam Courty was a member of the GB U23 squad in 2014 and 2015 having only taken up the sport 2 years earlier as part of the GB start talent identification scheme. During her two years in the U23’s she won silver in the BW8 and followed that with a bronze in 2015 in the BW4-. In 2016 she raced at the World University Championships winning a bronze in the W2- with Anastasia Chitty. This season she steps up to the senior squad and is the spare for the W8.

Another product of one of GB’s talent Identification schemes – Project Oarsome. Caragh McMurtry won bronze in the senior W8 at the European championships and followed that with silver in the U23 BW2-. In 2014 she won another senior medal taking silver in the W8 at the Europeans and finishing 6th at the world Championships. In 2017 she returns to the W8 and finished 4th at the Europeans before taking a superb silver medal at the 2nd World Cup in Poznan.

 

Kirstyn Goodger and Jackie Gowler – Waiariki Rowing Club, New Zealand

The spares for the New Zealand women’s squad, Goodger and Gowler raced as the 2nd New Zealand W2- at the 2nd World Cup in Poznan finishing 5th. Goodger is a graduate of the University of Washington with whom she won a silver medal in the 1V at the PAC-12 Championships and also competed in the Windermere Cup in 2014 for UW beating the GB W8. Back in New Zealand she rowed in the women’s Premier Eight event at the National Championships taking the gold medal.` Her partner, Jackie Gowler made her senior debut at the Poznan World Cup after two years on the U23 team which saw her finish 5th in the BW8 in 2016.

 

Alexandra Hagan & Rosemary Popa – Banks Rowing Club, Australia

Hagan raced in the W8 at the London Olympics finishing 6th. In 2013 she won gold in the U23 BW4-. She raced in the w8 throughout 2014 and 2015 and was part of the crew that had a late call up to the Rio Olympics following the exclusion of the Russian team.

Popa has dual US/Australian citizenship and during her time at the University of California, Berkeley she represented the USA at the U23 World Championships and also for the senior US team at the Sydney World Cup in 2014. She also won gold in the Varsity 8 at the PAC-10 championships in 2011. Racing for Australia, she finished 8th in the W8 at the 2015 World Championships. Both her parents are Olympic medallists from the 1984 Olympics, her mother in the W4+ and her father in the M8.

 

Natalie Hardy & Lowenna Coad – Thames Rowing Club

One of the strongest lightweight club pairs in the country, Hardy and Coad won Tier 2 w2- at the Metropolitan Regatta and went on to claim the Elite LW2- title at Henley Women’s Regatta.

 

Megan Kalmoe & Tracy Eisser – New York Athletic Club, USA

Kalmoe is a three-time Olympian with a 5th place in the W2X in Beijing, a bronze in the W4X in London and 5th in the same boat class in Rio. In 2014 she raced in the W2- with Kerry Simmonds and won a silver medal. A graduate of the University of Washington she was recently inducted into the NYAC “Hall of Fame”. In 2017 she’s racing a pair again, this time with Tracy Eisser. In their first international outing they took a silver medal at the Poznan World Cup.

Eisser, a graduate of Cornell, began rowing in 2008 after a successful career as a junior track and field athlete, winning the High Jump at the New Jersey state Campionships. She made her international rowing debut in 2014 winning silver in the W4X at the Aiguebelette World Cup and followed that with a bronze medal at the World Championships. In 2015 she was a member of the W4X that won the World Championships, and was a crewmate of Kalmoe’s in the Olympic quad in Rio.

 

Monica Lanz & Lies Rustenburg – Hollandia Roeiclub, Holland

Both Lanz and Rustenburg are members of the Dutch W8 that finished 6th at the Rio Olympic Games. Lanz started rowing at the age of 12 and is a member of the USR Triton Club. She was a member of the W8 that won silver at the 2015 and 2016 European Championships. So far this season she has a gold medal from the W4- at the 1St World Cup and a silver medal from the W8 at the European Championships. Her partner, Lies Rustenburg from the AASR Skoll club was also in the silver medal winning W8 in 2015 and 2016. She raced in the W2- with Jose Van Veen at the 1st World Cup taking a silver medal and was in the W8 that took silver at the Europeans.

 

Grace Prendergast & Kerri Gowler – Waiariki Rowing Club, New Zealand

Grace Prendergast of the Avon Club in Christchurch, and Kerri Gowler of the Aramoho Whanganui Rowing Club won their first senior World title in 2014 winning the W4-. In 2015 they doubled up in the W2- and W8 winning silver in both events. At the Rio Olympics they were both part of the W8 that just missed out on the medals.

For 2017 they have moved back into the W2- and stunned the rowing world by smashing the World Best Time whilst winning the Poznan World Cup. They have always been an outstanding pairing but often had to play 2nd fiddle to the dominant British pair. With the British Olympic champions now disbanded the Kiwis look set to become the dominant force in this boat class.

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Grace Prendergast and Kerri Gowler of New Zealand – the worlds fastest W2-

Alice White & Myriam Goudet – Cambridge University Women’s Boat Club

Alice White and Myriam Goudet were both members of the Cambridge Blue Boat this year, White sitting in the 6 seat and Goudet at 7. White raced for New Zealand at the 2011 Junior world Championships winning a bronze medal in the JW4-. In 2015 she represented GB in the U23 team winning a bronze medal in the BW8. A graduate of UCLA where she rowed in the Varsity 8 at the PAC-12 Championships.

Frenchwoman Myriam Goudet is a graduate of Imperial College and won her first Blue in 2016. She represented France in the W8 at the 2009 and 2010 European Championships, winning a silver medal in 2010. She was a member of the w4X that missed out on qualifying for the London Olympics when finishing 3rd at the Final Olympic Qualifying Regatta.

 

My picks….no-one will get close to the Kiwis.

 

W2X

Claire Bove & Laura Tarantola  – Club France

A new, talented young crew, Claire Bove and Laura Tarantola raced for France at the European Championships in Racice finishing 5th in the LW2X. At just 19 years old Bove went straight from the Junior team in 2016 to the seniors this year. Tarantola, from Grenoble, made her senior international debut in 2015 racing in the LW2X at the European championships. Later that year she raced in the U23 BLW4X that won silver and then raced the LW2X with Camille Leclerc at the World Championships finishing 19th.  She missed out on qualifying the W4X for the Olympics but finished the year with a bronze medal at the U23 World Championships.

 

Roos De Jong & Marloes Oldenburg –  Hollandia Roeiclub

De Jong raced at the European Championships in the W1X winning the B-Final to claim 7th place overall. 2017 is her first year in the senior team following a bronze medal at the 2015 U23 World Championships. She made her debut at the 1st World Cup in the W2X with Kirsten Wielaard finishing 6th of a field of 6 (including 3 Dutch boats).

Oldenburg, from the A.G.S.R Gyas club made her international debut last year at the 1st World Cup in Varese winning a silver medal in the W2X with Lisa Scheenaard. This duo just missed qualification for Rio. So far this season she and Scheenaard picked up a silver medal behind their team mates at the 1St World Cup and then another silver behind the Poles at the European Championships.

 

Brooke Donoghue & Olivia Loe – Wairariki Rowing Club, New Zealand

Donoghue started rowing in 2010 at Te Kauwhata College and within 2 years was National Champion in the U18 W1X. She raced in the Junior team in 2013 making the A-Final in the JW4X. In 2014 she progressed to the U23 team winning a bronze in the BW4X and followed that up in 2015 with a silver medal in the BW2X. She made her senior debut in 2016 in the W4X that missed qualifying for Rio finishing 3rd at the Final Olympic Qualifying Regatta.

Olivia Loe, from the Avon Rowing Club in Christchurch, on silver in the U23 BW4- in 2014. In 2015 she was named as the spare for the senior sculling squad and went on to be the spare for the W4X as they tried to qualify for Rio.

This duo formed a new double for 2017 and made an outstanding start to their season winning gold at the Poznan World Cup in a time of 6:39.13 – just 1.8 seconds outside the World Best Time.

 

Georgia Francis & Alice Baatz – Imperial College and Agecroft Rowing Club

Both Georgia Francis and Alice Baatz made their senior international debuts this season. 22 year old Francis spent three years as part of the British U23 squad, winning a silver medal in her first appearance in the BW8 in 2014. In 2015 she raced the U23 BW2X with Mathilda Hodgkins Byrne finishing 4th and then in 2016 she was in the U23 BW4X that finished 8th. This season she has stepped up to the senior team and raced the W2X at the European Championships with Emily Carmichael winning the B-Final to claim 7th overall. At the 2nd World Cup in Poznan they slipped back to 8th out of a field of 8.

