Tim Koch writes about this year’s Henley Women’s Regatta:
Goldilocks would have liked the finals day of the 2015 Henley Women’s Regatta. The first day, Friday, was too hot and the end of the second day, Saturday, was too wet – but Sunday was ‘just right’ with good conditions for competitors and spectators alike. Twenty-eight one-on-one, first-past-the-post finals produced the predictable mixture of elation and disappointment that the conclusion of any such long anticipated contest brings, especially for those finalists who had travelled from overseas. Three crews had come from the United States and one each from New Zealand, the Netherlands and Norway. Sadly, those who had made the trip from Australia, Canada, Belgium and Israel had been knocked out earlier. Ultimately though, only one trophy went abroad when Stanford University from California beat Leander by a canvas in the elite quadruple sculls. Two-and-a-half hours earlier, Leander’s elite double scull had also lost, this time to a Reading University/Sport Imperial composite. Both of the Pink Palace crews contained Debbie Flood, the 35-year-old double Olympic silver medalist, and lightweight Francesca Rawlins. The host town’s honour was salvaged by Henley Rowing Club who reached four finals and won three. Perhaps the most thrilling race of the day was in the Junior Single Sculls where Lucy Glover of Warrington beat Robyn Armstrong of Bedford Girls School by one foot.
The Blue Riband event, the elite eights, saw a crew containing all but two of Oxford’s victorious 2015 Boat Race crew (including U.S. two times Olympic gold medalist, Caryn Davies) beat Brown University from Rhode Island, USA, by a convincing 1 1/2 lengths. Some would argue that the most prestigious win should in fact be elite singles, in which case the honour would go to Laura Wheeler of Nottingham RC who won by four lengths. Her next races are the Princess Royal at Henley Royal and the prestigious Dutch event, Holland Beker. There was a dramatic end to the Senior Eights race in which Oxford Brooks beat A.A.S.R. Skoll by half a length. The bow rower of the losing Dutch boat collapsed after crossing the line and was hastily taken away by a rescue launch. She later recovered satisfactorily. There was more excitement of the unwelcome kind when a hired motor boat entered the course from a gap in the booms and started to head down the racing lane towards an oncoming event. Fortunately the racing boats were still a few minutes away and the oblivious day-trippers were directed to leave whence they came, perhaps unaware that they had nearly received the twenty-ninth prize of the day – the Darwin Award.
Apologies to those that I failed to photograph:
E4- CUWBC /NEW/BAU bt Brown Uni BC USA 05:04 Easily
E.2- Norske Studenters/Durham Uni bt Tees/Newcastle Uni 05:32 3L
TA.1x Cantabrigian-Connon bt Sudbury RC-Brown 04:42 Easily
Photography © Tim Koch