First time winners and titles retained at Henley Women’s Regatta 2023
Precious medals were presented to competitors from 22 clubs at the 35th Henley Women’s Regatta yesterday after a series of tense and exciting finals
Cornwall’s Greenbank Falmouth RC won their first-ever HWR title, as Sarah Lewis and Issey Barnes defeated Dutch crew DSRV Laga in the final of the Rosie Mayglothling Trophy for aspirational double sculls.
Wycliffe Junior RC were also first-time winners, adding the Bea Langridge Trophy for junior quadruple sculls to their National Schools Regatta title.
Other honours were spread particularly widely this year, with only Oxford Brookes University, Leander and Imperial College notching up multiple wins. Brookes took the final race of the regatta, beating Thames RC by two lengths in the Ron Needs Cup for championship eights. Brookes also won the Colgan Foundation Cup for aspirational academic eights for the second year running with victory against Newcastle University.
Leander Club retained three titles with victories in the championship fours, quadruple sculls and a half-share in the double sculls events, where the Leander and Twickenham RC composite of Vwairé Obukohwo and Katherine George continued their strong partnership with a second straight victory in the W. Peer Cup. 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.”
Imperial College impressed in two of the aspirational events, with wins for Aiofe Keane in the single sculls and their coxless four. Imperial’s Elizabeth Witt won the Redgrave Challenge Vase for championship pairs with Emily Lindbreg of University of London BC.
Thames defended the Copas Cup for aspirational club eights in a repeat of the 2022 final against their Putney neighbours Vesta RC.
Overseas winners included Australia’s Sydney RC, taking the Rayner Cup for junior double sculls and Cara Grzeskowiak of Canberra RC, 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 sculls.
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, as well as the incredible amount of hard work by volunteers involved in making the regatta such a wonderful experience for both competitors and spectators.
“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.
Photos: Joanne Harris.