Henley Royal Regatta 2021
Last weekend, our boats left Nottingham for the final time this season headed for Henley Royal Regatta. UoNBC entered 4 boats and 15 athletes despite the Regatta taking place in the middle of the summer holidays. It was great to be racing once again at this prestigious competition!
The first event entered was the Double Sculls Challenge Cup. Our lightweight double, coming off a strong performance at BUCS last month, have been training hard to be able to compete amongst the heavyweights. At qualifiers, there was a tough entry with 17 entries being reduced to 8 qualified crews. Our boys, James Swinburn and Lewis Howlett, raced well but were ultimately outmatched by the more experienced field including Tokyo 2020 Olympic Gold Medallists Fintan McCarthy & Paul O’Donovan, Team GB’s Jamie Copus and ex-Olympic rowers, Sam Townsend and Charles Cousins.
Our second event entered was the Silver Goblets and Nickalls’ Challenge Cup (Men’s Pairs). This is an open event with just 8 spots available. Joe Bright and Peter Boyes had a great qualifying race, securing themselves a place in the Regatta. Their first race, on Friday, was against Leander Club. In tricky conditions, they had a good race, unfortunately failing to get into the semi-finals by 3 lengths. It was a great effort from both of them to compete in an open event against a top crew.
The third crew sent to qualifiers was for the Princess Grace Challenge Cup (Women’s Quads). This crew, having been training together for the last few months, were ready to take on the open event against the top crews from the country and abroad. They had a great qualifying race, managing to get one of the 8 slots on the Friday of Henley, beating both Oxford Brookes ‘B’ and Molesey Boat Club – both very high-standard crews. On one of the last races of the day on Friday, the girls faced Oxford Brookes ‘A’ crew. Oxford Brookes took the early lead and stretched out their lead to over 2 lengths by halfway. The Nottingham crew then put on a huge push through the 2nd half of the race to fall just short a length to the other crew. This is the first women’s crew that Nottingham have qualified for Henley Royal Regatta in over a decade and it was a great credit to these girls to keep calm and race against a crew from one of the biggest programs in the country.
The last boat entered was in the Temple Challenge Cup (Student Men’s 8). This crew was put together after BUCS regatta with members from the 4-,4+ and 4x coming together late in the season. This boat pre-qualified for the regatta in a class of 27 boats racing on the Wednesday. The first race was against King’s College School, Wimbledon who have had a very strong year doing well at National Schools Regatta. The Nottingham 8 fell behind slightly off the start but found their rhythm and pulled ahead to a 2 length lead. In the 2nd half of the race, KSC pushed back on the Nottingham crew who managed to hold them off and win by over a length. On the Thursday, the 8 faced Edinburgh University – a crew who came in the top 6 at BUCS Regatta and had been training in their 8 all year. Edinburgh pulled ahead at the start and went clear to over 3 lengths’ lead. The Nottingham crew, in some of the best rowing they have done all year, pulled back the gap to 1 length in the last 300m. Well done to the Edinburgh crew and to ours for leaving everything out there on the course.
Congratulations also, to our 11 alumni who have been racing this week. It has been great to see so many carrying on the sport after university. A special mention to Amy Gibson and Jess Eastwood for making it to the final of the Wargrave Challenge Cup with Thames Rowing Club. A great achievement for them!
This has been one of our strongest performances at Henley in the club’s history with 2 crews qualifying for open events and the Temple 8 matching the 2018 boat in reaching the Thursday. All our crews represented the club proudly and demonstrated the ethos of the club in the way they approached their races and their opposition. These crews, together with several of our other top athletes unable to race due to holidays, are excited for the new season. As always, a huge thank you to our coaches, John McKirdy and Tim Brearley, who have given up some of their holiday to allow us to race. We couldn’t do it without them.
Silver Goblets & Nickalls’ Challenge Cup
Nottingham University vs Leader Club:
Princess Grace Challenge Cup
Nottingham University vs Oxford Brookes:
Temple Challenge Cup:
Nottingham University vs Kings College School, Wimbledon:
Nottingham University vs Edinburgh University: