Fatsculler’s Henley Preview part 1: The Open Events
It’s that time again, its Henley time! Woo hoo….the best regatta in the world. So that means it’s also time for my “world famous” entries preview.
This year’s regatta sees a record-breaking entry of 660 crews entered for 340 places. However, behind the headlines the entries in some events (particularly The Grand, Stewards and Queen Mother) are disappointingly small. There’s also an extra, special event this year – The King’s Cup (but more on that later).
So, without further ado here are my thoughts on the entries for the Open events.
The Grand Challenge Cup
Holders: Georgina Hope Rinehart National Training Centre, Australia
Entries: 2 (2018: 3)
A straight final between Great Britain (racing as Oxford Brookes University and Leander Club) and New Zealand (Waiariki rowing Club, New Zealand). This promises to be a really interesting contest. The Brookes/Leander boat is the no.1 men’s boat for Great Britain and includes Olympic champion Moe Sbihi. Chief Coach Juergen Grobler, has slowly been building this crew throughout the Olympiad. 2017 saw them miss the A-final at the World Championships, then in 2018 they took the bronze medal. So far this season they have raced at the European Championships and stepped up one place to take the silver. With the trajectory they are on, and with potentially stronger athletes to come in, they are looking strong contenders for gold come the World Championships in Linz.
There has been a huge amount of anticipation and expectation on the New Zealand men’s 8, principally as the crew includes two of the biggest names in world rowing, Hamish Bond and Mahe Drysdale. Both of these men are familiar with the delights of racing at Henley, Drysdale has 6 wins in the Diamonds (and is also trying for a 7ththis year) ,Bond has three Silver Goblets wins to his name and returned to the sport of rowing after a couple of years on the New Zealand cycling team. The New Zealand M8 is another project that has had a fairly long gestation. 6that the Rio Olympics they had a disastrous end to the 2018 when they finished last at the World Championships. But, the addition of Drysdale and Bond has reinvigorated the Kiwis and their first test is at the Poznan World Cup this weekend. At the time of writing they have reached the A-Final by finishing 3rdin the Rep with the British qualifying direct by winning their heat.
Verdict: should be a good race, but I’m giving to the British by a length.
The Remenham Challenge Cup
Holders: Georgina Hope Rinehart National Training Centre, Australia
Entries: 16 (2018:19)
To be reduced to 12 entries by qualifying races
This has the makings of a three-way battle between the national women’s crews from Great Britain, The Netherlands and New Zealand.
Great Britain (Imperial College London and Leander Club) have a couple of survivors from the crew that won silver at the Rio Olympics (Zoe Lee and Karen Bennett. Like the GB Men’s 8, this crew has been a work-in-progress for the past few years. They have been consistently in the A-Final at the World Championships, although not among the medals. This season they’ve made a good start, taking the silver medal at the European Championships just 0.6sec behind Romania. At the Poznan World Cup this weekend they finished in a solid bronze medal position behind Australia and the USA. It’s been 5 years since a British crew has won this event, but this year’s British squad will be fancying their chances.
New Zealand (Waiariki Rowing Club), last won this event in 2017. The line-up listed for Henley is slightly different to that racing at the Poznan World Cup this weekend with the NZL W2- of Kerri Gowler and Grace Prendergast coming in in place of Ruby Tew and Kristyn Goodger. Prendergast and Gowler (the 2017 W2- World Champions) are also doubling-up in the Hambleden Pairs.
The Netherlands (Hollandia Roeiclub, Holland) are yet to win this event, but have been finalists twice (losing to Princeton Training Center in 2006 and Leander and Imperial College in 2014). At the 2018 World Championships they finished 4thand so far this season they’ve raced once at the European Championships finishing 4thout of the 4 entries.
Germany are represented by a crew from Crefelder Ruderclub 1883 E.V and Kettwigger Rudergesellchaft E.V. This is a strong crew made up of recent U23 internationals, including 2017 bronze medallist Leonie Neuhaus.
University of London and Molesey Boat Club is the GB development crew which includes last year’s Hambleden Pairs winner Heidi Long (who went on to win silver at the U23 World Championships and now studies at the University of Virginia). Also in the crew is former senior international Georgia Francis, and Leander athlete Natasha Harris-White, a gold medallist in the W8 at the FISU Championships last year. They raced in Championship 8’s at Henley Women’s Regatta beating DSRV Laga in the final.
Thames Rowing Club have a long tradition in this event and were winners back in 2005. This year’s crew have been racing domestically and were winners at Wallingford Regatta and finished 2ndat the Metropolitan Regatta. At Henley Women’s Regatta they won the Aspirational Clubs division defeating City of Bristol in the final.
Oxford Brookes University are the dominant force in men’s rowing, but in the Women’s, things are a little tighter. This crew finished 3rdat the BUCS Regatta and then finished 2ndat the Metropolitan Regatta. At Henley Women’s they raced in the Aspirational Academic 8’s category beating Newcastle University in the final.
The Tideway Scullers School and Imperial College includes six of the Tideway Scullers crew that won silver in Ghent and followed that with a bronze at the Metropolitan Regatta. They are joined by three members of the Imperial College crew that finished 6that the BUCS Regatta.
There are two student crews from The Netherlands, Amsterdamsche Studenten Roeivereening Nereus and Utrechtsche Studenten, and Roeivereening Studenten Vreie Universitiet Okeanos and Roeivereening Willem III.
The Nereus/Utrecht combination raced at the Bosbaan Regatta at the beginning of June finishing 3rd. Last weekend they competed at the RaceRoei Regatta placing 5th.
The Okeanos/Willem III crew also raced at the RaceRoei Regatta and finished 1 place higher than they compatriots. Qualifying between these two should be very competitive.
