Henley Day 3, Friday: Brawn on the 4th July

Yank on Yank action on Independence Day. University of California, Berkley, USA, lead California Rowing Club and New York Athletic Club, USA, in a heat of the Ladies’ (which is not for ladies). The composite’s ‘7’ man was Jamie Koven, who is a Henley Steward.

The press office produced a nice quote from Alex Gregory of the GB Men’s Four:

I’m really looking forward to getting out and racing here. It’s a unique course, there’s nothing like it in the world. There are so many things to contend with – the wind, stream, the wooden booms. If you crash into one of those you’re finished. It’s just quite exciting. Then you have the crowd right on top of you. I’d say that, apart from the Olympics at Dorney Lake, there’s nothing like racing at Henley.

Good links: Rachel Quarrell’s Friday report for the Telegraph is here and the official HRR website has results, and a webcam which refreshes every 15 seconds during racing hours.

This is an edited version of the Friday press release by Caroline Searle:

Olympic single scull Champions Mahe Drysdale and Mirka Knapkova are safely through their first round races at Henley Royal Regatta. New Zealander Drysdale won by an official “easily” verdict over his compatriot George Bridgwater in the Diamond Challenge Sculls – the latter making a comeback after a long lay-off since winning Olympic bronze in another boat class in 2008. In the same event Alan Campbell of Tideway Scullers’ School was amongst the first British squad members to race at this year’s Regatta. The new father – his daughter was born only a couple of weeks ago – won comfortably. He now races the in form Dutchman Roel Braas for the right to face Drysdale or Australian Nick Purnell in Sunday’s final. Knapkova, in the Princess Royal Challenge Cup, was beaten off the start by Gabriella Rodriguez of Marlow Boat Club but caught her swiftly and went on to win by several lengths. Polish Olympic medallist Julia Michalska Plotkowiak, who now lives in London, has also come out of retirement to race here at the 175th Anniversary event and opened her account with a win also in the Princess Royal Challenge Cup.

Alan Campbell of Tideway Scullers’ School (which is actually not a school).

Elsewhere other GB Rowing Team crews from the national squad were in action. The British men’s double sculls of John Collins and Jonny Walton, who won their opening race today, know the Henley Reach stretch of water well as they are from nearby Leander Club.

The British women’s eight, racing as Leander and Imperial College, were not tested by a combined Dutch and British student crew but a development GB crew were not so lucky. They drew the Australian national crew in the opening round and came off second best by over four lengths.

Alan Sinclair and Scott Durant, who are a GB pair, won their opening race against club opposition in the Silver Goblets for men’s pairs. The two GB women’s quads – one open and one lightweight – were scheduled to race in today’s evening session (both won).

Some river traffic not normally found at international regattas.

German crews also had a good day on Henley Reach. They recorded three wins – in the Britannia Challenge Cup against Nottingham R.C, in the Prince of Wales Challenge Cup against local club Henley R.C. and against Molesey B.C. in the Thames Challenge cup.

In the opening race of the morning Zee Club Zürich got the better of Molesey BC in a re-row of their Visitors’ Challenge Cup race from last night which had resulted in a remarkable dead heat. Zee Club went on to race Oklahoma City River Sport in the early evening session. (Oklahoma won).

Here is my more visual coverage of some of Friday’s activities:

Delayre and Azou (European Lwt 2x Champions) of Club France lead Gong and Long of Shanghai Jiao University, China, in the Double Sculls Challenge Cup and won by 3 1/2 lengths.

A sporting gesture from Long to Delayre and Azou. The Frenchmen were approximately 70kgs each, the Chinese were approximately 100kgs and 95kgs.

The Princess Elizabeth (Junior Men’s Eights) always seems to produce good racing. Here Brunswick School, USA, on the left, race Hampton School from near London. They are at the ‘Progress Board’, which is ten strokes from the finish. Hampton had led by a quarter of a length, but they were overtaken at the Mile and only regained the lead in the last few strokes.

Hampton and Brunswick at the finish. I have criticised schoolboys for overacting but I think Hampton’s display may be justified.

Brunswick feel the pain.

Leander catches a crab during its race with Westminster School in the Fawley Challenge Cup (Junior Men’s Quads).

Tideway Scullers’ School’s Britannia Challenge Cup Crew (Club Coxed Fours) prepares to boat. They are led out by Henley Steward, Sir David Wootton, who was the 684th Lord Mayor of London, 2011 – 2012.

Frankfurter Rudergesellschaf Germania Von 1869 E.V., Germany, seem happy with their win over Molesey in a heat of the Thames Cup (Men’s Club Eights).

Gloucester Rowing Club and Northwich Rowing Club winning their heat of the Princess Grace (Women’s Open Quads).

Radley Mariners feel the strain as they lose to Sydney Rowing Club, Australia, in a heat of the ‘Brit’.

More good racing in the Princess Elizabeth. The small St Edward’s School Boat Club (‘Teddies’) convincingly beats the more prestigious (‘Ra, Ra’) Radley Boat Club.

Club France beat Hollandia Roeiclub by 1 1/4 lengths in the Queen Mother Challenge Cup (Men’s Open Quads).

Leander take it home in a heat of the Prince of Wales Challenge Cup (Men’s Intermediate Quads).

A briefing session in the nearest thing to privacy in the boating area.

Umpire Michael Williams flags a clean race.

This swan was removed from the course for his own safety – and because he was not wearing a tie. A former member of Cygnet Rowing Club?

The evening shadows lengthen as the day draws to an end.

Today’s ‘Drink Of The Day’ is Pimm’s, the quintessential Henley Royal Regatta libation.

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