Baatz started rowing at Bangor University and moved to Manchester University to combine her studies with training at Agecroft Rowing Club with the GB World Class Start programme under the guidance of coach Hamish Burrell. 9 months after graduating from Manchester University she made her senior international debut racing in the W1X at the Poznan World Cup. For Henley she swaps seats with Emily Carmichael to race the W2X in what looks to be a very exciting combination.

 

Jordan Cole-Hossain & Suzi Perry – Thames Rowing Club

1st and 2nd in the Tier 2 W1X at the Metropolitan Regatta, with Perry also finishing 3rd in the Elite LW1X. As a double they raced at the Ghent Spring Regatta picking up a silver medal in the W2X behind Molesey.

 

 

Katinka Ernst & Giedre Rakauskaite – Worcester Rowing Club

This pair finished 1st in the D-final of the W2X at the British Championships last year securing them the Club Shield. Ernst is a student at the University of Worcester and coach for Disability Sport Worcester. Lithuanian-born Rakauskaite is head coach at Hereford Cathedral School and in 2016 won W4X at the Lithuanian National Championships. She’s currently part of the GB Para-Rowing development squad for the Legs, Trunks and Arms squad.

 

Isabel Lingard & Oluwaseun Olusanya – University of Exeter

Lingard represented Exeter University at the BUCS Regatta in 2016 and 2017. In 2016 she reached the final of the Championship Lightweight 1X and this year won gold in the Championship Lightweight 4X. In 2016 she finished 1st in the B-Final of W2X at the British Championships.

Olusanya stroked the Exeter W8 at the British Championships winning the University shield.

 

Laura Macro & Steph Clutterbuck – University of Bath

Winners of the senior W2X at Henley Women’s Regatta. Laura Macro won gold in the Lightweight Intermediate 1X at the 2016 BUCS regatta and is a member of the GB development squad.

Steph Clutterbuck raced in the W1X at Notts City regatta picking up a silver medal.

 

My picks…It should be a great battle between the Dutch and New Zealanders, assuming they are on opposite sides of the draw. I’m going for a Waiariki win.

 

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Women’s Fours

 

Buckingham Rowing Club & Mercantile Rowing Club, Australia

This crew contains one senior Australian international, Meaghan Volker, who raced in the W8 at the Rio Olympics. She’s joined by two former U23 internationals, Kate Michelmore and Addy Dunkley-Smith. Michelmore raced in the U23 BW8 that finished 5th last year and Dunkley-Smith won bronze in the BW2- in 2015. The fourth member of the crew is Kate Rowan, who represented Australia in the W2- at the World University Rowing Championships last season.

 

Club France – France

At bow in this crew is Flavie Bahaud from Lyon, she made her senior debut this season racing in the W2X at the European Championships finishing 9th. At 2 is Adele Brosse 5th who will celebrate her 19th birthday during the regatta, she raced in the JW2- last season finishing 5th. In the stern pair are Pauline Bugnard and Alice Maine. They raced in the senior W4x at the 2015 world Championships finishing 10th.

 

Hollandia Roeiclub, Holland

This has the looks of the potential Dutch U23 BW4- for the world Championships in July. Three of the crew (Karolien Florijn, Ymke Clevering & Veronique Meester) raced in the Dutch W8 that won silver at the European Championships. The fourth member of the crew sitting at bow is Elsbeth Beeres who raced for the Netherlands in the W4- at the World University Championships.

 

New York Athletic Club – USA

A bit of a USA “All-Stars” boat led at bow by double Olympic Champion Susan Francia. In front of her at 2 is Rio Olympic gold medallist Kerry Simmonds and at stroke is Olympian Felice Mueller. Sitting at three is 2015 world Champion Olivia Coffey. So just the 3 Olympic golds and 10 World titles in this crew!

 

Oxford Brookes & Melbourne University, Australia

Another “All-Stars” crew, all of whom raced at the Rio Olympics and all four were part of the inaugural EY Women Athletes Business Network Intern Program.

At bow is Wianka van Dorp of the Netherlands who raced in the Dutch W8 that finished 6th at the Rio Olympics. At two is Great Britain’s Olivia Carnegie-Brown from the silver medal Olympic W8. Sitting at three is Australia’s w1X Olympic champion Kim Brennan and steering the boat in the stroke-seat is Grace Luczak who finished 4th in the W2- at Rio. Hopefully the two “All-satrs” crews will be on the opposite sides of the draw as a potential final between these two boats should be great to watch.

 

Vesper Boat Club & Princeton National Rowing Association, USA

Another US boat packed with 1 Olympic gold and 7 World Championship golds between them.. At bow is Grace Latz, from Jackson, Michigan was a member of the W4X that finished 5th in Rio and a world Champion in this boat class from 2015. At 2 is Molly Bruggeman, a silver medallist in the W4- in 2015. At 3 is University of Wisconsin graduate Victoria Opitz, she is a three-time World Champion in the W8 from 2013-2015. Sitting at stroke is Olympic champion Emily Regan. From Buffalo in New York she has three World titles and one world silver medal to her credit as well. This quartet raced at the 2nd World Cup in Poznan in the W8 and the W4-. In the W8 they suffered a rare defeat finishing 3rd (the first loss for a US W8 since the Sydney World Cup of 2013 and the worst performance at an FISA regatta since 2005). As a W4- they didn’t really fare any better finishing 5th out of 6 crews.

 

Newcastle University

Winners of the Sen 4- at Henley Women’s Regatta. At bow is U23 silver medallist Emily Ford. In front of her at 2 is world Junior silver medallist Lola Anderson. At 3 is Frances Russell who was 4th in the JW4- at last year’s Junior worlds and in the stroke seat is Nicole Lamb a double U23 medallist with silver in the BW8 in 2014 and bronze in 2015. They were winners of the Tier 2 4- at the Metropolitan Regatta.

 

Ohio State University, USA

The Ohio State Buckeyes. This crew reached the semi-finals of elite 4-‘s at Henley Women’s regatta, losing to Durham University .The crew of Allyson Baker, Sarah Peffley , Annie Jachtuber and Maddie raced in the 2nd Varsity crew that won silver at the NCAA Championships last year and finished 4th in 2017.

 

My picks…the draw should lead to a NYAC v Brookes/Melbourne final which should be a great display in the first year of the event. I’m going to go for a win by the New Yorkers.

 

 

Princess Grace Challenge Cup

 

Calgary Rowing Club

A Canadian club crew with University of Calgary graduate Kierstan Mort at bow. She raced in the LW2X at the Canadian University Championships finishing 7th. At 2 is Tessa Vanderveeken, a personal trainer and former varsity rower at Ithaca College.  In the 3 seat is Gillian Cattet from Saskatchewan and winner of a silver medal in the W4- at the Canada Games in 2013. In the stroke seat is University of Victory graduate Alexandra Marchuk. This crew were finalists at Canadian Henley in 2015 and 2016

 

Hollandia Roeiclub, Holland

The Dutch national W4X and favourites for the event. This crew raced at the 1st World Cup and the European Championships winning a silver medal on both occasions. At bow is Lisa Scheenaard from Eindhoven, in 2014 and 2015 she was the Netherlands representative in the W1X finishing 14th and 15th respectively. In the 2 seat is Olivia Van Rooijen. In 2016 she raced in the W8 that finished 6th at the Olympic Games and in 2015 was also in the W8 that came 6th. In the 3 seat is a crewmate from the Olympic W8, Sophie Souwer. Souwer doubled up in the W2X at the first World Cup winning gold. She will celebrate her 30th birthday on Regatta Thursday. At stroke is Olympic silver medallist Nicole Beukers. She raced the quad throughout 2015 and 2016 winning bronze at the World championships and silver in Rio.

 

Nottingham Rowing Club & Warrington Rowing Club

This is the Great Britain U23 W4X and the 4th of the crews to be pre-qualified. At bow is Saskia Budgett of The Tideway Scullers School, 4th in the U23 BW4- last year. In the 2 seat is Kyra Edwards from Nottingham Rowing Club who raced in the GB U23 BW4X last season finishing 2nd in the B-Final. In the 3 seat is fellow Nottingham Rowing Club member Anna Thornton, she is an U23 silver medallist from the BW8 last year. In the strokeseat is 19 year old Lucy Glover, a silver medallist in the JW4X last year.

 

The Tideway Scullers School

The Tideway Scullers have had an excellent season so far with wins at Ghent, the Metropolitan Regatta and finally the Senior W4X at Henley Women’s Regatta.