University College Dublin will have their work cut out to qualify, this crew raced at the recent Irish University Championships finishing 4thin the Intermediate 8’s.
Also hoping to qualify for the main draw are Edinburgh University (who lost in the 1stRound as Aspirational Academic 8’s at Henley Women’s Regatta), Headington School, Oxford (which includes former GB international Katie Greves), Exeter University, The Lea (who finished 5that the Metropolitan Regatta) and Molesey Boat Club (5that the Ghent Regatta).
My picks…..The GB women put on a good performance at the World Cup, defeating the Kiwis, and they beat the Dutch at the European Championships. So, they will be heading into Henley as marginal favourites. But it’ll be interesting to see who they face in the final.
The Stewards Challenge Cup
Holders: Leander Club
Entries: 2 (2018: 2)
An all British affair. This sees the no.1 and no.2 Great Britain men’s fours face each other. The number one crew, racing as Oxford Brookes University and Leander Club is Sholto Carnegie, Rory Gibbs, Matt Rossiter and Ollie Cook. This was a new combination put together at the start of the season. Things looked positive in their first outing, winning at the Wedau Regatta. At the European Championships they really laid down a marker taking the gold medal. At the Poznan World Cup however they didn’t quite fire allowing the rest of the to get the jump on them, ending up 4th.
The 2ndGB boat are racing as Leander Club. Will Satch, Al Sinclair, Adam Neill and Tom Jeffery. Olympic champion Satch and fellow Olympian Sinclair, are both returning from injury so are certainly not at full throttle. They raced at the Poznan World Cup as GBR2 finishing 6thin the B-Final.
Based on these results alone it should be a comfortable win for the A crew.
The Town Challenge Cup
Holders: University of London & Leander Club
Entries: 19 (2018: 15)
To be reduced to 8 by Qualifying Races.
Five crews have been pre-qualified, all of them National team crews. First up are the Chinese National Rowing Team. It’s no surprise that China have come to Henley in force, given the Chairman of the Regatta is also the Director of Coaching of the Chinese Rowing Federation….a certain Sir Steve Redgrave! This Chinese boat will probably start as favourites. The crew of Zifeng Wang, Xingye Xu, Min Zhang and Fei Wang. were bronze medallists at the 1stWorld Cup in Plovdiv, they have a mix of youth and experience with the 20-year-old Zeifang Wang and Xingue Xu joining the more experienced Min Zhang and Fei Wang. Min Zhang and Fei Wang raced in this boat class at the 2018 Worlds finishing 6th. Xu raced in the W8 last season and Zeifang Wang won bronze in the U23 BW4- in 2018. At the Poznan World Cup they had a great race against a strong Danish four, just being pipped to the gold medal.
The Dutch have two crews entered, both racing as Hollandia Roeiclub, Holland. The A Crew is the current Dutch W4-, Ellen Hogerwerf, Karolien Florijn, Ymke Clevering & Veronique Meester. They’ve had an excellent start to the 2019 season, winning at the 1stWorld Cup and then taking gold at the European Championships. Hogerwerf is the most experienced of the quartet having been a member of the Dutch W8 at the Rio Olympics.
The 2ndDutch crew are doubling-up in the Remenham as part of the W8, Kirsten Wielard, Marloes Oldenburg, Lies Rustenburg and Monica Lanz. Stern pair Rustenburg and Lanz were both member of the Dutch Olympic W8 that finished 6thin Rio. More recently they’ve been racing in the W8 that finished 4thin the world last year and then 4that the European Championships.
There are also to British squad boats racing, Leander Club and Molesey and Leander Club and the University of London. The Leander/Molesey crew are the current GB W4-, Sara Parfett, Caragh McMurtry, Rebecca Girling and Emily Ford. Parfett and McMurtry were in the W4- that finished 7that the World Championships last year and this season they have been joined by Girling and Ford who raced in the W8 at the Worlds. Their 2019 season has got off to a solid, if unspectacular, start. At the European Championships they reached the A-Final finishing 6th, 13 seconds behind the top Dutch crew in gold. At the Poznan World Cup (in a much stronger field) they raced well in reaching the A-Final, but were again some way off the medal placings. But, it was an encouraging performance against some quality opposition. They’ll be relishing the opportunity to take on the Dutch and Chinese in a match racing format.
The Leander/UL quartet includes three of the crew that raced as GBR2 at the Poznan World Cup, Sam Courty, Holly Hill and Annie Withers. At Poznan they raced with former World Champion, Polly Swann, and took 7thoverall. For Henley Swann is replaced by Oonagh Cousins. She made her senior international debut in Poznan racing in the W2- that finished 21stoverall. Courty and Withers raced as the GB W2- at the European Championship this season, finishing 6th, and Holly Hill was part of the W2- that just missed the medals at the 2017 World Championships.
The remaining 14 crews are all vying for the remaining 3 spots and will have to race at the Qualifiers on Friday. There’s one overseas crew involved in Qualifiers, Amsterdamschie Studenten Roeivereenniging Nereus and Roeivereeniging Studenten Vreie. This is a Dutch development crew with Hijleke Nauta, Trinka Offereins, Kim Janssen and Miriam Visser. As a crew they won at the Bosbaan Regatta at the beginning of June and then raced at the Poznan World Cup where they finished 14th. Nauta and Visser were both members of the U23 BW8 that won silver at last year’s U23 World Championships.
The University of London have two crews entered and they will have high hopes of qualifying their top boat. In this crew are Georgina Robinson, Issie Powell, Emily Lindberg and Alice Davies. All four have represented Great Britain in some form or other. Robinson sculled at the youth Olympics last year and Davies and Powell have both raced at the U23 World Championships. As a crew they won the Championship coxed Fours at BUCS and then won the coxless fours at the Metropolitan Regatta at Dorney Lake. At Henley Women’s Regatta they lost narrowly to a crew from Edinburgh University. UL’s 2ndcrew of Dyke, Pierce, Milborne and Lovett may struggle to get in the top three at qualifiers. They raced in the Aspirational Academic division at Henley Women’s losing in the semi-finals to Glasgow University.
