Henley Royal Regatta 2018 will see the third-largest entry on record, with 565 boats divided up into 454 domestic and 111 overseas crews.
Mahe Drysdale from New Zealand will return to Henley Royal Regatta as a five-times winner of The Diamond Challenge Sculls, aiming to equal Stuart Mackenzie’s record of six victories. Drysdale, who last competed at the Regatta in 2016 but lost in the Final to Belgium sculler Hannes Obreno, will face stiff competition from senior internationals Kjetil Borch and Nuno Mendes of Norway and Portugal respectively.
World champion Jeannine Gmelin of Switzerland will be considered favourite for The Princess Royal Challenge Cup, as she looks to deny Great Britain’s Vicky Thornley. This field is exceptionally competitive, with world bronze medallist Madeleine Edmunds of Australia also present alongside Diana Dymchenko of the Ukraine and Zoltana Gadanyi of Hungary.
Having made global headlines as one of the stories of the 2016 Rio Olympics, Gary and Paul O’Donovan will make their debut at Henley Royal Regatta in The Double Sculls Challenge Cup. The Irish duo, who were bronze medallists in the lightweight double scull at the most recent World Cup in Belgrade, will likely meet the silver medallists from the heavyweight equivalent – Angus Groom and Jack Beaumont will represent Leander Club as part of a bumper 22-boat GB squad entry.
Olympic Champions are consistent attendees at Henley Royal Regatta and 2018 will see the Sinkovic brothers – gold medallists in Rio in the heavyweight double sculls – continue their transition over to the pair as they contest The Silver Goblets and Nickalls’ Challenge Cup. Romania’s heavyweight men’s pair, who finished fourth in Belgrade, will also feature alongside crews from Hungary, Australia and France.
The Grand Challenge Cup is a three-boat entry with crews from Great Britain, Romania and Australia whilst The Remenham Challenge Cup will be contested by five different countries across 19 entries. The Queen Mother Challenge Cup will be a straight final between international crews from Norway and Great Britain with The Stewards’ Challenge Cup an all-Great Britain affair.
Last year saw the introduction of three new women’s events to the programme, and they have now been named and new trophies have been commissioned for the 2018 Regatta. The Town Challenge Cup, for women’s coxless fours, will contain two British squad fours, an U23 crew from the USA and a composite from France and Australia whilst The Stonor Challenge Trophy, for women’s double sculls, welcomes entries from the University of Washington and Shanghai Jiao Tong University of China. The Hambleden Challenge Cup has a strong entry with crews from Leander, Imperial College and Thames expected to perform well.
Thames Rowing Club has won two of the past three Thames Challenge Cups and will enter three crews as they look to retain their title – strong competition is expected from N.S.R. Oslo and Ruder-Gesellschaft Bonn e.v., Germany.
Meanwhile, The Temple Challenge Cup should see an interesting tussle between Oxford Brookes, who has won three of the past four editions, and Amsterdamsche Studenten Roeivereeniging Nereus of the Netherlands, victors in 2015. There’s also a strong American contingent in the form of Yale, Princeton, Cornell, Washington and Temple universities.
In The Princess Elizabeth Challenge Cup, St Paul’s School will be looking to secure the ‘Triple Crown’ after emphatic victories at the Schools’ Head of the River and the National Schools’ Regatta. The Fawley Challenge Cup has attracted 64 entries and Sydney Rowing Club, who last won this event in 2011, could prove to be the strongest challengers as Maidenhead look to complete their own ‘Triple Crown’. On the women’s side, Gloucester Rowing Club will not be making it a fifth title in a row as they haven’t entered a crew – Henley Rowing Club, Latymer Upper School and a strong entry from Y Quad Cities Rowing Association, USA, with former junior world champion Caroline Sharis on board, will all be looking to add their names to the winners’ list.
Henley Royal Regatta takes place between 4th – 8th July. All five days of the Regatta can be watched live and on demand on YouTube at www.youtube.com/user/HenleyRoyalRegatta.