 

Oxford Brookes University “A”

Losing semi-finalists in the Senior W4X at Henley Women’s Regatta and 2nd to the Tideway Scullers at the Metropolitan Regatta.

 

Reading University “A”

4th at the British University Championships, two of the crew, Lucy Ryan and Lou Grove won bronze in  the Championship Doubles at BUCS.

 

University of London

Winners of the Champ 4X at the BUCS regatta and 4th at the Metropolitan regatta. At Henley Women’s Regatta they lost in the Quarter Final of Senior 4X to the eventual winners Headington School.

Wallingford Rowing Club & Agecroft Rowing Club

This crew contains 2 of the U23 BLW4X that finished 6th at the U23 World Championships last year, Ellie Lewis and Mary Wilson

 

My picks – it’s a real shame that the GB W4X have withdrawn as it looked to have been a great battle between them and the Dutch. In their absence I can’t see anyone beating the Dutch.

 

 

The Remenham Challenge Cup

Calgary Rowing Club – Canada

An impressive club crew from Canada. In 2016 they became the first crew to win back to back titles in both the W8 and W4- events. They have totally dominated the domestic scene in Canada going undefeated for 2 ½ years. Jessie Loutit and Amelie Schumacher won bronze at the 2016 Canadian National Championships with team mates Kasia Gruchella-Wesierska and Colleen Nesbitt finishing one place behind them.  At the Recent Canadian National Team Trials three pairs from this crew finished in the top 10, it’s only a matter of time before the majority of this crew gain senior international honours.

 

Cambridge Rowing Club, New Zealand

From Lake Karapiro – I have to admit I’ve not been able to find any information on this crew!

 

Edinburgh University

This crew raced as a Senior 4- and 4X at Henley Women’s Regatta with the W4- of Gray, Blake-Parsons, Stevenson & Somerside losing in the semi-finals to Imperial College. The W4X of Currie, Rodahl, Buchan and Rankin also bowed out at the semi-final stage losing to the Tideway Scullers.

 

Hollandia Roeiclub, Holland

The Dutch national squad. They’ve made a few changes to the crew that won silver at the European Championships with the bow four now containing the W4- that won bronze – Willeke Vossen, Marleen Verburgh, Annemarie Bernhard and Lisanne Brandsma. There is also a change in the stroke seat with Olympian Kareian Robbers replacing Monica Lanz. Remaining from the silver medal crew are Jose Van Veen at 5, Aletta Jorritsma at 6 and Kirsten Wielaard at 7. Jorritsma raced in the W2- (with Robbers) at Rio and won gold in the W4- at the 1st World Cup. Jose Van Veen was also in the gold medal winning W4- in Belgrade and was also in the W8 that finished 6th in Rio.

 

Leander Club & University of London

The Great Britain senior women’s 8. They have made two changes to the crew that won a superb silver medal at the 2nd World Cup in Poznan with Anastasia Chitty and Fi Gammond coming in for Karen Bennett and Caragh McMurtry. The British have been making get strides in what is a very young crew. There isn’t a single member of the crew remaining from last year so the coaches have had to build the boat from scratch. Built around the successful U23 W8’s of the past couple of years this boat has a huge amount of potential. Their race at the European Championships was the first time a GB W8 has beaten the US since the World Championships in 1997.

 

Molesey Boat Club

Winners of the Championship 8’s at the Metropolitan Regatta. Stroked by two-time U23 medallist Katie Bartlett with fellow U23 silver medallist Ruth Whyman in the six seat.

 

Ohio State University

Winners of the Elite 8’s at Henley Women’s Regatta in a new course record. The Ohio State Buckeyes finished 7th at the NCAA Championships. They’ve made just one change from their NCAA crew with Morgan Hummel moving up from the 2V. As is the way with both men’s and women’s US Varsity crews, the Buckeyes have a strong foreign contingent in the boat. In the bow pair are Anne Dietrich from Germany and Alice Riley from New Zealand. Dietrich represented Germany at the 2012 and 2013 U23 World Championships winning a silver and bronze respectively. In the stern pair are two Australians from last year’s U23 BW8 – Rachel Engel and Stephanie Williams.

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Ohio State University – record holders at Henley Women’s Regatta. Photo: Rowing Related

University of London & Imperial College

This is the Great Britain U23 BW8 for the World Championships in mid-July. This crew has three of the team that won silver at last year’s World Championships – Charlotte Hodgkins-Byrne, Heidi Long and cox Sasha Adwani. Alos in the crew are Cambridge Blue Thea Zabell and University of Virginia Varsity rower Ellie Stewart (although for obscure technical reasons she’s listed as a member of the University of London). This crew had their first run out at Henley Women’s regatta where they lost to Ohio State. Hopefully the draw brings these two crews back together for a rematch.

 

Waiariki Rowing Club, New Zealand

The Kiwi national team. In their first outing of 2017 they took gold at the Poznan World Cup 1 second ahead of the British.  The Kiwis have 5 of the crew that finished 4th in Rio along with Lucy Spoors and Georgia Perry from the W4x that missed qualification for Rio and the final member of the crew is Ashlee Rowe an U23 bronze medallist from 2014. They will start as favourites for the title but it’ll be a really good battle between them, the British and Dutch.

My picks….I’m going for a Dutch victory by about half a length over the British.

 

 

Henley Royal Regatta review part one – The Open Men’s events

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It’s time for the best regatta in the World….Henley Royal Regatta – the event that every rower in the world should race at least once in their careers.

This year sees entries from 577 crews from 15 different nations, the 2nd highest in the regatta’s history.

So, as always I’ll do a rundown of the key crews to watch in all the events, and there are three new ones to look at this tear, the Women’s pair, Women’s Double Sculls and Women’s coxless four meaning that for the first time in the Regatta’s history there is an equal number of men’s and women’s open events.

So, to kick off…

The Grand Challenge Cup

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The Grand Challenge Cup

Holders: Hollandia Roeiclub, Holland

3 crews (7 in 2016)

4 fewer entries this year, but they are three of the best men’s 8’s in the World

Passauer Ruderverein von 1874 e.V. and Ruderverein “Trevis” Trier von 1821, Germany

Whilst the crew name maybe a bit of a mouthful this crew is, in reality, the German national eight, the Deutschlandachter.  This crew contains four of the crew that won a silver medal behind the British at the Rio Olympics (Malte Jackschik, Richard Schmidt, Hannes Ocik & Martin Sauer) along with half of the Olympic M4- (Felix Wimberger and Max Planer). The other members of the crew are Johannes Weissenfeld & Torben Johannesen who raced the M2- at the Poznan World Cup in 2016 and 2015 M2+ silver medallist Jakob Schneider. Together this crew dominated at the European Championships winning their first title of the Tokyo Olympiad. This weekend they also won at the 2017 Poznan World cup posting a frankly astonishing time of 5:18.6 setting a new World Best Time, breaking the mark set by the Canadians at the Lucerne World Cup in 2012.

GER M8 2017

The Fastest men’s eight in the world

Leander Club and Newcastle University

This is the British national eight. They’ve some mighty shoes to fill, Olympic Champions, three-time World Champions and winners of the Grand in 2013, 2014 and 2015. But, this crew is new and very much in development. Plus they suffered a number of illnesses in the last couple of weeks with Olympic Champion Tom Ransley out with an appendicitis. At Poznan this weekend the British had a good race battling with the New Zealanders through to the 1500m mark before losing out in the sprint ending up with a bronze medal. There’s just one change from the crew that rowed in Poznan, with Oxford Blue Ollie Cook replacing Tom Jeffrey, Cook joins Leander Clubmates Tom Ford, Cam Buchan, Callum McBrierty, Jacob Daswon and Adam Neill along with Newcastle’s James Rudkin and Cambridge’s Lance Tredell.

Wairiki Rowing Club, New Zealand

The New Zealand national eight. Another fabulous crew, possibly the best New Zealand M8 since the awesome Kiwi crews of the late 1970’s. Built around the crew that won the U23 World Championships in 2014 that went on to take 6th at the Rio Olympics. The crew for Henley has Issac Grainger, Shaun Kirkham, Stephen Jones, Brook Robertson and cox Caleb Shepherd from the Olympic M8 along with lightweight Olympian James Lassche in bow along with Anthony Allen and Pat McInnes who raced in the M4- that just missed qualification for the Olympics. At Poznan this weekend Kiwis and the British had a great race with the Kiwis taking the silver.