As well as their two national squad composite boats, Leander Club have a full entry of their own. The crew of Rachel Heap, Charlotte Fennell, Molly Caesar and Juliette Perry are all U23’s and part of the Leander development squad. They raced in the Championship 4-‘s at Henley Women’s Regatta losing to a crew from the US Naval Academy in the 2ndround.
Cambridge University Women’s Boat Club have a crew which includes three of this year’s victorious Blue Boat, Lily Lindsay, Kate Horvat and Sophie Deans. They are joined by Blondie oarswoman Adriana Perez Rotondo. During the regatta season this crew (with Larkin Sayre racing instead of Sophie Deans) won Champ 4-‘s at the BUCS Regatta.
Not to be outdone by their Light Blue rivals, Oxford University Women’s Boat Club have also got an entry in this event. Their crew are all from this year’s losing Blue Boat; Amelia Standing, Renee Koolschijn, Tina Christmann and Beth Bridgman. They raced at Henley Women’s coming up against the US Naval Academy in the first round of Champ 4-.
Newcastle University have been the top women’s University 8 this season. They won at BUCS, at the Metropolitan Regatta. They were unlucky to come up against an outstanding Dutch crew from Laga early on at Henley Women’s. They’ve taken three members of that crew, Hannah Cowie, Kate Wooley and Frances Russell and moved into the 4- for Henley Royal. The fourth member of the crew is Anna Van Den Braak who was in the Aspirational Academic W8 that reached the final at Henley Women’s.
Thames Rowing Club and Tideway Scullers School have been racing each other all season. It came to a head in a dramatic final of Aspirational Club 4-‘s at Henley Women’s Regatta. Despite severe clashes just after the start, the two crews recovered and raced neck and neck down the course only for the umpire to disqualify Thames at the finish.
My picks….I’m expecting a China v Holland final, with the Chinese getting the win.
The Queen Mother Challenge Cup
Holders: Leander Club and Agecroft Rowing Club
Entries: 2 (2018:2)
Another Open event with a straight final (for the 3rdyear in a row). This year sees the Great Britain men’s quad (racing as Leander Club) take on a crew from Frankfurter Rudergesellschaft Germania 1869 E.V, Germany. 2019 marks a special year for Frankfurt as it’s their 200thanniversary, an event which is being marked at the Regatta with a row past during the tea interval on Saturday.
The Leander crew; Jack Beaumont, Angus Groom, Jonny Walton & Pete Lambert are some of the most experienced members of the GB squad, with all four of them having raced at the Olympics. They’ve had a mixed season so far this year, a bronze medal at the. Europeans was followed by a disappointing 5that the Poznan World Cup.
The Frankfurt crew are lightweights, Sven Kessler, Johannes Ursprung, Julian Schneider and Johannes Birkhan. Kessler is the most experienced of the quartet, and is a world champion in the LM8 from 2014. He was the Lightweight spare for the 2016 Olympics and then won bronze in the LM4- in 2017. Ursrung is another lightweight world champion, having taken gold in the LW4X at the 2017 Worlds. Schneider is a two-time U23 medallist and Birkhan has won a number of medals at the German Sprint Championships.
Verdict: this should be a comfortable win for Leander
The Princess Grace Challenge Cup
Holders: Cambridge University Women’s Boat Club and Imperial College London
Entries: 17 (2018: 17)
To be reduced to 8 by qualifying races.
Of the 17 entries only 3 have been pre-qualified and they are the national squad crews from Great Britain, China and The Netherlands. The remaining 14 crews will be battling it out for the last 5 spots.
The Great Britain crew (racing as Cambridge University Women’s Boat Club and Reading Rowing Club), are Jess Leyden, Melissa Wilson, and the Hodgkins-Byrne sisters, Mathilda and Charlotte. The GB W4X has for some time been something of a “problem child” for the British team, it was the only crew boat not to qualify for the Rio Olympics and failed to make the A Final at any World Championships during that Olympiad. But, so far in the Tokyo Olympiad things are definitely improving, and in 2017 GB took bronze at the World Championships (their first medal since 2010). This year’s crew is looking very strong and made a solid start to their 2019 season with a 5thplace at the European Championships.
The Chinese National Rowing Team look like the crew to beat this season. Their crew of Yunxia Chen, Ling Zhang, Yang Liu and Xiaotong Cui produced a masterful performance at the Poznan World Cup, destroying the rest of the field to win by 4 seconds. They also won at the first World Cup and will be heading towards the World Championships as favourites. Ling Zhang and Yang Lyu both raced at the Rio Olympics (Zhang coming 6thin the W4X and Lyu 11thin the W2X).
The Netherlands (racing as Hollandia Roeiclub, Holland) are one of the strongest nations in this boat class in recent years, they’ve made the podium at every World Championships since 2015 and are Olympic silver medallists. Their crew for Henley is Roos De Jong, Inge Janssen, Sophie Souwer and Olivia Van Rooijen. Only Janssen remains from the Olympic silver medal crew, but Souwer and Van Rooijen both rowed in the Olympic W8 in Rio before moving across to the quad in 2017. So far this season they’ve made an impressive start to their season, taking silver behind the Chinese at the first World Cup and another silver behind the Germans at the Europeans.
Of the crews required to qualify, there are two entries from Dutch student clubs, the pick of which looks to be Amsterdamsche Studenten Roeivereeniging Nereus and Koninklijke Studenten. This crew contains three of the 2018 U23 BW4X silver medallists, Martine Van den Boomgaard, Minke Holleboom & Mieke Wilms. The fourth member of the crew is former U23 international Margriet Lantink. They raced at the Raceroei Regatta earlier this month finishing 3rdbehind the Dutch senior and U23 quads.
