STORY COURTESY HENLEY WOMEN’S REGATTA | PHOTO COURTESY HARVARD ATHLETICS
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Henley Women’s Regatta (HWR) came to a close on Sunday with a series of tense and exciting finals.
Oxford Brookes University took the final win of the day, beating Thames Rowing Club by two lengths in the Ron Needs Cup for championship eights. Brookes added the Colgan Foundation Cup for aspirational academic eights with victory against Newcastle University.
Leander Club made it back-to-back victories in the championship fours and quadruple sculls events. The Leander and Twickenham Rowing Club composite of Vwaire Obukohwo and Katherine George continued their strong partnership with a second straight victory in the W. Peer Cup for championship double sculls.
Susie Dear of the Leander quad said afterwards: “It was a really good regatta, the first time I’d raced at Henley Women’s since 2019 so it was good to be back.
“That headwind caught us out a little bit, the classic Henley headwind, but it’s a different kind of racing altogether with the one-on-one. Really good fun.”
Although Thames lost the Ron Needs Cup, they did defend the Copas Cup for aspirational club eights in a repeat of the 2022 final against their Putney neighbours Vesta Rowing Club. Cornwall’s Greenbank Falmouth Rowing Club won their first-ever HWR title, as Sarah Lewis and Issey Barnes defeated Dutch crew DSRV Laga in the Rosie Mayglothling Trophy for aspirational double sculls.
Wycliffe Junior Rowing Club were also first-time winners, adding the Bea Langridge Trophy for junior quadruple sculls to their National Schools Regatta title. Overseas winners included Australia’s Sydney Rowing Club, taking the Rayner Cup for junior double sculls and Cara Grzeskowiak of Canberra Rowing Club, who won the George Innes trophy for championship single sculls; Radcliffe College of the USA, winning the Parkside Trophy for championship lightweight pairs with a win over compatriots Princeton; USR Triton of the Netherlands, taking the Chairman’s Trophy for aspirational quadruple
The prizes were handed out by New Zealand Olympic champion Grace Prendergast, who said: “The atmosphere was amazing, the racing was really exciting, and with any regatta that is held here the scenes are just impeccable. It’s such a special place, the knockout racing is unlike anything else.
“I’m really passionate about women rowing, and that’s why these regattas are amazing; you see the turnout, you see the excitement that everyone has coming to watch, and that’s pretty special.”
HWR Chairman Naomi Riches said the event was “unique”, and praised the level of competition and the support on the bank.
“The last three days have been so inspiring, not just for those new to rowing, but for those who have been rowing for years – decades. Watching the talent coming through in our sport is just incredible,” Riches said.