My picks…I hope the Stewards arrange it that the British race the Kiwis in the Semi, as a head to head between these two boats could be a classic. But, no-one will beat the German’s. Given the likely good conditions at Henley we could see the Grand record under threat. The Germans were the first crew to break the magic 6 minute barrier at Henley back in 1989. GB set the course record of 5:54 in 2014 and the Germans will be gunning for that record.

 

The Queen Mother Challenge Cup

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The Queen Mother Challenge Cup

Holders: Leander Club

A straight final between Leander Club and Wairiki Rowing Club, New Zealand.

The British, Jack Beaumont, John Collins, Jonny Walton and Pete Lambert will be expecting to take the victory. At Poznan this weekend they laid down an impressive marker taking the gold in a very quick time of 5:36. For Jack Beaumont a win in the Queen Mother will give him the full set of quad medals at Henley with a win in the Fawley Challenge Cup in 2012 and a hat-trick of wins in the Prince Of Wales Challenge Cup from 2013-15. If they take the win in the QM he will become the first man to win all three quad events (and with a win in the Double Sculls in 2016 it would give him his 6th Henley Medal). Although Harry Glenister could also achieve that feat if his Leander crew win the Prince of Wales Challenge Cup.

Racing the final against the British are the New Zealanders of Wairiki rowing club. The crew of Giacomo Thomas, Nathan Flannery, Cameron Crompton and Lewis Hollows are a young crew, three of whom won a silver medal at the U23 World Championships in 2015. Just Nathan Flannery remains from the Olympic quad that finished 10th. At the Poznan World Cup this weekend the young Kiwi crew finished 1st in the B-final to take 7th overall.

My pick….the British look too strong for the Kiwis at this point. I would expect a comfortable home win. What will be fun is to see whether the British can get near the record of 6:15 set by the Italians of S.C. Eridanea & S.C Firenze back in 1989 – the oldest record in the books.

 

The Silver Goblets & Nickall’s Challenge Cup

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The Silver Goblets and Nickalls’ Challenge Cup

Holders: R. Braas & M Steenman, Holland

9 crews

A small entry this year, it’s been a while since there hasn’t been the need to run qualifying for this event.

Despite the relatively small entry it is quite a high class field:

S.H Arnot & T.R.Jeffery (Leander Club) Members of the GB squad, both were in the M8 that raced at the European Championships. Jeffrey also raced in the crew that won bronze in Poznan.

J.J Dunkley-Smith & J.W.Booth (Mercantile Rowing Club & Melbourne University, Australia). Two of Australia’s finest. They were both part of the M4- that won silver at the Rio Olympics behind the British.  Neither have been named as part of the Australian national squad for 2017 but will be very strong contenders at Henley.

A.C.H Lester & J.J Padmore (Thames Rowing Club). A strong club combination, both already have Henley medals to their credit from the Thames Cup winning boat of 2015. Lester followed that up with a win in the Visitors Challenge Cup last year.

M. Lodo & G. Vicino (Team Italia, Italy). Matteo Lodo and Guiseppe Vicino are the top Italian boat. They were both members of the Italian M4- that won the World Championships in 2015 and then took bronze at the Rio Olympics. They’ve raced internationally once so far this season taking the Gold medal at the European Championships. Depending on the draw it could well be an Italy v Australia final.

S.P.S Meijer & S.J Devereux (Elizabethan Boat Club and Leander Club). Sam Meijer and Seb Devereux are two outstanding young British oarsmen. Although entered as Elizabethan and Leander it could so easily be a Harvard University and Washington University composite. Both are part of a plethora of talented British oarsmen and women who are choosing to study in the USA. Meijer was world junior champion in 2015 and raced in Harvard’s 2V crew that finished 5th at the IRA Championships in 2016. Devereux, a losing Henley finalist in the Prince of Wales last year, raced in the Washington Huskies varsity 8 in 2015. This has the makings of a potential GB U23 crew.

V.O. Onfroy & T.O.Onfroy (Club France, France). The current French national team coxless pair. The Onfroy brothers, Valentin and Theo, were both in the M4- that finished 11th at the Olympics. In 2017 they switched to the M2- and have made an outstanding start to their season, taking silver at the European Championships and gold at the 2nd World Cup in Poznan. The “form” crew on the circuit, a head-to- head with either the Italians or the Australians could be very tasty.

B. Simon & A. Juhàsz (Pénzügyôr Sportegy Egylet, Hungary). The Hungarian national team. Simon and Juhàsz were 9th in the M2- at the Rio Olympics and so far in 2017 have a 10th place at the 1st World Cup and a 9th place at the European Championships.

P.C Tortora & L.N. Jenkins (Yale University, USA). Pete Tortora from Fairfield Connecticut and Leonard Jenkins from Whakatane, New Zealand, were members of the Yale University 2V this season, finishing 4th at the IRA Championships and taking the win in the 2V Yale v Harvard race.

C.O. Webster & A.P.Kennedy (Waiariki Rowing Club, New Zealand). Cameron Webster is an U23 World Champion in the BM4+ from 2015 and Alex Kennedy raced for New Zealand in the M8 at the Rio Olympics. This season they are the spare pair for the New Zealand squad and raced at the Poznan World Cup (when the no.1 pair of James Hunter and Tom Murray withdrew through injury) and finished 8th.

 

My picks…should be a great race in the final which I reckon will be between Australia and Italy, with the Italian European Champions coming out on top.

 

The Stewards Challenge Cup

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The Stewards Challenge Cup

Holders: Hollandia Roeiclub, Holland

5 crews

Club France

This is the French national squad M4- with Benoit Demey, Benoit Brunet, Julien Montet and Edouard Jonville. This is the same line-up that raced at the European Championships finishing just out of the medals in 4th.  Montet was a member of the M4X that finished 16th at the 2015 World Championships and Demey and Brunet raced in the M2+ at Rotterdam last year finishing 9th.

 

Leander Club and Griffen Boat Club

I’m a little surprised to see this boat in the Stewards. They are eligible for the Visitors Challenge Cup so why the Stewards bumped them up (or why they entered the higher event) I don’t know.

This is a boat of some of the best young GB oarsmen currently studying in the USA and is the likely GB U23 M4- for this year’s World Championships in Plovdiv in mid-July.

This crew is made up of Matt Benstead at bow, an U23 silver medallist from last year’s BM8+ and a Senior at Princeton. He was a member of the Tigers 2V crew that finished 3rd at the IRA Championships.

In the 2 seat is Tom Digby, a freshman at Yale and 3 seat of the outstanding 1st Varsity crew that won the IRA Championships and also the Yale v Harvard Boat Race. Formerly of Abingdon School, Digby is one of the most outstanding young oarsmen in the country.

At 3 is Charlie Elwes, another of the Yale 1st Varsity crew, a Sophmore from Radley College he raced for the GB junior team for two years winning a silver medal in the JM4- in 2015.

Stroking the boat is the third Yale athlete, Sholto Carnegie. He was also a member of the Yale 1st Varsity crew that won the IRA’s and was also in the crew that won the Ladies Plate at Henley last year. After Henley last year he rowed in the British U23 M8 with Matt Benstead that won silver at the World Championships.

 

Leander Club & Molesey Boat Club

Great Britain’s flagship men’s crew with Olympic champions Moe Sbihi and Will Satch. Big Moe is rated as possibly the best rower in the world at the moment, certainly one of the most powerful. He was in the crew that won the M4- at the Rio Olympics. Satch was the strokeman of the British M8 that took a spectacular gold in Rio. At bow is the newest member of the crew, Leander Club’s Matt Rossiter. He raced in the M2- at the first World Cup and took a superb gold. Sitting at three is world champion Matt Tarrant. He won gold in the M2+ in 2015 and narrowly lost out on selection for the M2- for Rio.

This new look British four haven’t had the easiest of starts to their 2017, an edgy win in Belgrade at the first World Cup was followed by a pretty disastrous 5th place at the European Championships. Rossiter was brought into the crew for the 2nd World Cup and they had a much better performance even though it resulted in “only” a silver medal behind the Australians. The British will be expecting a big performance at Henley, their home water – only a win will do.

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The GB M4- racing at Belgrade earlier this season (with Callum McBrierty at bow now replaced by Matt Rossiter)

 

Team Italia (Italy)

The reigning European Champions, Marco Di Costanzo, Giovanni Abagnale, Matteo Castaldo & Domineco Montrone. This crew is unchanged from the crew that won a bronze medal at the Rio Olympics and have three of the boat that won the World Championships in 2015.

