The 2022 Henley Royal Regatta is set to be the biggest in its 183-year history after receiving a record number of entries both domestic and international.
Entries closed on Monday, 13 June with 739 crews from 17 nations (including Great Britain) registered, beating the previous record of 660 in 2019. There are 172 international entries, with 66 from the USA and 37 from Australia – all records too.
After being cancelled in 2020 for the first time outside of the World Wars, and hosting an event last August constrained by COVID, the Regatta is back in its traditional place in the summer season for the first time since 2019.
“The Stewards of Henley Royal Regatta are delighted with the entry,” Sir Steve Redgrave, Chairman of the Committee of Management, said. “We’ve missed the scale of the Regatta – with a smaller one last year and the cancellation the year before – and judging by the number of entries it looks like the rest of the rowing world has missed it as well.
“In the summer of the Platinum Jubilee, we are looking forward to continuing that spirit of celebration and the record number of crews entered is being matched by the spectators coming to welcome them.”
Amongst the field are 12 gold medallists from the Tokyo Olympics last year – five from New Zealand, four from Australia – the top two nations at the Tokyo Olympics – and three from China. The powerful entry from New Zealand includes Emma Twigg, who won the Olympic gold medal in the women’s single sculls, and Kerri Williams (née Gowler) and Grace Prendergast who won the women’s pair. Williams and Prendergast won silver too as part of the eight in Tokyo, but will not be doubling up at Henley.
There are a host of medallists and world champions, racing after two interrupted seasons. Chief among them is Oliver Zeidler, the German sculler, and World and European champion. He has already shown his form and intent by winning at World Cup I in Belgrade at the end of May.
Zeidler will be one of many trying to unseat Britain’s Graeme Thomas, Henley’s defending champion, in the Diamond Challenge Sculls (Men’s Single Sculls). Thomas, fourth in the men’s double sculls in Tokyo, won his third consecutive GB trials in April and was third to Zeidler in World Cup I.
There will be a strong British entry in the Silver Goblets and Nickalls’ Challenge Cup (Men’s Pair), with three GB boats including Ollie Wynne-Griffith and Tom George. They were part of the Cambridge eight in the Boat Race in April, and convincingly won World Cup I.
The three newest women’s events (the Wargrave – Club Eights, the Island – Student Eights and the newly-named Prince Philip – Junior Women’s Eights) have all had large and high quality entries.
“Whilst the competition in the Open events is eye-catching, the depth and quality in these women’s events in just their second year is going to be very exciting to watch,” Sir Steve Redgrave said.
Among the leading entries are a unique Polish / Ukraine double in the Stonor Challenge Trophy (Women’s Double Sculls). Poland’s Agnieszka Kobus-Zawojska, a silver medallist in the women’s quadruple sculls in Tokyo, and former European Champion Olena Buriak have been training together since Kobus-Zawojska invited Buriak and her family to stay in Warsaw at the start of the war.
Dmytro Mikhay, Ukraine’s former world champion in the men’s quadruple sculls, will be competing in the Diamond Challenge Sculls (Men’s Single Sculls), for Leander Club.
Apart from the leading crews selected by the Stewards, many of the entries will need to make it through the Qualifying Races on Friday, June 24 on the Course at Henley-on-Thames. Those needing to do so will find out on Sunday, 19 June.
“Many crews are going to be disappointed, but it has long been said that qualifying for the Regatta is a huge achievement in itself and rarely will that have been more true than this year,” Sir Steve Redgrave said.