Tim Koch reports from England:
Uniquely in the international rowing scene, Henley Royal Regatta does not operate under the rules of the international governing body, FISA, or of the British governing body, British Rowing, as it existed long before these young upstarts came into being. Thus, in an Olympic year, it finds itself outside of the run up to the big event. ‘The Royal’ is not especially put out by this and strives to put on the best show it can. Thus, 2012 saw a large turnout of Under 23s, lightweights, development crews and those who had missed Olympic selection, many aware that this could be their best chance of winning at such a prestigious regatta. There was only one crew competing that was bound for the Olympics, the German Women’s Eight.
The very strong stream caused by the land water from recent heavy rain and frequent headwinds gave the lightweight rowers and scullers and the new junior women’s quad event a hard time and no course records were broken. More importantly the stream made things very difficult for those on the ‘Bucks’ (town side) station in the later stages of the race. For the spectators the weather conditions were more benign than conditions preceding the Regatta had threatened.
There was an entry of 499 with 133 crews and scullers from overseas. Taking a parochial view of the Regatta, ten of the twenty trophies went abroad. This is no reflection on the state of British rowing. With the old country competing in 13 of the 14 events at Dorney, the cream of British rowing is in pre-Olympic training.
Here is a round up of Sunday’s finals with apologies to those I have not pictured, this is not a reflection of your efforts.
Men’s Open Events
The Grand Challenge Cup (8+): California R.C, U.S.A. beat Brown University, U.S.A., by 1 ¼ lengths.
The Stewards’ Challenge Cup (4-): National Rowing Centre of Excellence ‘A’, Australia, beat Waiariki Rowing Club, New Zealand, by 2/3 length.
The Queen Mother Challenge Cup (4x): N.R.C.E, Australia, beat Victoria City Rowing Club, Canada, by 1 ½ lengths.
The Silver Goblets and Nickalls’ Challenge Cup (2-): Minola and Lang, France, beat Christomanos and Lampridis, Greece, easily. (Photograph & copyright: Hélène Rémond)
The Double Sculls Challenge Cup (2x): Collins and Sinclair, Leander Club, beat Berntsen and Grepperud, Norway, by 4 ¼ lengths.
The Diamond Challenge Sculls (1x): Lambert, South Africa, beat Collins, Agecroft R.C. by 3 ¼ lengths.
Women’s Open Events
The Remenham Challenge Cup (8+): Western R.C, Canada, beat Dortmund Rowing Center, Germany, by 2 lengths.
The Princess Grace Challenge Cup (4x): N.R.C.E, Australia, beat Hollandia Roeiclub, Holland, easily.
The Princess Royal Challenge Cup (1x): Isolda Penney, Canada, beat Pajusalu, Estonia, easily.
Men’s Intermediate Events
The Ladies’ Challenge Plate (8+): Harvard University, USA, beat Leander Club, by 1 foot.
The 1 Mile marker in the background shows that at that point, Leander had a clear water lead over Harvard. The 1 1/8 Mile marker in the foreground shows that at that point Leander’s lead had been reduced to 1/3 of a length.
Passing the Progress Board. With less than ten strokes to go, Leander still lead.
The boats cross the line. Leander’s rowing became increasingly ineffective towards the end – had they let Harvard through?
Harvard number 3, DiSanto, is confident that they won.
The Leander cox raises her hand to speak to the Umpire.
A photo-finish gave it to Harvard by one foot in the fastest time of the day.
The legendary Harry Parker, Harvard coach for fifty years. It was his 11th Henley win. I have no knowledge as to the current state of Harry’s health but he looked well to me. In his speech, Henley Chairman Mike Sweeney paid tribute to Harry’s semi-centenary and the crowd responded warmly to the sentiment. I witnessed a most telling incident which showed the respect and affection with which Coach Parker is held. A very senior Steward of the Regatta, a man who is the epitome of the British ‘stiff upper lip’, greeted Harry with a spontaneous hug. You have to be very special for an Englishman of this gentleman’s age and class to act like this.
Three Britons were in the Harvard boat including stroke Patrick Lapage. He was watched by his grandfather, Michael, who rowed at Henley in the 1948 Olympics. HTBS has previously written about the rowing Lapages.
The Visitors’ Challenge Cup (4-): Oxford Brooks University and Molesey B.C. beat Amsterdamsche Studenten Roeivereeniging Nereus, Holland, easily.
The Prince of Wales Challenge Cup (4x): Leander Club beat Durham University and University of London, by 2 ¼ lengths.
Men’s Club Events
The Thames Challenge Cup (8+): Molesey B.C. beat Thames R.C. ‘A’ by 2 lengths.
The Wyfold Challenge Cup (4-): Nottingham R.C. ‘A’ beat ANA Rowing Club, Australia, by 2 lengths.
The Britannia Challenge Cup (4+): Star Club beat Taurus B.C. by 3 feet.
Men’s Student Events
The Temple Challenge Cup (8+): University of Washington, U.S.A. beat Brown University, U.S.A., by 3 lengths.
The Prince Albert Challenge Cup (4+): University of London ‘A’ beat Newcastle University by ¾ length.
Men’s Junior Events
The Princess Elizabeth Challenge Cup (8+): Abingdon School beat Radley College by ¾ length.
The Fawley Challenge Cup (4x): Sir William Borlase’s Grammar School beat Marlow R.C. ‘A’ by ¾ length.
Women’s Junior Event
Junior Women’s Quadruple Sculls (4x): Henley R.C. beat Canford School by 2 ½ lengths.
Finally, a shock result – HTBS mixed pair wins Grand Challenge Cup!
(Photographs & copyright: Tim Koch, unless otherwise noted)