Abagnale and Di Costanzo won the U23 BM4- in 2014 and also raced at the senior World Championships later that year, finishing 9th in the M8.  Castaldo is a former Lightweight international, winning silver in the U23 BLM4- back in 2004. He then switched to heavyweight, winning silver in the BM2- in 2007. He won his first senior medal at the Lucerne World Cup in 2013 taking silver in the M2- and in 2015 was in the World Championship winning boat in 2015.

They will see the British as vulnerable, they’ve already beaten them once this year, and will like nothing better than beating them in their own back yard.

 

University of Pretoria, South Africa

This is the new look South African M4-. The orginal plan for this season was for the South Africans to find a fast M2- and build on their silver medal performance at Rio. But during pre-season testing it became apparent that there was a fast 4 in the making. In the crew is Olympic silver medallist Lawrence Brittain. His silver in the M2- at Rio was one of the stories of the regatta given his battles over the last few years with cancer. It was fantastic to see him get the reward after the torrid time he’s had. He’s joined in the crew by three fellow Rio Olympians. At stroke is Jake Green and bow is David Hunt, both of these guys were in the M4- that finished 4th at the Olympics. The 4th member of the crew is former lightweight Olympian John Smith. He was in the LM2X with John Thompson that finished 4th in Rio. He and Thompson are the current holders of the LM2X World Best Time – an astonishing 6:05.3 set at the Amsterdam World Championships in 2014. With the changes to the lightweight events at the Olympics Smith chose to bulk up and race as a heavyweight.

 

My picks…this could be too close to call. The British are masters at match racing and will have the support of the home crowd. The Italians are the form crew of the season and the South Africans have an awesome pedigree. The advantage for the British is that they will be in a more positive mood following their stronger showing in Poznan – I’m going to go for a Home win for Leander/Molesey.

 

The Double Sculls Challenge Cup

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The Double Sculls Challenge Cup

Holders: N.C Middleton & J.R.A Beaumont Leander Club

18 crews – to be reduced to 12 by qualifying races

A mouth-watering contest in prospect bringing together the some of the best lightweight and heavyweight doubles in the world.

Hans Gruhne & Karl Schulze – Berliner Ruderclub and Ruder-Club Potsdam e.V, Germany

Two of Germany’s most outstanding men’s scullers in this boat. Both were part of the M4X that won a gold medal at the World Championships in 2015 and followed that up with gold at the Rio Olympics. Schulze is a double Olympic gold medallist having won in the quad in London as well as Rio and Gruhne raced in the quad in Beijing that finished 6th.

 

Pierre Houin & Jeremie Azou – Club France, France

Jeremie Azou is no stranger to this event having won in 2014 with Stany Delayre, in an epic race against the GB heavyweights John Collins and Jonny Walton. He and new partner Pierre Houin have established themselves as the most outstanding lightweight double in the world. They won the gold medal at the Rio Olympics and so far in 2017 they’ve picked up where they left off with commanding wins at both the European Championships and the Poznan World Cup. One of the joys of Henley is the opportunity to pit the top lightweights and heavyweights against each other, and as Azou has shown, the heavy’s don’t always come out on top. They will be delighted if they can claim a few heavyweight scalps during the regatta.

 

Vincent Klaassens and Gerard Van der Velden – Deltsche studenten Roeivereeniging Proteus-eretes and Maastrichtse Studenten Roeivereniging Saurus, Netherlands

This young Dutch double raced as the Netherlands number 2 boat at the 2nd World Cup in Poznan finishing 11th – their first senior international appearance. Klaassens raced for the Dutch U23 team in 2013 finishing 11th in the BM8.

 

Filippo Mondelli and Luca Rambaldi – Team Italia, Italy

The new Italian double have made a great start to the 2017 season taking the win at the European Championships. Mondelli, from Como in Northern Italy raced in the M8 at the 1st world Cup in 2016 finishing 6th and then switched to the M2- for the 2nd World Cup finishing 14th. He ended the season on a high note with a silver medal in the U23 BM4+ at the World Championships in Rotterdam.

Rambaldi, a member of the police Fiamme Gialle Club, is another U23 medallist from 2016 winning bronze in the BM4X. He raced as part of the senior Italian quad in 2013 that finished 7th. In 2015 re represented Italy in the M1X at the Aiguebelette World Championships finishing 25th.

 

Stefano Oppo & Pietro Ruta – Team Italia – Italy

The top Italian lightweight men’s double, they picked up a bronze medal at the European Championships in Racice. Oppo finished the 2016 season with a gold medal in the U23 BLM4- at the World Championships. Both he and Ruta raced in the LM4- at the Rio Olympics, just missing out on the medals in 4th place. For Ruta (a member of the Marina Miitaire Sabaudia Club), Rio was his 2nd Olympics as he raced in the LM2X with Elia Luini taking 1st place in the B-Final to finish 7th overall.

 

Konstantin Steinhuebel & Jonathan Rommelmann – Crefelder Ruderclub 1883 e.V. and Akademischer Ruderclub Wurzburg, Germany

Another talented lightweight double (although not the German no.1 LM2X). Steinhuebel raced in the LM1X in 2015 and 2016 finishing 4th in Aiguebelette and 5th in Rotterdam. In 2014 he was a member of the silver medal winning LM4X crew and raced in the Olympic Class LM2X in 2013 finishing 5th.  His partner, Jonathan Rommelmann raced in the LM1x at the Poznan World Cup finishing 13th. He’s spent the last four years racing mainly for the German U23 squad winning bronze in the BLM4X in 2013 and gold in the BLM2X in 2015. He followed that win with a silver medal in the LM4X at the Senior World Championships, and in 2016 won his 3rd U23 medal with a silver in the BLM1X.

 

John Storey and Chris Harris – Waiariki Rowing Club, New Zealand

New Zealand had an outstanding regatta at the Poznan World Cup last weekend and the M2X of Storey and Harris were just one of six crews that won gold. Both of these guys are two-time Olympians, John Storey was in the M4X that finished 10th in Rio and 7th at the London Olympics. Chris Harris raced the double sculls to 11th in Rio and also finished 11th at the London Olympics in the M4-. They were both in the M4X in 2014 that raced at the World Championships in Amsterdam and finished towards the back of the B-Final in 11th.  In 2015 Harris formed a double scull partnership with Robbie Manson that won a bronze medal at the World Championships. They will start as favourites in Henley wand will take some beating.

 

So those are the pre-qualified crews, it’s a little surprising not to see an entry from the GB Rowing Team but there has been some illness and injuries so they will be focussing on the Lucerne World Cup.

At the qualifying races it’ll be eleven crews racing for the five remaining spots.

Jacob Bryning & Ollie Gibbons – Cardiff City Rowing Club and Cardiff Metropolitan University

A welsh pairing, this duo raced at Marlow Regatta finishing 4th in the Champ M2X category.

 

Ryan Cheale & Matt Day – Broxbourne Rowing Club

This pairing won IM1 2X at Nottingham City Regatta and followed that up with 2nd  place in the Club doubles at Wallingford Regatta. 18 year old Matt Day won silver at the British Junior Championships in 2016 and represented England at the Home International Regatta winning gold in the Junior Quad. At the National Schools Regatta this season he took bronze in the J18 1X.  He and Cheale finished in the top 25 of the Pairs Head earlier in the season.

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Ryan Cheale and Matt Day of Broxbourne Rowing Club

John Harris & Henk-Jaap Wagenaar – Cambridge 99 Rowing Club and Peterhouse College, Cambridge

A strong lightweight double, they finished 8th in the Champ M2X at Marlow with Wagenaar also took a silver medal in the LM1X at Marlow.

 

Peter King & Daniel Harvey – Wallingford Rowing Club.

Former Oxford Blue, Dan Harvey and partner Pete King are two of the more mature competitors attempting to qualify. At the Veterans Head of the River earlier this season they were part of the Masters “C” crew that won their age-group and finished 3rd overall.

 

Dogus Koker and Daan Klomp – Tilburgse Studenten Roeivereniging and Algemene Utrechtse Studenten Roeivereniging Orca, Netherlands

One of the favourites to claim one of the five available qualifying spots. Dogus Koker raced for Turkey at the U23 World Championships in 2015 and 2016 with a best place finish of 4th in the BM4+. His partner, Daan Klomp has raced for the Netherlands at both U23 and senior level. In his first appearance in 2013 he won a bronze medal in the BLM2X, in 2014 he raced in the senior LM4X at the Amsterdam World Championships finishing 6th. At the U23 World Championships he won a silver medal in the BLM2X.

