Course records tumbled on one of the most exciting finals days in the history of Henley Women’s Regatta (HWR) on Sunday 19 June, with records set or bettered in 23 of the 25 events.
Brown University of the USA became the first crew to go under 4 minutes 30 seconds on the 1,500m course on their way to winning the Ron Needs Trophy for championship 8s, beating the University of London by 2 2/3 lengths in 4 minutes, 28.4 seconds.
The trophies were spread across a wide range of clubs from across the UK and the world.
Leander Club won four events, beating Brown University in two events. The Championship Coxless Fours (Sam Courty, Juliette Perry, Issy Powell, Isy Hawes) beat Brown University USA by 3 lengths. The Championship Quadruple Sculls (Rosa Thompson, J Martin, Natasha Harris-White and Anna Grace) beat Brown University by 2/3 length. Championship Double Leander Club/Twickenham beat 2 ½ lengths (Katherine George won with her partner Vwairé Obukohwo of Twickenham RC). Championship Coxless Pair (Annie Campbell-Orde and Sophia Heath) beat Imperial College by 3 lengths.
Henley Rowing Club won two events. Junior 16 Coxed Fours (Ella Dickson, Anna Merritt, Sophia. Spanswick, Emma. Eltze and [Cox] Matilda Ley) beat St Pauls School by 2 lengths. In the Peabody Cup, Junior 8+ Henley Rowing Club (Natalie Schoenmakers, Lucy Jones, Rhiannon Luke, Josie Sawbridge, Ailish Harkin, Pippa Jamieson, Blair Fitzgerald, Laoise O’Donohue and cox Rose McEwen) came from behind in a close race to beat Surbiton by just a canvas.
Shiplake College (Mia Vickerman, Jessica Weir, Scarlett Maleham and Merry Oakes) retained the title in the Bea Langridge Rophy (Junior Quadruple Sculls) beating Wycliffe by 1 length.
Brown was not the only overseas crew to go away with medals. Sydney RC, Australia, defeated the Tideway Scullers School in the final of the Rayner Cup for junior double sculls, while a composite from the Australian National University and Huon RC of Tasmania won the Haslam Trophy for championship lightweight double sculls.
KSRV Njord of the Netherlands won the Cathy Cruickshank Trophy for aspirational academic coxless fours, and the Rosie Mayglothling Trophy for aspirational double sculls also went to the Netherlands as it was won by a duo from DSR Proteus-Eretes and TSR Vidar.
Njord bow seat Mare Schulten said the HWR experience had exceeded expectations. “The racing was great – knock-out races are so different than in the Netherlands where you have six boats in one race,” Schulten said.
The prizes were presented by world and European medallist, Tokyo 2020 Olympian and 2022 Boat Race champion Imogen Grant, who told the winners how much the regatta means to her. “Post-Covid, it just feels like a massive celebration – a festival of women’s rowing,” Grant said.
HWR chairman Naomi Riches said: “The three days of Henley Women’s Regatta have absolutely flown by and we have witnessed some incredible racing. The standard of rowing increases year on year and the huge number of course records this year show just how the our amazing sport is progressing. One of the most exciting things to see this year was the entry of 57 development coxed fours, this really does look positive for the future of women’s rowing. It was a true privilege to watch all this unfold in my first year as chair.”
On Sunday morning, Naomi presented Elise Cope who has looked after the PR and sponsorship for the event, Jo Wilby who has been responsible for suppliers and volunteers and former Chair of the Regatta, Miriam Luke with thank you gifts. She also thanked sponsors and partners including Henley Town Council for their grant which went towards purchasing more racking and buying their own Chairman’s launch.