The 2ndDutch crew aiming for qualification are Algemene Amsterdamsche Studenten Roeivereerniging Skøll. They finished 2ndat the Bosbaan Regatta and then 5that the RaceRoei.
There are two entries from the USA. Advanced Rowing Initiative of the Northeast are a division of the Saratoga Rowing Association and is used as a development pathway for the US national team. Their crew are Kara Soucek, Maureen Mcauliffe, Kristi Wagner and Lily Keane. Soucek and Mcauliffe already have senior representative honours to their credit having raced in the US W4X at the 2018 World Championships finishing 6th. Mcauliffe also teamed up with Keane to win the Champ W2X at the Head of The Charles and Wagner has a winner’s medal from Canadian Henley. At the recent US trials Keane and Wagner finished 3rdin the W2X.
The second US entry are Community Rowing, Boston. His crew is led by 2015 World Champion and Rio Olympian, Grace Luczak. She’s joined by Sera Bulbul, a Swiss national who was a member of the Yale University Varsity 4 that won the Ivy League Championships. Also in the crew is U23 international Sydney Michalak and University of Michigan student Meaghan Faucher (who stroked the Michigan 1stVarsity 8 throughout the 2018-19 season.
Among the domestic crews trying to qualify, the University of London and The Tideway Scullers School composite stand out. They were winners of W4X on the Sunday of Metropolitan Regatta and then runners-up at Henley Women’s Regatta to a GB U23 composite, and the crew includes two former GB senior lightweight internationals, Fran Rawlins and Robyn Hart-Winks. They are joined by Katy Wilkinson, who sculled for GB at the European U23’s and Ros Wilson, a former Henley Women’s semi-finalist and GB trialist.
Molesey Boat Club (Emma McDonald, Lucy Primmer, Xanthe Weatherhead and Gabby Rodriguez) were winners at Ghent Regatta. At Henley Women’s Regatta they lost to the UL/TSS composite in the 2ndround.
Leander Club also raced at Henley Women’s Regatta, losing to the U23 composite in the 2ndRound. Leander have Anna Porteous, Emily Ashford, Emily Carmichael and Lucy Meridew. Porteous is a graduate of the University of Washington and was in the crew that won the Pac-12 Championships. Both Ashford and Carmichael have represented Great Britain at senior level, Ashford in the W4- at the 2018 World championships and Carmichael in the W2X at the 2017 Europeans.
My picks. This should be a good contest between the three International squad crews. China did look very, very good at the Poznan World Cup. I’ll pick them for the win.
The Double Sculls Challenge Cup
Holders: A.J. Groom & J.R.A Beaumont, Leander Club
Entries: 23 (2018: 17)
To be reduced to 12 by qualifying races
There are four senior international crews entered in this event, those from Great Britain, New Zealand, Argentina and Zimbabwe
The Great Britain double are John Collins and Graeme Thomas (racing as Leander Club and Agecroft Rowing Club). This duo have been members of the GB team for the last 7-8 years and have a host of world Cup and World Championship medals between them. They formed a new double at the start of the season placing 4thin their first competition together at the Europeans. At the Poznan World Cup they had a superb race, just being overhauled by the Swiss in the final 100 metres ending up with the silver medal.
Racing as Waiariki Rowing Club, New Zealand, John Storey and Chris Harris. They are a highly experienced duo, both of whom raced at both the London and Rio Olympics. They formed a double in 2017, going unbeaten throughout the season, winning this event and taking World Championship gold. They’ve been less dominant since, taking bronze at the 2018 World Championships and then slipping back into the C Final in their first outing of the 2019 season in Poznan.
The Argentinian double of Rodrigo Murillo and Cristian Rosso are racing as Club San Fernando and Club De Remo Atlantis. They have been racing together as a double since 2015. They finished 13thin 2017 and at the Poznan World Cup this season they finished 16th.
Racing as Molesey Boat Club are the Zimbabwean duo of Stephen Cox and Peter Purcell-Gilpin. They raced together at the 2018 World Championships placing 2ndin the D-Final (20thoverall). They raced at the 1stWorld Cup finishing 11thout of 12 crews
For the first time at Henley Regatta there is an entry from Saudi-Arabia with Moe Hadhrawi and Sultan Alshali (Saudi Rowing Federation, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia). The Stewards have ensured that the Saudi’s have a boat in the draw as they have pre-qualified this crew. They raced at Marlow Regatta (competing as Dorney Boat Club), finishing 10thin the Champ 2X. The crew are coached by legendary Tideway Scullers coach Bill Barry (now chief coach for the Saudi Rowing Federation).
A win at Marlow Regatta secured David Potter and Alex Adrienne from De Montfort University pre-qualification. The result at Marlow was a great step on for this double, who placed 5that BUCS earlier in the season.
Another crew excused the perils of Qualifying are Artym Hayda and Hector Formoso-Murias from Georgetown University, USA. They are both members of the Georgetown Lightweight programme. Formoso-Murias raced for the USA at the U23 World Championships in 2015, finishing 14th. Hayda is a two-time US Junior sculling champion, and rowed in the Georgetown Lightweight Varsity 8 that won the Petite final at the IRA Championships this season.
2ndin Champ 2X at Marlow Regatta were Matt Cummings and Zack Youell of Thames Rowing Club. So far this season they’ve taken wins at Wallingford Regatta and on the Sunday of the Metropolitan Regatta taking the win in Open 2X.
John Heuchan and Ben Parsonage (Strathclyde Park Rowing Club and Strathclyde University) were runners-up at the Scottish Championships this season. In 2018 they both represented Scotland at the Home International Regatta in Cork, taking the win in the M2X.
