Competition Hot in the Sunshine at Henley Women’s Regatta

The sunshine was out and the competition was hot in this year’s Henley Women’s Regatta this weekend.

Miriam Luke, Chair of the Regatta said, “We have had the most wonderful regatta with 442 crews entered and with nearly 1900 competitors wanting to race.  This is the biggest regatta we have ever had to organise.  Thank you to everyone for entering particularly in our new competition structure and making sure that you entered events that you could be competitive at. Thank you to Colgan Foundation and Walter Scott for the live streaming, Copas Partnership for the land, Henley Town Council for new pontoons, to our long standing sponsor Invesco Perpetual, Henley Royal Regatta for the use of the course, Remenham, Upper Thames and Henley Rowing Clubs and Phyllis Court Club for the use of their facilities.  Thanks too to all the 100 volunteers who do it because they love women’s rowing.”

The Herald were delighted to be invited to join some of the sponsors on Sunday morning for a special breakfast and to meet Olympians Jessica Eddie and Anna Watkins and Paralympian, Naomi Riches.

Olympic silver medallist cox from Rio 2016, Zoe De Toledo was a race commentator over the weekend and presented the trophies on Sunday.  Zoe started her rowing career as a junior at St Paul’s School.  She said, “The standard of racing has been incredibly high as it always was.  The first time I raced between the booms in 2006 in the club coxed fours I remember the absolute dread and fear I had to cox inside those booms.  We didn’t last very long.  I remember the atmosphere and how inspiring it was to compete against not only the other clubs but to see the elite racers too.  My favourite racing memories have been here at Henley Women’s Regatta.”

Henley Rowing Club won two titles this year – the J16 4x-and the J4x-.  In J16 4x- Carla Russell and Georgia Brown won for the second consecutive year and were joined by club members Charlotte Rowley and Hannah Hills who beat local rivals Marlow by half a length in the final.  The J4x- crew of Issy Jonnson, Lottie Orr, Sophia Kahn and Georgia Robinson Ranger were pushed by Latymer Upper School (A) in the final but beat them by 3/4 length at the finish.

The Leander Club pair of Laura Meridew and Natasha Harris-White won the C2- final against the Tideway Scullers Sch (A) convincingly by 2 lengths.  This was the first time ex-Gillotts and Henley College student Natasha Harris-White had competed for Leander Club in the Women’s Regatta.  She’d previously rowed for Upper Thames and Newcastle University.  She said afterwards, “Absolutely delighted with the win on our home stretch of river. So glad we managed to avoid the booms and didn’t crash.”

Other highlights:

In an all American J8 Final Green Lake (A) beat Nat Cathedral School (A) by two lengths.

There was great sportsmanship shown by Georgina Dooley from Agecroft RC in the J1x as she waited for an hour or so while her opponent recovered sufficiently to race in the final before winning.

In an all Australia C 1x final Cara Grzeskowiak from Capital Lakes (A) beat Sydney University (A) by an impressive four lengths.

In the club’s tradition, K S R V Njord (NED) chanted their winning song before being presented with the The Rosie Mayglothling Trophy for the A2x after beating Ipswich/Sudbury by four lengths in the final.

The Molesley crew broke the course record in the C 4- with eight times Henley Women’s Regatta winner Katie Bartlett in the boat who was made an Victrix Honorary member this year.

The U23 GB composite team won the C8 beating Yale University in the final by 1.5 lengths

For the first time in the history of the regatta, there was entertainment before the trophy ceremony on Sunday.  Local resident and BBC Voice finalist Jamie Bruce entertained the winners and the crowds with some great songs including Uptown Funk and Happy by Pharrell Williams.