Henley Women’s Regatta 21-23 June

hwrWeekend of Friday 21 June – Sunday 23rd the River Thames in Henley will come to life with battles being waged on the water.  Whilst the world’s elite rowers come head to head at the Samsung 2nd World Cup at Dorney there will be another important rowing event going on just down the road.  The only international women’s rowing regatta in the world is held here in Henley on Thames.

It is a fact that the HWR organisers are proud of; each year Henley Women’s Regatta has produced an Olympian.  That is to say, somebody competing will go on to compete at the Olympics.  This is where the dream begins, this is where battle lines are drawn.

First run in 1988, Henley Women’s Regatta now attracts competitive crews from all over the world.  This year there are international entries from Norway, Holland, Canada, USA, Ireland and South Africa.  349 crews are entered to race, involving nearly 1500 athletes.  Highlights this year include triple Olympian Debbie Flood, racing Elite 1x for Leander fresh from the London 2012 Olympics and retirement from the British Rowing Team.

The immediate effect of our ‘Golden Girls’ success at London 2012 is highlighted by the participation of girls who took up the sport, made clear by the  incredible increase of 74% in Academics 4+, 186% in Academics Senior 4+ and 69%  in both J16 4x and Schools Junior 2x.

Jo Unsworth and Alice White from Shiplake College will compete in the JSch Academics 2x, both having won the  HWR 2012 Junior Quad event with Maddy Wynn Jones and Pippa Birch. This will be an interesting race to follow as Maddy will be partnered with Jennifer Norman in the same event.

Pam Relph, London 2012 Olympic Gold Medalist in the Adaptive Mixed 4+ is the Henley Women’s Regatta Adaptive Ambassador, and this year will see the presentation of  The Grosvenor Cup to the winner of the Adaptive Single Sculls.

International crews to look out for include GVSU USA (Grand Valley State University) who will be competing for the Senior Eights title.  GVSU USA won the Women’s Varsity Heavyweight Eight race at the Aberdeen Dad Vail Regatta, which is the largest collegiate regatta in North America, last month on May 11th.

Closer to home, Newcastle University are aiming to retain the Senior eights title that they won last year.  A strong boat with five GB trialists they also have a pair of siblings within.  Two sisters, Danielle and Natalie Hardy will be racing at 6 and 3 and following in the footsteps of their rowing parents.  Their father still rows and is captain of Tyne Rowing Club, and their mother coxed at Henley Royal Regatta.

In addition to GVSU and Newcastle University the senior eights event has attracted crews from Boston College USA, University College Dublin, Trinity College USA and the victorious Oxford University crew.  The senior eights title looks to be a hard won battle.

All spectators are welcome to come and experience a friendly riverside event, held over three days, 21-23 June. The regatta start is at Temple Island and finishes at Remenham Club. The regatta hub is half way down the course where refreshments can be purchased and car parking is available for a fee. These facilities are all kindly provided by the Copas Partnership. There are no entrance fees to the regatta and dress code is casual.

Should you be unable to make it to the regatta, and this is a Henley First, HWR will have world wide live web streaming throughout the three day racing programme. The web streaming can be viewed on iphone, ipad, computer and TV if computer linked enabled, on the Henley Women’s Regatta website www.hwr.org.uk. Details for access will be published shortly.