 

Jin Long & Yunlong Cai – Shanghai Jiao Tong University

This pairing raced for their University in the M8 at the International University Rowing Regatta in 2016 finishing 35 seconds behind Otago in their heat.

 

Hugh Mackworth-Praed & Elliot Barton – Auriol Kensington and Torquay Rowing Club

Another of the “old-Stagers” – 45 year-old Mackworth-Praed has been racing (or trying to qualify to race) for over 25 years and raced for Great Britain from 2002 to 2004, ending his international career with a 7th place finish in the LM4X at the World Championships in Banyoles.

His partner, Elliot Barton, raced for England at the Commonwealth Rowing Championships in Canada in 2010 winning a gold medal.

 

Pierre Thomas & Tom Fielder – Fulham Reach Rowing Club and Elizabethan Boat Club

Westminster old boys Thomas and Fielder raced at Marlow finishing 6th in the Champ 2X.

 

Dominic Tope & Vincent DeLuca – Reading University Rowing Club

Dominic Tope raced for England at the Home International Regatta in 2015 picking up a bronze medal. They were due to race the Champ 2X event at Marlow but scratched. At the BUCS Regatta in May they raced to a silver medal in the Intermediate Doubles category

 

Oliver Varley and Hugo Coussens – Newcastle University Boat Club & Durham University Boat Club

This crew looks to be the prospective Great Britain U23 BLM2X for the World Championships in July. Both were member of the U23 BLM4x that won gold at the World Championships in Rotterdam. At Last year’s regatta they made the semi-finals of the Prince of Wales Challenge Cup losing to the eventual winners from the USA. They will be expecting to qualify comfortably for the main draw.

 

Simon Woodfine & Harry Bond – Vesta Rowing Club

Winners of the Champ 2X at Marlow Regatta and regulars at the Regatta, they were both members of the Britannia Challenge Cup crew that made the semi-finals in 2014.

My picks…this could turn into a classic lightweight v heavyweight dual. Hopefully the draw will pit the French Lightweight World Champions against the new Kiwi double in what could be another epic race.

 

The Diamond Challenge Sculls

Diamonds

The Diamond Challenge Sculls

Holder: H. Obreno, Belgium

23 scullers – to be reduced to 12 by qualifying races

 

Tom Barras – Leander Club

The current incumbent of the Great Britain M1X spot, Barras raced for GB at the 2nd World Cup finishing an excellent 5th in the A-Final. Earlier in the season he subbed into the M4X that won bronze at the 1st World Cup and 4th at the European Championships – not bad for your first season on the senior team. At last year’s regatta he raced in the Diamonds losing to Stefan Broenink of the Netherlands in the first round.

 

Matt Dunham – Waiariki Rowing Club, New Zealand

New Zealand’s representative in the LM1X this season, Dunham started his 2017 campaign with a 7th place at the 2nd World Cup in Poznan. Last season he subbed into the LM4- for both the 2nd and 3rd World Cups taking gold on both occasions. Still only 22 years old he’s definitely one to watch for the future.

 

Cameron Girdlestone – Sydney University, Australia

A member of the Olympic silver medal winning M4X from Rio, Girdlestone is an outstanding sculler. Although not part of the Australian team for this season he may return later in the Olympiad. In the meantime a sculler with his pedigree will definitely be among the favourites.

 

John Graves – Craftsbury Sculling Centre, USA

Graves was the sole heavyweight men’s representative at the 2nd World cup earlier this month when he competed in the M1X event where he finished 8th. Last season he raced in the M4X with his brother Pete that missed qualification for the Olympics by 8/10th of a second at the Final Olympic Qualification Regatta. In 2015 he raced the M2X that finished 16th at the World Championships.

 

Adam Ling – Leander Club

The 2015 LM1X World Champion for New Zealand is now qualified to represent Great Britain although he’s yet to gain a spot on the team having struggled in the trials earlier this year. However a talent such as his could well be a major asset to the British team, and as a lightweight he’ll be keen to take down a few of the heavyweight competition.

 

Robbie Manson – Waiariki Rowing Club, New Zealand

The overwhelming favourite to win the title. Manson raced in the M4X that finished 7th at the London Olympics and then switched to the M2X for the Rio Olympiad. He raced with Michael Arms in 2013 and then his brother Karl in 2014 before settling on a combination with Chris Harris that brought a World bronze medal in 2015. Medals at the 2nd and 3rd World Cups in 2016 were followed by a somewhat disappointing 11th in Rio. Now, for 2017 he’s taken over from 5-times Diamond Challenge sculls winner Mahe Drysdale as the NZ M1X.  Just before the Poznan World Cup Drysdale tweeted:

“Robbie Manson will carry on the Kiwi tradition and start his campaign on top of the podium! looking forward to watching him dominate!”

I’m not sure even Mahe realised just how dominant Manson would be. He won comfortably in Poznan, but not only that he smashed Drysdale’s World Best Time by a massive 3 seconds.

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Robbie Manson of Waiariki Rowing Club – the fastest sculler in the world

Matt O’Leary – Oxford University Boat Club

A member of this year’s winning Oxford Blue Boat and graduate of Harvard, O’Leary raced for the USA and the 2014 and 2015 World championships finishing with 5th on both occasions in the LM8 and LM4x respectively.  At Henley he made the finals of the Visitors Challenge Cup in 2013. So far this season he has wins at both the Metropolitan Regatta and Elite 1x at Marlow.

 

Jon Stimpson – Nottingham Rowing Club

7th at the Final GB Trials in April, Stimpson is a product of the GB Start initiative he won Elite 1X at Nottingham City Regatta earlier in the season.

 

Those are the pre-qualified scullers, the remaining 11 will compete for the 4 remaining spots

Dan Boddington – Griffen Boat Club

A member of the Leander B crew that lost in the first round of the Prince of Wales Challenge Cup last year. He raced in the Tier 2 Sculls at the Metropolitan Regatta finishing 2nd.

 

  1. Byrford – Birmingham Rowing Club

Raced in the Champ 1X at Marlow finishing 6th in the B-Final.

 

Tom Carter – Upper Thames Rowing Club

A stalwart of the M1X club scene, although perhaps more successful in Masters events. He raced at Marlow finishing 3rd in the C-Final.

 

Matt Jenner – Agecroft Rowing Club

5th in the Championship single at Marlow

 

Niall Kenny – The Tideway Scullers School.

3rd in the Champ singles at Marlow, Kenny is a former Irish lightweight international. He last raced for his country at the 2014 world Championships finishing 10th in the LM2-. An U23 medallist from 2010, his best result at a senior international level was 4th in the LM4X in 2011.

 

Jamie Kirkwood – Leander Club

Jamie’s probably a bit miffed to find himself having to qualify. He’s been one of the top lightweight scullers in the British squad for the last few years. In 2016 he raced in the LM4x at the world Championships that finished 6th and was GB’s LM1X representative in 2015 just missing a medal at the 2016 European Championships. Now retired from international competition and assistant coach at the Oxford University Women’s Boat Club he will be one of the favourites to qualify.

 

J.P Scott – Leander Club

3rd in the B-final at Marlow

 

H.W. Shepherd – Exeter Rowing Club

5th in the B-final at Marlow and winner of IM1 1X at Notts City

 

Harry Uglow – Imperial College

6th in the championship M1X at Marlow

 

My picks…It’s difficult to see anyone getting the better of Robbie Manson, but it should be a good battle for the other final spot. If conditions are right could we see Manson have a crack at Vaclav Chalupa’s course record from 28 years ago?

 

Poznan World Cup Preview part 2 – The women’s events

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Time for part 2 of my World Cup preview, starting with the women’s single scull.

18 scullers

Vicky Thornley of Great Britain has made a superb start to the 2017 season. The Olympic silver medallist won silver behind Jeannine Gmelin of Switzerland at the 1st World Cup and she followed that up by taking gold at the European Championships. That win made her the first senior British woman to win a championship gold medal in the W1X. The question now is can she follow up that success with another win? Great Britain have a 2nd boat racing in Poznan with Alice Baatz making her international debut, the Manchester university graduate learnt to row at Agecroft Rowing Club as part of the GB Start programme and joins the team after domestic success at Henley Women’s Regatta in 2016 and raced for Wales in the W1X at the Home International Regatta.

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Vicky Thornley of Great Britain

The main threat to Thornley is likely to come from China’s Olympic bronze medallist Jingli Duan. Poznan will be the first appearance of Duan in 2017 so it remains to be seen what sort of race shape she’s in.

