Henley Royal Regatta
OUWBC were one of six seeded crews to race in the Remenham Challenge Cup at Henley Royal Regatta.
The crew lost two athletes from the 2014 Blue Boat and HWR line up – Anastasia Chitty who was (successfully!) undergoing selection for the GB U-23 team and Liz Fenje who was returning to Canada in order to join the programme at the Canadian Women’s Training Centre in London, Ontario. On port side, Amy Varney from the 2013 Blue Boat 2013 filled the empty seat and the assistant coach, Olympian Natasha Townsend took the starboard seat. The boat entered was therefore an OUWBC/Reading University composite.
The Elite eight faced a very powerful Australian eight stroked by a London 2012 silver medallist in the pair. The quarter finals took place on the Friday of HRR and the conditions were blustery with an increasing headwind throughout the day. Like in HWR, the Elite eight were on the Bucks station however they had a far cleaner start than at HWR. The Elite eight kept in contact with the national team and raced hard however, on the approach the barrier, the Australians were finding clear water.
There was a great deal of wash from river users for both crews and the wind had greatly picked up but the Elite eight dealt well with the condition and kept calm and focused. The Australians raced the length of the course and therefore, it could have been easy for the elite eight to step off the power but instead, they continued to drive to the line and continue to push themselves. The eventual result was four and three quarter lengths in 7:24, 13 seconds faster than any other quarter final. Racing at HRR gave the Elite eight the opportunity to take another step towards chasing boat speed and it was embraced by all members of the crew. HRR was the last race of the 2013-14 summer season and the athletes are now heading home to rest and train independently.