Fabulous finals at Henley Women’s Regatta 2024

The best-attended Henley Women’s Regatta ever ended yesterday with 26 fiercely contested finals that saw some clubs make it three wins in a row, and others take their first trophies

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Jenny Bates and Freya Keto, winners of the W Peer Cup for Championship Double Sculls.

Oxford Brookes University won the Colgan Foundation Cup for Aspirational Academic Eights and Thames RC the Copas Cup for Aspirational Club Eights, each for a third year running. In the Avril Vellacott Cup for Championship Coxless Fours, Leander Club too enjoyed a third consecutive victory.

Meanwhile Wycliffe College’s outstanding quad made it back-to-back victories in the Bea Langridge Trophy for Junior Quadruple Sculls, with two of the crew – Violet Holsbrow-Brooksbank and Lily Martin – racing in both 2023 and 2024. Oxford Brookes retained the Ron Needs Cup for Championship Eights.

There were further repeat wins in the coxed fours events, where Scottish crews showed their quality. Edinburgh University won the Frank V Harry Cup for Development Coxed Fours once more, after lifting the trophy in 2023. Aberdeen Schools Rowing Association won the Groton School Challenge Cup for Junior Coxed Fours for the second time in three years. With Glasgow Academy having won the event in 2021 and 2023, there has been a Scottish dominance on this cup for four years now.

The Chairman’s Trophy for Aspirational Quadruple Sculls stayed in the Netherlands, with ARSR Skadi from Rotterdam defeating 2023 champions USR Triton from Utrecht by just over 1.5 seconds. Skadi delighted prizegiving attendees with a rousing rendition of their club song, before hurrying off to catch a plane home.

Quad racing in front of pink and white umbrellas

Both Championship Single Sculls titles – the George Innes Cup and the Godfrey Rowsports Trophy – also went overseas. Sophie Egnot-Johnson of Waikato Rowing Club, New Zealand, won the Openweight event while Riona McCormick of Schuylkill Navy High Performance Collaborative, USA secured the Lightweight trophy.

2024 also saw the return of the Grosvenor Cup for PR3 Single Sculls, which was won by Samantha Gough of St Andrew BC in a record time of 6:52. This was the only event with a new record during the weekend, thanks to a stiff headwind on Friday and Saturday despite calmer conditions on Sunday.

This unique regatta is not just about winning, though. A number of clubs had their first Henley Women’s experience this year. Brentford BC qualified for the side-by-side racing in the West End Amateur Rowing Association Trophy for Junior 16 Coxed Fours, while Streatham and Clapham High School qualified two boats and reached the quarter-finals of the Rayner Cup for Junior Double Sculls. Windermere BC was another first-time entrant.

The trophies were presented by former Henley Women’s Regatta (HWR) Chairman and Olympic silver medallist Miriam Luke, who told competitors that the regatta’s expansion to more than 2,300 athletes this year was a reflection of their hard work as well as the growth of women’s rowing. She was joined by representatives of sponsors including the Copas family and the Colgan Foundation, as well as two-time Olympic and eight-time world champion Eric Murray, who presented Dart Totnes ARC with the Haslam Trophy for Championship Lightweight Double Sculls.

HWR Chairman Naomi Ashcroft said: “HWR’s objective is to showcase the best of women’s rowing and I believe we certainly achieved that this weekend, demonstrated not only across the hotly contested races for each trophy but also by an increasing number of clubs and schools entering and succeeding at the regatta. It is testimony to all the hard work of our huge number of volunteers and supporters.”

Full results

Photos: Joanne Harris

British Rowing Junior and Senior Club Championships

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