Annekatrin Thiele of Germany finished in bronze at the European Championships and the W4X Olympic champion will be looking to step on in Poznan and make another podium finish.

Magdalena Lobnig was absent from the European Championships (with Birgit Puehringer racing in her stead to a 10th place – Puehringer is also racing in Poznan as AUT2). She did, however, race at the first World Cup in Belgrade finishing 6th. She will be looking to improve on that performance in Poznan and a podium is not out of the question.

The Irish have two scullers racing, Sanita Puspure and Monika Dukarska. Puspure made a solid start to her 2017 campaign with a 5th place in Belgrade but was forced to withdraw from the Europeans due to illness. Given the strength of the field a medal is probably beyond her at the moment, but an A-Final spot is a definite possibility. Durkaska is making a return to the international stage for the first time since 2015 when she finished 5th in the W4- at the World Championships. Injury kept her out of the whole of 2016 but it’s great to see her back. Se warmed up for Poznan by winning Open W1X at the Metropolitan Regatta at Eton Dorney last weekend.

New Zealand’s representative in the W1X, taking over the mantle from the great Emma Twigg, is the 23 year old Hannah Osborne. From the small town of Te Kuiti on New Zealand’s North Island, she makes her senior international debut following 2 years on the U23 team in the BW4X where she placed 5th in 2013 and 7th in 2016.

Sweden’s Lovisa Claesson won silver at the U23 World Championships last season and made her 2017 season debut at the European Championships finishing a strong 5th.

The USA have entered two boats in Poznan. Racing as USA1 is Lauren Schmetterling. She was part of the awesome W8 that won gold in Rio. Poznan marks her first international appearance in a sculling boat so it remains to be seen how her sweep skills transfer to the challenges of the single scull. The 2nd USA sculler is far more experienced with a blade in each hand, Meghan O’Leary has raced internationally in the W2X for the last 4 years culminating in a 6th place at the Rio Olympics.

Other scullers to watch are Liang Tian racing as CHN2 and Lucie Zabova of the Czech Republic.

My picks…I’m trying to be impartial but I really think Thornley is on a roll at the moment and could well take another gold. I’m going for Duan in silver with Thiele in bronze.

 

W2-

 

10 pairs

This has the makings of a New Zealand v USA battle. Both countries have two boats entered with the clear favourites being the no.1 New Zealand boat of Grace Prendergast and Kerri Gowler. They raced in the W8 at Rio and were unlucky to miss out on the medals ending up 4th. At the 2015 World Championships they doubled-up in the W8 and W2-  taking silver medals in both events.

The 2nd New Zealand boat are a much less experienced pairing with Jackie Gowler and Kirstyn Goodger. Gowler raced in the U23 W8 that finished 4th at the 2016 World Championships and Goodger makes her senior debut after racing on the Junior team in 2009.

The two USA boats are also a mix of experience and youth. Racing as USA1 are Megan Kalmoe and Tracy Eisser. These two raced in the W4X that won the World Championships in 2015 and went on to finish 5th at the Olympics. Kalmoe is no stranger to this boat class having won silver with Kerry Simmonds at the 2014 World Championships.

 

The 2nd USA boat is Kathrin Roach and Sophia Vitas. Cornell Graduate Roach raced in the U23 BW8 that won gold in 2014 and her partner, Vitas makes her international debut having only started rowing as a “walk-on” at Wisconsin University in 2013.

The British won in Belgrade, but illness has meant it’s a completely different crew racing in Poznan. An Oxford Blue, Anastasia Chitty won a silver medal in the U23 BW8 in 2014 and also finished 4th in the W2- at the World University Rowing Championships in 2016. She’s joined by international debutant Rebecca Girling. The Cardiff University Psychology graduate raced at the World University Championships last year finishing 4th in the W2X.

The Australians have Sarah Hawe from Tasmania and Molly Goodman from Adelaide. Both of them are doubling-up in the W4-. Hawe, the oldest member of the Australian squad, makes her first senior international appearance after racing on the junior team back in 2005. Goodman raced in the W8 in Rio and raced in the W2- with Genevieve Horton at the 2015 World Championships finishing 1st in the C-Final (13th overall).

The Chinese will be a real threat for a medal, Min Zhang and Tian Miao have raced in this boat class off and one over the past couple of years culminating in a 7th place at the Rio Olympics.

The final two crews to mention are the Irish, Aifric Keogh and Aileen Crowley and the Chilean Abraham twins Melita and Antonia (who finished 7th in the BW2- last year and 17th in the LW2X at the Rio Olympics).

My picks….I think the no.1 Kiwi boat will win, and win convincingly with USA1 in silver and bronze going to the Chinese.

 

W2X

9 crews

The Czech Republic won the European Championships on their home water in Racice. Krystina Fleissnerova and Lenka Antasova have been a settled pairing since the Bled International Regatta of 2015. They won bronze at the 2015 European Championships and went on to win the Final Olympic Qualification Regatta. In Rio they finished 4th in the B-final to take 10th overall. So far in 2017 they have had an excellent season, gold in Racice was preceded by bronze in Belgrade. They will be looking to cement their status as the leading European crew with a good medal in Poznan.

But, the Czechs will face very strong competition led by two German doubles. Racing as GER1 are Daniela Schultze and Freida Hammerling. These two were in the W4X that won gold at the European Championships. Germany 2 is, perhaps, the stronger of the two boats with Olympian Marie-Catherine Arnold joined by London 2012 silver medallist Julia Richter. Richter raced in the W1X throughout 2015 and 2016 without a huge amount of success and she failed to qualify for Rio. She will be much happier back in a crew boat and the combination with Arnold has a huge amunt of experience.

China have two boats racing with CHN2 looking the stronger boat. This crew has half of the W4X boat that finished 6th in Rio, Ling and Xinyue Zhang. 20 year old Ling Zhang made her senior international debut way back in 2013 just 2 years after starting rowing when she finished 9th in the W2X at the Eton World Cup. Her partner Xinyue as only raced the W2X once, when she finished 10th at the 2nd World Cup in 2015.

The other China boat contains another member of the W4X Olympic boat, Yan Jiang. She’s joined by Jingjing Li, a slightly unknown quantity.

The British, Georgia Francis and Emily Carmichael, finished 7th in their first race together at the European Championships. Given the relatively small field they will be fully expecting to make the A-final and could well be challenging for a bronze.

Australia have a strong and experienced duo. Olympia Aldersey is the current holder of the World best time in this event; 6:37.31 set in 2014 with Sally Kehoe (although they “only” took the bronze in the final). She’s a highly decorated athlete with World Cup and World Championship medals galore. She was drafted into the W8 for Rio when the Russians were disqualified. Her partner, Maddy Edmunds is another Rio Olympian having raced in the W4X. She took gold at U23 level in 2012 and also has a number of World Cup medals to her credit. The Australians have high hopes for this crew and they will expecting to contend for the medals.

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Olympia Aldersey (right) with partner Sally Kehoe. holders of the W2X World Best Time (photo: TheChronicle.com.au)

Norway’s Thea Helseth and Marianne Madsen raced at the Europeans making the A-Final.

The final crew in the event are the New Zealanders, Brooke Donoghue and Olivia Loe. Donoghue raced in the W4X last year that just missed qualifying for Rio and her partner, Loe raced the W2- at the 2nd and 3rd World Cups in 2016 with a best finish of 6th in Poznan.

My picks…It’s going to be really tight between the Czechs, Germans and Australians. I’m going to plump for a Green & Gold win with the Germans in silver and the Czechs in bronze.

 

W4-

6 crews

With the IOC officially confirming that this boat class will be included at the Tokyo Olympics (at the expense of the LM4-) there will be increasing interest in these races. The USA have two crews racing with USA2 (Grace Latz, Molly Bruggeman, Victoria Opitz & Emily Regan) doubling up in the W8. Regan won gold in the W8 in Rio and Opitz won the World Championships in 2015. Latz is another Rio Olympian who raced in the W4X that finished 5th, and the final member of the crew, Bruggeman, won silver in this boat class last year.

The USA1 boat is slightly less experienced, although it does include Kristine O’Brien and Corinne Schoeller who won silver in this event at the 2016 World Championships. The 3rd member of the crew, Erin Boxberger is making her senior debut after win two U23 gold medals in 2014. The final member of the crew is Kelly Pierce, the Princeton graduate makes her senior debut after winning bronze in the U23 BW8 back in 2011.

The Poles are the only crew who have already raced this season, Monika Ciaciuch, Joanna Dittmann, Anna & Maria Wierzbowska, took silver in Belgrade and followed that up at the European Championships with another silver medal.

