10 Records Broken in Henley Women’s Regatta Finals

Image of City of Cambridge

No less than 10 course records tumbled in the finals of this weekend’s Henley Women’s Regatta, and two were equalled – a result of a strong but manageable tailwind throughout the three day event, and what chairman Diane Graham described as ‘the best ever standard in the event’s 23 year history’.

In the climax of the regatta, the elite eights final produced an all-US clash between Pennsylvania’s Drexel University and Michigan’s Grand Valley University, resulting in a tight win of half a length for Drexel in a time of 4 minutes and 50 seconds over the 1500m course, the fastest time of the day.

Despite a strong overseas presence, the only other non-British winner was Dublin’s Neptune Rowing Club, whose domination of the event culminated in a convincing win of two lengths over Oxford University Women’s Boat Club in elite lightweight pairs.

Elsewhere, British crews seeing off overseas contenders included a Durham/Glasgow/ Nottingham/Sport Imperial composite which rowed through a polished crew from Leiden’s Pelargos Asopos de Vliet to win elite coxless fours by three quarters of a length in a record time of 5 minutes flat, a full 6 seconds quicker than the previous record set by GB squad crew Nautilus 15 years ago.  They were joined in victory by City of Oxford’s junior crew, fresh from a bronze at National Schools, who rowed through US scholastic champions Egg Harbor Township to take the junior coxed four title by half a length.

Other records tumbling were courtesy of Oxford Brookes’ elite coxed four, with a win over Thames Rowing Club in a time of 5.15, knocking 6 seconds off a record set last year by an under-23 squad composite, and a Sport Imperial entry in elite pairs, whose win over Oxford University Women in a time of 5.26 took seven seconds off the longest standing record in the regatta, set in 1992 by the GB squad rowing as United Universities.

Records were also broken in elite lightweight double sculls where Reading University smashed the previous fastest time by 11 seconds in a win against Mortlake, Anglian and Alpha, as well as in intermediate club coxed fours and eights, senior lightweight singles, senior coxed fours, school eights and elite quads, where a Nottingham/Leander composite produced the first ever sub-five minute time for a quadruple scull in the regatta, winning over Reading University in a time of 4.55.

In elite single sculls, Frankie Jus-Burke from Thames showed a return to form from her under-23 days, winning convincingly over Propsting of Mortlake, Anglian and Alpha, although the two could end up doing battle again at Henley Royal in 10 days’ time if they both make it through the qualifiers for the Princess Royal Challenge Cup.

Finally, the result of the  guest charity race held at the tea break during the Sunday finals, was a win by two feet for the combination of BBC Oxford’s Geraldine Peers teaming up with Olympic bronze medallist Sarah Winckless, over Countdown’s Susie Dent teaming up with Olympic silver medallist Miriam Batten.  Both TV presenters had only had 5 lessons in a  boat, yet managed to row the shortened 300m course at rates of up to 32; it’s estimated the race raised over £1000 for Macmillan Cancer Support with donations are still being accepted via Justgiving  

Full results of all races can be found at on the Henley Women’s website  The committee of Henley Women’s Regatta would like to thank supporters PricewaterhouseCoopers, Invesco Perpetual, Sir Steve and Lady Redgrave, Rock the Boat and the Copas Partnership for yet another successful event, and look forward to welcoming everyone back on 17th, 18th and 19th June 2011.