Nathan Hull and Ollie Dix (Queen’s University Belfast & Leander Club) both raced at the final GB trials in April finishing 15thand 14threspectively. They are both still U23, Hull raced at the European Universities championships finishing 5thin the M2X. Dix raced at the European Universities Championships the previous year, finishing 7thin the M1X, he was also a member of the Leander M4X that won the British Championships.
3rdplace at Marlow were James Scott and Tom Foster (Upper Thames Rowing Club and Sabrina Club). Foster was an Oxford triallist in 2017, racing as Isis at the Head of the River Fours. He went on to race for his College in the Visitors losing to a strong Leander crew. Scott is a former GB Trialist, and finalist at Marlow Regatta in the 1X in the previous few years.
My picks…this should come down to a battle between Great Britain and New Zealand. Based on form so far this season, you’d have to give it to the home crew.
The Stonor Challenge Trophy
Holders: C Hodgkins-Byrne & A Thornton, University of London and Nottingham Rowing Club
Entries: 17 (2018: 13)
To be reduced to 8 by qualifying races
Six crews have been pre-Qualified by the Stewards, they are then national teams from Germany, China and two each from The Netherlands and New Zealand.
Favourites will be the no.1 New Zealand crew of Brooke Donoghue and Olivia Loe (racing as Waiariki Rowing Club crew 595). They won this event when it was introduced in 2017. Their partnership in the double started at the beginning of the 2017 season and they went unbeaten throughout 2017 winning the World Championships in Florida. They started 2018 as they left off, with wins at both the 2ndand 3rdWorld Cups. But, at the 2018 World Championships they suffered their first defeat when they were beaten to the gold medal by the Lithuanians. They started the 2019 season in impressive style winning at the Poznan World Cup.
The no.2 New Zealand Boat (also racing as Waiariki Rowing Club crew 603) are Hannah Osborne and Samantha Voss. Osborne filled the W1X slot post-Rio and Voss made her senior debut at the Poznan World Cup, as the reigning U23 BW1X World Champion. They were slated to race as a Double at Poznan but withdrew due to illness to Osborne. Voss then raced in the W1X finishing 8th.
The German entry, (Heilbronner Rudergesellschaft Schwaben v. 1879 e.V. and Ruderklub am Wannsee, Berlin) has the experienced international pairing of Carina Baer and Julia Richter. They were both members of the W4X that won silver at the London Olympics, Baer went on to win gold in the quad in Rio. They both have a host of European Championship, World Championship and World Cup medals between them.
The Netherlands entry (Hollandia Roeiclub, Holland crew 599) are the reigning World Championship bronze medallists, Marieke Keijser and Isle Paulis. Paulis won gold in the LW2X at the Rio Olympics with Keijser winning U23 gold that year. They formed a partnership in 2017, winning silver at the Europeans and gold a year later. One of the great things about Henley is the opportunity to see the top Lightweights mix it with the open-weights.
The 2ndDutch entry (also Hollandia Roeiclub, Holland crew 605) look to be a new W2X combination with Lisa Scheenaard and Nicole Beukers. Beukers was in the W4X that won silver at the Rio Olympics and last raced at the World’s in 2018taking the bronze. Scheenaard raced in the W2X last year with Roos De Jong, finishing 5th. So far this season she’s been racing in the W1X (and is doubling-up at Henley in the Princess Royal) winning in Plovdiv and finishing 6that the Europeans.
The final pre-qualified crew are from the Chinese National Rowing Team with Shiyu Wu and Yuwei Wang. They made a strong start to the 2019 season taking the win at the 1stWorld Cup. 20-year-old Lu made her senior debut last year and her gold in Plovdiv marked her first medal (and first A-Final) as a senior athlete. Wang is far more experienced having made her senior debut in 2014. She raced in the W4X at the Rio Olympics and then finished 4that the 2018 World Championships. At the 2ndWorld Cup in Poznan they placed 5th.
The remaining 11 crews are vying for just 2 remaining spots.
One of the strongest contenders will be Leander Club, Beth Bryan and Katy Maitland. This duo won The W Peer Cup at Henley Women’s Regatta this year. Bryan is a former GB international and won bronze in the W4X at the 2018 World Championships. Maitland is a graduate of Duke University competing at the NCAA Championships.
Reading University and Newcastle University look to be a potential U23 or EUSA LW2X crew with Chloe Knight and Fiona Chestnutt. Knight (from Reading) won Champ 2X and Champ W4X at BUCS (with Chestnutt in the crew that finished 2nd). At the GB final trials they were the top 2 U23 lightweights.
An exciting young crew, and the potential GB JW2X, are Lauren Henry and Olivia Morgan (Leicester Rowing Club and Shiplake College).They won Rosie Mayglothing Bowl for Aspirational 2X at Henley Women’s Regatta. Earlier this season they won gold at the Munich Junior Regatta. At the National Schools Regatta at the end of May they finished 2ndand 3rdin Champ Girls 1X.
There are three foreign crews that are required to qualify, two from Club NatacióBanyoles, Spain with M Gomez and M Marcado in the no.1 crew and m Montanez and L Lopez in the 2nd. I must admit I no almost nothing about these two boats. I’m also a little in the dark about the 3rdinternational crew required to qualify, X Pan and Q Wen from Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China.
My pick…..hard to look beyond Donoghue and Loe, but there should be some cracking racing.
The Silver Goblets & Nickalls’ Challenge Cup.
Holders: M. Sinkovic & V. Sinkovic, Croatia
Entries: 10 (2018:18)
A relatively weak field compared to previous years, with three national team pairs from Argentina, Ireland and the Netherlands.
