A Crowded Henley

The ‘Henley Crush’.
The ‘Henley Crush’.

20 June 2016

Tim Koch has been cutting and pasting.

Henley Royal Regatta has put out the following press release. I could change a few words and claim it as my own but I like to give credit where it is due. As a counter to something rather up-to-date for HTBS, I have also included a couple of less contemporary pictures.

2016 Henley Royal Regatta receives a record number of entries underlining its position as the World’s most prestigious regatta 

629 crews have been entered eclipsing the previous record of 552 set in 1998 

International entries have also defied previous records with 165 crews entered for this year’s event against a 2012 high of 133 

27 nations will be competing for honours – another Henley record which overshadows the 2013 best of 22 nations. 

The Glittering Prizes (click to enlarge).
The Glittering Prizes (click to enlarge).

Reigning Olympic Champion Mahe Drysdale (New Zealand) will be looking to make it six wins in The Diamond Challenge Sculls – which will equal Australian Stuart MacKenzie’s record of more than 50 years standing – before he heads off to the Olympics in Rio. However he’ll face stiff competition not least from Dutch sculler Stefan Broenink who came fourth at the last World Cup. 

Other Rio-bound crews honing their preparations at Henley Royal Regatta include the Dutch eight, the winners of the first two World Cup races this year who will contest The Grand Challenge Cup as well as the Dutch pair and the Dutch four. 

With the British Olympic team away on their preparation camp for Rio, there will still be strong representation from GB rowers including the lightweight women’s quad who took the silver medal at last year’s World Championships and contains former World Junior Champion Jess Leyden. 

Henley-on-Thames, May 1944. It seems that you cannot keep Americans and schoolboys away from the famous course, even when racing is suspended ‘for the duration’. Picture: www.vintag.es
Henley-on-Thames, May 1944. It seems that you cannot keep Americans and schoolboys away from the famous course, even when racing is suspended ‘for the duration’. Picture: www.vintag.es

The talented GB double of Jack Beaumont and Nick Middleton continue their development on the international stage competing in The Double Sculls Challenge Cup having made two World Cup finals this year. 

The entire German U23 team will be competing which sets up a number of potential head to heads between Germany and GB crews not least in The Remenham Challenge Cup for women’s eights. 

Dutch club Amsterdamsche Studenten Roeivereeniging Nereus, winners of The Temple Challenge Cup last year, will this year be represented in The Ladies’ Challenge Plate. 

In the school races, Westminster will be looking to avenge their 2015 defeat by St Paul’s who beat them in The Princess Elizabeth Challenge Cup ending their hopes of a triple crown. Westminster will arrive in Henley having already won The Schools’ Head and National Schools’ determined to secure the triple this year. 

Henley 2015, St Paul’s defeat Westminster.
Henley 2015, St Paul’s defeat Westminster.

Claires Court School are also going for the triple this year aiming to add The Fawley Challenge Cup to wins at The Schools’ Head and National Schools’. 

‘I am delighted not only with the number of entries but also the incredibly high standard of crews at every level,’ said Sir Steve Redgrave, five-times Olympic Champion and Chairman of the Committee of Management of the Regatta. 

‘The record entry level reflects the prestigious appeal Henley Royal Regatta holds for rowers at school, club, college, university and international levels. 

‘Personally I am looking forward to seeing the men’s double sculls having seen the GB boys come through the ranks and Jack recently made two World Cup finals in a day after being subbed into the quad and winning a silver. There’s a strong chance they’ll meet the Belgium Lightweight double which will make for an outstanding race. 

‘The Queen Mother Challenge Cup has this year attracted record entries and we’ll have four overseas crews along with four GB crews and some serious competition.’ 

Once again the gladiatorial style of head-to-head races on the famous 1 mile 550 yard-long course will be seen beyond the hundreds of thousands of spectators who line the river bank as every race at the Regatta is live-streamed around the world on the event’s official YouTube channel. 

Harvard, pictured happy at Henley in 2012. In 2016, the Crimsons were not so happy on another Thames River, 3,000 miles away in Connecticut.
Harvard, pictured happy at Henley in 2012. In 2016, the Crimsons were not so happy on another river called Thames, 3,000 miles away in Connecticut.

While HTBS is in contemporary mode, a mention of the 151st Harvard-Yale Boat Race held on Sunday, 12 June is in order. If I point out that the Varsity Race was reported on in depth by the Los Angeles Times and the British Daily Mail (not known for their coverage of any rowing events, let alone obscure ones) you would suspect that either both crews were abducted by aliens or that the race ended in farce. Sadly, it was the non-probe scenario. Yale had established a length lead in the rough conditions when Harvard was swamped and stopped rowing around the mile mark. Yale went onto finish the course and claimed a second victory in two years. Eventually, officials declared the event a ‘no contest’ because a judge had put up a red flag when the incident occurred. Yale coach Steve Gladstone claims that the flag was a mistake and was quoted by the Boston Globe as saying ‘You have to finish the race and we finished the race. You’d much rather have both boats cross the finish line, of course….. But we couldn’t control that in the Yale boat. We agreed to the race. They agreed to the race….’  Harvard coach Charley Butt said to the Globe: ‘In most cases when there’s a misadventure, the boats get back together and they continue the race from the point of the misadventure.’ There is suggestion that the race may be rerun but most consider this unlikely. A committee of race officials will probably either declare Yale the winners or uphold the ‘no contest’ ruling.

The original Yale Bulldog mascot, Handsome Dan I, c.1890.
The original Yale Bulldog mascot, Handsome Dan I, c.1890.

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