As mentioned above, Australia have a couple of athletes doubling up in the W2- (Hawe and Goodman). They are joined by fellow Olympian Lucy Stephan and U23 medallist Katrina Werry.

The other two crews racing are the Chinese and Ukrainians. The Chinese have three senior debutants with just Xiatong Cui having raced at senior level racing in the W8 at the Final Olympic Qualifying Regatta. The Ukrainians have a similar profile to the Chinese with only one athlete, Kateryna Kozyr who has raced at senior level (racing in the repecharge in the W8 at the 2015 European Championships).

My picks…this could well be a USA 1,2 with the Poles and Aussies fighting it out for the bronze.

 

W4X

4 crews

Unfortunately illness has meant that the British have had to withdraw from Poznan which is particularly disappointing given the excellent bronze they took at the Europeans.

This looks to be a clear battle between the Germans and the Poles for the gold. Germany have two of the crew that won the European Championships (Charlotte Reinhardt and Frauke Hundeling) joined by the 4th W2X from Racice Carlotta Nwajide and Julia Leiding. The Poles won the 1st World Cup but were somewhat surprised to miss out on the medals in Racice.

The battle for bronze will be between the Australians and the Chinese. The Aussies are a young crew with 3 U23 athletes making the step up to the senior team, the fourth member of the crew, Genevieve Horton raced in the W2X in Rio finishing 9th.

China have a couple of Olympians on board, with Yuwei Wang and Yang Lyu (6th in the W4X and 11th in the W2X respectively). The rest of the crew, Jie Wang and Fei Wang have both raced internationally at World Cups.

My picks…Germany ahead of Poland with the Aussies taking the bronze.

 

W8

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5 crews

Whenever you see a USA crew in the W8 entry list it’s a safe assumption to say they are favourites for gold.  This year’s incarnation has an Olympic Champion, Emily Regan along with fellow Olympian Grace Latz and 2015 W8 World champion Victoria Opitz. 5 of the rest of the crew have gold medals at U23 level and it would be a major shock for a USA W8 to miss gold (something that last happened at the 1st World Cup in Sydney back in 2013).

The really interesting battle will be for the silver and bronze. This is likely to be between the Kiwis and Brits.

The British have made two changes to the crew that finished 4th in Racice with Karen Bennett replacing the ill Fiona Gammond and Matilda Horn taking over the coxes seat from Erin Wysocki-Jones.

The Kiwis have 5 of the crew that finished 4th in Rio along with Lucy Spoors and Georgia Perry from the W4x that missed qualification for Rio and the final member of the crew is Ashlee Rowe an U23 bronze medallist from 2014.

China have 2 crews racing with CHN1 containing 7 Olympic debutants along with Yuting Ku and Songsong Xie who raced at the U23 World Championships in 2015.

CHN2 have 4 debutants along with 3 rowers with limited World Cup experience and former junior international Shengan Li.

My picks….USA gold, New Zealand silver with GB in bronze.

 

LW1X

17 scullers

Sweden’s Emma Fredh ended 2016 as the world silver medallist in this boat class. In 2017 she picked up where she left off taking gold at the European Championships. That level of performance means she will probably start as marginal favourite in Poznan.

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Emma Fredh of Sweden. Photo: Borås Tidning

Fredh’s main competition will probably come from Denise Walsh. The Irish woman is having an excellent 2017 after a somewhat disappointing 2016 which saw her finish 4th at the Europeans and 19th at the Poznan World Cup. But, in 2017 she’s already picked up a couple of medals taking silver at both the Belgrade World Cup and the European Championships (the first championship medal of her senior career). Another medal in Poznan is a definite possibility for the girl from Skibbereen.

Another sculler having an excellent start to their 2017 campaign is Switzerland’s Patricia Merz. She won in Belgrade and followed that up with bronze in Racice. Like Walsh, the medals she’s won this season are the first of her senior international career which stretches back to 2013.

Poland’s Joanna Dorociak has had a mixed 2017. A strong showing I Belgrade where she took the bronze medal was followed by a somewhat disappointing 10th place at the Europeans. She’ll be hoping for a better performance on home waters and an A-Final finish at the very least.

Russia’s Anastasia Lebdeva is another one to watch, with A-Final finishes at both the 1st World Cup and the European Championships.

New Zealand have entered Jackie Kiddle in this event, but as she is also entered in the LW2X it remains to be seen if she does compete in both classes. If she does race the single she will definitely be a threat for the medals. She last raced this boat class at the Lucerne World Cup in 2015 and just missed the medals. She went on to win gold in the U23 BLW2X later in the year and followed that up with silver in the same class last year. A prodigious talent she will be a threat in whichever boat she races in.

Another challenger will be the USA’s Mary Jones. A member of the famous Cambridge Boat Club in Boston, she won the LW1X at the 2015 an American games and just missed the medals at the 2016 World Chamionships.

Other scullers to watch for include Germany’s Leonie Pieper (world LW4X champion in 2015 and 6th at this year’s Europeans in the LW1X) and Austria’s Anja Manoutschehri (5th in Belgrade and 11th at the Europeans).

My picks….this has the makings of a really good battle. I’m going to go for Fredh of Sweden to continue her good run ahead of Jones in silver and Kiddle (if she races) in bronze (Merz of Switzerland if the Kiwi doesn’t race).

 

LW2X

9 crews

A relatively small field for this Olympic class event but it’s very strong nonetheless.

Poland will surely start as favourites, Weronika Deresz and Martyna Mikolajczak were 7th in Rio and have had an imperious start to the 2017 season taking gold at both the first World Cup and the European Championships.

The British changed their line-up after a lacklustre performance in Belgrade. Despite taking the silver it was the manner of the performance that concerned selectors with Copeland and Taylor leading for over ¾ of the race before being rowed through by the Poles. As a result Taylor was swapped with Emily Craig. The new pairing took bronze in Racice with a much more satisfying performance. They will be looking to build on that performance in Poznan and a podium finish will be seen as “job done”.

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Emily Craig and Kat Copeland of Great Britain (Photo: British Rowing)

GB have a 2nd boat racing with Ellie Piggott and Gemma Hall. Piggott won gold in the LW4X last year and Hall raced the LW1X finishing in the B-Final in Rotterdam. They will be looking to push their no.1 boat as hard as possible and an A-Final finish would be their “job done” as well.

The biggest challengers to the Poles are likely to be the Kiwis, Zoe McBride and Jackie Kiddle. McBride is a double World Champion in the LW1X and is holder of the World Best Time in that event. She has a remarkable competitive record since joining the senior team in 2015 has lost only once (finishing 3rd at the Lucerne World Cup in 2016). Poznan sees her reform the partnership with Kiddle with whom she won the U23 BLW2X title in 2015. This has the makings of a world-beating combination.

 

China have two boats racing with the No.1 boat of Cuiming Chen and Feihong Pan looking to be the strongest. Pan is an Olympic bronze medallist from Rio in this boat class and Chen raced in the LW2X in 2015 finishing 7th. The Chinese lightweight women are always dangerous in this boat class and could be challenging for a medal.

The 2nd Chinese boat contains international debutant Fang Chen. She’s joined by world medallist Dandan Pan. Pan made waves in the Rowing World when she won a silver medal at the 2011 World Championships aged just 15 (which I believe made her the youngest ever senior world medallist). It’ll be interesting to see how this new combination gets on, and the inter-team rivalry with their compatriots.

Australia are another nation with two boats racing. AUS1 is Alice Arch and Georgia Miansarow. Arch is making her senior debut following a 5th place in the BL2X at the U23 World Championships. Miansarow was an U23 world medallist in 2014 and in 2015 she was a member of the LW4X that just missed out on a medal at the Amsterdam World Championships.

The 2nd Aussie boat is Georgia Nesbitt and Amy James. Nesbitt was 9th in the world in the LW1X last years and James raced in the BLW2X in 2015 and followed that up with gold in the LW1X at the World University Games in 2016. The plan for these two Aussie boats is to race as the LW4X at the World Championships but with no LW4X event in Poznan they are racing the doubles.

The final crew in the event are the Germans, Fini Sturm and Leonie Pleiss. Sturm raced this boat class in Rio finishing 11th with Pleiss taking 10th in the LW1X at the World Championships. So far this season they have raced at the European Championships finishing 1st in the B-Final.

My picks…another great contest in store between the New Zealanders and Poles. I’m going for a Kiwi gold with the Poles in silver and the British getting the better of the Chinese for bronze