The pair from Argentina (racing as Club San Fernando and Club De Remo Teutonia)are Ivan Carino and Francisco Esteras. They raced as ARG1 at the Poznan World Cup finishing 18th
Ireland have the World Champion LM2- turned heavyweight M2- with Shane O’Driscoll and Mark O’Donovan (Skibbereen Rowing Club). They dominated the LM2- event throughout 2017, winning the Europeans, two World Cups and the World Championships. In 2018 they made the decision to step up to the heavyweight division to try and qualify for the Tokyo Olympics. They ended the season with a 16thplace at the World Championships. Henley is their first outing of the season.
The Dutch (Hollandia Roeiclub, Holland) sees Mitchell Steenman joined by Michiel Oyen. Steenman won this event in 2014 (with Julien Bahain) and 2016 (with Roel Braas – with whom he went on to race at the Rio Olympics). Oyen was U23 World Champion in 2017 and raced at all three World Cups last year. This season he and Steenman have been racing in the M4-, finishing 12that the European Championships.
There’s a distinctly antipodean slant to the Yale University pair of Daniel Williamson and Fergus Hamilton. Both are New Zealand citizens (although Hamilton is a dual British/New Zealand citizen who lives in Australia!) Williamson, won bronze in the BM4+ at the U23 World Championships last season, and Hamilton, racing for Australia, won gold in the JM2X in 2017. At Yale, both have just finished their Freshman year, Williamson stroking the 1stVarsity crew to an unbeaten season and IRA Championship and Hamilton raced in the 5 seat of the 2ndVarsity.
The 2ndUS entry is from the United States Naval Academy, with Owen Fireburgh and Brandon Sagawina. They were both members of the Navy 1stVarsity that finished 14that the IRA’s. They are part of a sizeable US Naval Academy squad that’s come to Henley this year with the main intention of racing at. The King’s Cup.
Among the domestic crews required to qualify, the leading crew look to be Leander Club, with Alex Ball and Tom Ballinger. Ball rowed for Imperial College at Henley last year, winning the Prince Albert Challenge Cup. Ballinger made the semi-finals of the Fawley with Claires Court School in 2017. They raced at Marlow winning the Championship pairs event.
Globe Rowing Club, M Coughlan and J Davidson, raced at the Met Regatta, finishing over 30 seconds behind two Glasgow pairs in the straight final.
Doncaster Rowing Club (Harry Hogan and Harry Elworthy) raced on Sunday of the Metropolitan Regatta finishing 4thin the Open 2-.
Tom Burton and Phil Poynter of The Oratory School are the Head of Rowing and the Head of Geography respectively. Burton is a former senior GB international and raced in the GB M8 at the 2009 World Championships.
Jamie-Jack Westfold and Josh McKenzie of Oxford Brookes University Boat Club, were members of the 2ndBrookes intermediate M8 at BUCS.
My pick….This “should” be a comfortable win for the Dutch, delivering Mitchell Steenman his 3rdGoblets title. But the young Yale pair and the feisty Irish should make the racing interesting. But, unfortunately, it’s not a “classic” year in this event.
The Hambleden Pairs Challenge Cup
Holders: H Long & H Scott, Marlow Rowing Club and Baan Rowing Club
Entries: 15 (2018: 6)
To be reduced to 8 by qualifying races.
The Stewards have pre-Qualified 5 pairs; 2 from the Dutch national squad, 2 from the Chinese team and one from New Zealand.
Overwhelming favourites for this event are the New Zealanders, Grace Prendergast and Kerri Gowler (Waiariki Rowing Club). They were the inaugural winners of this event in 2017. They were both members of the NZL W8 that finished 4that the Rio Olympics and then moved into the pair for 2017. They went unbeaten throughout 2017 and into 2018, going into the World Championships as hot favourites. But, they came up against an inspired crew from Canada who pushed them into silver. They opened their 2019 season at the Poznan World Cup, winning in convincing style. They are also doubling-up in the W8 in the Remenham.
The number 1 Chinese Boat of Xinyu Liuand Rui Ju (Chinese National Rowing Team, crew 560) This pairing were 5thin the world in 2018 and also raced at the 1stWorld Cup in Plovdiv where they finished 4th . They also raced at the Poznan World Cup, reaching the A-Final.
The 2ndChinese crew is Miaomiao Qinand Linlin Guo (Chinese Rowing Team, crew 565). This pairing also raced at the Plovdiv World Cup and beat their compatriots ending up 2ndoverall. At the Poznan World Cup they couldn’t repeat the defeat of their team mates and ended up finishing 5thin the B-Final.
Of the two Dutch pairs racing, the more experienced are (Hollandia Roeiclub, Holland crew 557 ) Aletta Jorritsma and Jose Van Veen. They were both members of the W8 that finished 4thlast year and both also have Olympic experience. Jorritsma raced in this boat class, finishing 13thand Van Veen was in the Olympic W8 that came 6th. They won at the Plovdiv World Cup and then finished 4that the European Championships.
The 2ndDutch crew (Hollandia Roeiclub, Holland crew 554) are Elsbeth Beeres and Laila Youssifou. They raced as the W2X at the European Championships finishing 7th. They were also both members of the W8 at the 1stWorld Cup that won gold. Last season they raced together at the European Championships winning the silver medal.
There are two overseas pairs that will have to go through qualifying. Crew 559 (United States Naval Academy, USA) and crew 567 (Amsterdamsche Studenten Roeivereeniging Nereus and Roeivereeniging RIC, The Netherlands). The US Navy crew is Emily Krulik and Raye Brackett. They were both members of the Navy Varsity 8 that finished 15that the NCAA Championships. The Nereus/RIC composite are Jessy Vermeer and Eve Stewart. Vermeer sculled for the Netherlands at the Youth Olympics last year and Stewart was a member of the silver medal U23 BW8 from 2018. So far this season they have won gold at the RaceRoei Regatta.
Among the domestic crews racing in the Qualifiers, the leading crew will be the Leander Club crew of Natasha Harris-White and Susie Dear. They won Champ 2- at Henley Women’s Regatta. Dear is an Oxford Brookes graduate and raced in the W2- which took silver at the World Student Championships. Harris-White, from Newcastle University, won gold at the FISU Championships in2018. At the Final GB Trials in April they finished 11th.
Runners-up to Leander at Henley Women’s Regatta was the Cambridge University Women’s Boat Club (crew 566) pairing of Tricia Smith and Pippa Whittaker. Earlier in the Regatta season this duo won Champ 2- at BUCS Regatta. They also raced at the Final GB Trials finishing 14thand were both members of the victorious Blue Boat.
There is a 2nd Cambridge University Women’s Boat Club crew racing (crew 558), with twin sisters Gemma and Catherine King. They were both members of the Cambridge crew at this year’s Lightweight Boat Race. As a pair they raced for England at the Home International Regatta last year winning the JW2- title.
My picks…It’ll be a big surprise if Prendergast and Gowler of Waiariki don’t win their 2ndtitle in 3 years.
Diamond Challenge Sculls
Holder: A.M.O Drysdale (West End Rowing Club, New Zealand)
35 entries to be reduced to 16 by Qualifying Races.
2018 saw Mahe Drysdale of West End Rowing Club, New Zealand, equal the record set by Stuart Mackenzie in 1962 of six Diamond Challenge Sculls wins. But, he did it the hard way. The 2018 final was an absolute classic, trailing Kjetil Borch by clear water coming into the enclosures, the Rio Olympic Champion sculled his opponent down and broke him, ending up winning by clear water. Drysdale may have lost his seat as the New Zealand M1X, but he’s dusting off his single for another Henley campaign in an attempt to take the record outright. The question is, with the NZL M8 racing in Poznan and also in The Grand, how much time will Drysdale get to train in the single, and will it be enough to see off the challenges from Borch and Zeidler?
Kjetil Borch (Horten Roklubb, Norway) is back for another tilt at the Henley title, and to get revenge on Drysdale for the defeat in 2018. Mind you, Borch went on to win the World Championship title, whereas Drysdale missed the medals racing in the M4X so it wasn’t all bad!. Borch has made a slowish start to the 2019 season as he recovers from knee surgery. At the European Championships he finished 9thand he race in Poznan at the 2ndWorld Cup this weekend surprisingly finishing out of the medals in 6thplace.
Out to spoil the Borch/Drysdale rematch is Oliver Zeidler (Donau-Ruder-Club Ingolstadt e.V., Germany).The 22-year-old took up sculling a couple of years ago and has made a dramatic impact, winning the German Small Boats Championships and then taking gold at the European Championships earlier this month. He also raced at the Poznan World Cup this weekend, but, like Borch, he finished outside of the medals taking 5thplace.
Harry Leask (Leander Club) was Great Britain’s single sculler at last year’s World Championships and produced a fine performance to take 4thoverall (beating Zeidler and Robbie Manson in the process). He’s struggled during the winter however, succumbing to a back injury. He had been entered in the Poznan World Cup, but was withdrawn just before the draw following a flare-up of his back injury. The GB team are saying it’s precautionary, but it remains to be seen whether he is fit enough to take his spot at Henley, or whether he will focus on being fit for Lucerne and to challenge fellow countryman Tom Barras for the M1X berth at the World Championships.
Stewart Innes (Leander Club), is another GB international returning to competition following an extended lay off due to injury. He last raced in GB colours at the Rio Olympics where he finished 4thin the M2-. He’s returned to competition in Leander colours this season racing at the Wedau Regatta in Germany finishing 5th. Naturally his long-term goal is to return to the GB sweep squad, and, if he’s fully fit, he could be a great addition to the Olympic team. He raced at Marlow regatta and picked up a silver medal in Champ 1X. The Stewards have, perhaps, been a little harsh in making him race the Qualifiers.
Another sculler with international experience is Martino Goretti (Team Italia, Italy). The 33-year-old finished 7thin the world in the LM1X last season, and so far this year has a bronze medal from the European Championships and raced in Poznan at the 2ndWorld Cup finishing 5thin the LM1X. One of the great things about Henley, is the chance for Lightweights and Heavyweights to race against each other, and it’s not always the Heavyweights who come out on top (just ask the Chairman!)
Michael Schmid (See-Club Luzern, Switzerland) is another seasoned lightweight international in the draw. He raced in the LM2X at the Rio Olympics finishing 13th. Since Rio he has been racing as a single sculler and in 2017 he won the European Championships and then finished 4that the World Championship. In 2018 he retained his European Title and had an outstanding race at the World Championships, winning the silver medal.
Guillaume Krommenhoek (Hollandia Roeiclub, The Netherlands) is the Dutch M1X representative for the 2019 season. He made his senior debut last year racing at the Belgrade Cup in the M4X that finished 5thin a straight final. He then went on to race at the Holland Beker as part of the Skøll M4x winning the gold medal. He raced at the 2ndWorld Cup in Poznan, finishing 13th.
Maximillian Fraenkel (Offenbacher Rudergesellschaft Undine, Germany) also has international representative honours to his name. In 2016 he raced at the World Championships finishing 12thin the M2+. In 2017 he raced in the German M4X at the European Championships finishing 8thand then in the M2X at the 2ndand 3rdWorld Cups.
Luuk Adema (Algemene Groningen Studenten Roeivereniging Gyas, Netherlands), is a member of the Dutch U23 team, and won a silver medal in the U23 BM2X at the World Championships last year. He also won the U23 BM2x at the 2018 Holland Beker. This season he was part of the Netherlands squad racing at the Poznan World Cup, finishing 17thin the M1X.
Dara Alizadeh (Cambridge University) is better known for his sweep prowess than as a sculler. The American was the President of the winning Cambridge Blue Boat this year and was also in the winning Cambridge Blue Boat in 2018. He raced this weekend at Marlow Regatta in Champ 1X finishing 18th. He may have his work cut out to be one of the fastest 6 scullers at the Qualifying races on Friday.
Jack Burns (Edinburgh University) is no stranger to the Henley course. He qualified for the Diamonds last year, winning his first-round match before meeting Kjetil Borch in Round 2 and going down by a respectable 2 lengths. He’s trialled for the Great Britain team and finished a strong 6that the 1stWinter Team Assessment in November last year. This season he raced at the Scottish Championships, winning the silver medal and also at the Wedau Regatta in Duisberg, finishing a creditable 7th. At the Marlow Regatta this weekend he took the win in champ 1X
Another Edinburgh University representative is James Temple. He’s represented Great Britain at both U23 and Senior level. In 2017 he finished 4thin the BLM4X and then in 2018 he raced at the first and Second World Cups before racing at the U23 World Championships with fellow Edinburgh University clubmate Gavin Horsburgh finishing 7th. Like many of those aiming to race at Henley, he raced at Marlow Regatta finishing 3rdin Championship singles.
Another of the overseas entries is Red Matthews (Mercantile Rowing Club, Australia). He has several international appearances for Australia, the first of which was back in 2013 when he finished 6thin the LM2X at the Sydney World Cup. His next international appearance was in 2017 racing in the LM4X at Lucerne and the taking 12that the World Championships. At the 2019 Australian Championships he finished runner-up in the Open LM1X.
Silver medallist at the BUCS regatta was Matt Brigham(Leeds University). He won Open 1X at the Metropolitan Regatta and then finished 4that Marlow Regatta. At the 1stGB Team Assessment he finished 17thoverall.
My picks…This has the makings of another classic Diamonds. Zeidler is the in-form sculler at the moment, Borch is the reigning World Champion and Drysdale is the defending champion and bidding to set a new record for the most number of wins, and then Leask (if fit) into the mix as a wildcard…..I’m going to put my neck on the line and go with my heart….Drysdale to win his 7thDiamond Challenge sculls.
The Princess Royal Challenge Cup
Holder: J Gmelin, Switzerland
Entries: 18 (2018: 19)
To be reduced to 12 by Qualifying races.
Five scullers have been pre-Qualified by the Stewards.
Emma Twigg (Waiariki Rowing Club) last won this event 10 years ago. She’s also been a beaten finalist in 2013 and a losing semi-finalist in 2010. She is returning to international competition for the first time since finishing 4th at the Rio Olympics. She is aiming to compete at her 4th Olympic Games and, hopefully, win her first Olympic medal. She was one of the outstanding scullers during the first half of the decade winning a full set of World Championship medals. She made her first appearance since Rio at the Poznan World Cup winning gold by just 12/100thof a second over Magdalena Lobnig of Austria.
Diana Dymchenko (Sports Club Concorde, Ukraine) was a lost to Gmelin in the semi-final of this event last year. She was a bronze medallist in the W1x at the 2018 Europeans and ended the season with an 11thplace at the World Championships. So far this season she’s raced at the European Championships in Lucerne finishing 8th.
The runner-up at the first world cup was Yan Jiang of Chinese National Rowing Team. She raced in the W4X that finished 6th at the Rio Olympics and then switched to the W2X for 2018 finishing 9th. She raced the W1X in Poznan at the 2ndWorld Cup finishing 11thoverall.
Winner of this event in 2016 was Lisa Scheenaard (Hollandia Roeiclub, Holland). She’s doubling-up in the Stonor Challenge Cup so it remains to be seen how she gets on with the large volume of racing she’s got ahead of her.
The final sculler pre-Qualified is a 2nd Dutch entry, Martine Veldhuis (Hollandia Roeiclub, Holland). She made her senior debut in 2018 finishing 7thin the LW1X at the World Championships. In 2019 she formed a new LW2X partnership with Olympic Champion, Ilse Paulis. Their first race together was at the Plovdiv World Cup where they took silver. At the European Championships they missed qualification for the A-Final by just 3/10thof a second, and went on to win the B-Final by 4 seconds.
There’s one overseas entry that will have to race Qualifiers, Pia Leonie Otto from Sch¸lerruderverein Kreuzgasse Kˆln von 1911. The 18 year old raced at the Munich Junior International regatta in 2018.
The winner of the George Innes Cup at Henley Women’s Regatta was Elo Luik of Molesey Boat Club. She became the first Estonian woman to race in the Boat Race when she helped Oxford to a 24 length victory in the 2016 Boat race. She joined Molesey after graduating from Oxford. She qualified for last year’s regatta, losing to Kate Wilkinson-Feller in the heats. Her win at Henley Women’s will give her the confidence that she will qualify again for the man draw.
Runner-up to Luik in the final of the George Innes Cup was Annie Campbell-Orde of Nottingham Rowing Club. A former national level netball player, she joined the Nottingham talent ID squad in 2015. In 2018 she represented England at the Home International Regatta winning gold. She was also runner-up in Open 1X on the Sunday of the Metropolitan Regatta.
Amanda Hynes of Upper Thames Rowing Club won the Open 1X on the Saturday of the Metropolitan Regatta and then was 3rdthe following day. At Henley Women’s Regatta she raced in the Championship 1x losing in the first round to Abigail Parker of Cambridge.
My picks…..the draw should lead to a Twigg v Scheenaard final which should be a great contest, but I’m going for another Waiariki win.
Next up, the Intermediate events….