Leander completed another successful Henley by winning four trophies from seven finals, with the club’s Academy athletes and GB internationals contributing in equal measure.
Jack Beaumont, Jonny Walton, John Collins and Pete Lambert won the Queen Mother Challenge Cup in record time against the New Zealand international quad, competing as Waiariki Rowing Club.
They shaved two seconds off the previous 1989 record, set by SC Eridanea and SC Firenze, Italy, to finish in 6 mins 13 secs.
It was a tight race with Leander attempting to pull away in the middle section of the course but the Kiwis keeping close by. The British crew saw off a late surge on their home-water to win the trophy.
“We got out quite strongly and got in to our rhythm. We got ahead but they kept on attacking so we had to work hard, hats off to them” said John Collins.
Lambert felt they had a chance to break the record.
“We knew records were tumbling and we had a good race so we knew it was on. Fair play to New Zealand, they did push us the whole way and we broke the longest-standing record at the regatta” he added.
There was controversy in the Visitors’ Challenge Cup after Barney Stentiford, Sam Twine, Finn Stevenson and George Rossiter were made to wait half an hour to have their quarter-length win over CUBC confirmed. Both crews had been called to the committee lawn to see umpire Richard Phelps after Cambridge complained, having felt their sprint was impeded due to the Leander steering.
It was a special day all round for Harry Glenister, who sculled in the Leander A crew which beat Leander B to win the Prince of Wales Challenge Cup.
Glenister’s win, which occurred on his 22nd birthday, meant he became the first person to win all three men’s quad events at Henley, and the crew joined forces to sing ‘Happy Birthday’ on their return to the pontoon.
The crew, which also included Andy Joel, Rowan Law and Harry Leask, will now go on to represent GB at the World U23 Championships in Bulgaria.
“I’m really happy with the result. I’ve made history as I’m now the first person to win all three quad events at Henley. It was really good conditions out there, they made us fight for it all the way” said Glenister.
Leander’s fourth trophy came in the Stewards’ Challenge Cup, where Matt Rossiter and Will Satch joined forces with Molesey’s Moe Sbihi and Oxford Brookes’ Matt Tarrant, to beat the Italian four.
“I’m ecstatic. I only joined the national team in September. All the other guys in the boat have been so supportive and taken me under their wing” said Rossiter.
“The goal of the season now is the World Championships in Florida, and this is a really good step on. All my friends and family are here and I’ll savour the moment” he added.
In the Grand Challenge Cup, the GB men’s eight, rowing as Leander and Newcastle University, lost to the German national eight, who blasted out to get a purposeful early lead and held off the British eight to win by a length.
In the Remenham Challenge Cup, the GB women’s eight, with four Leander athletes on board, was beaten by the New Zealand national crew racing as Waiariki Rowing Club. The British women kept some overlap throughout the race, staying in touch as the two crews reached the enclosures. Both crews went all out in the last few hundred metres, with Waiariki opening up the gap, crossing the line two-thirds of a length ahead of their opponents.
Leander’s Vicky Thornley lost the final of the Princess Royal Challenge Cup to Annekatrin Thiele, the quad sculls Olympic champion from Germany. A hotly-contested race had been anticipated but Thiele second-guessed a mid-race push by Thornley and took the lead at the Barrier, with the gap widening all the way down the course.
Following their absence from last year’s regatta, which clashed with their pre-Olympic training camp, the GB international crews are back at Henley in force, helping to raise Leander’s entries to a massive 84 athletes in 27 crews.
Leading the charge for trophies are the GB men’s and women’s eights, recently returned from the World Cup regatta in Poznan, where they took bronze and silver respectively. Seven Leander athletes will compete in the men’s crew, looking to regain the Grand Challenge Cup, while the GB women’s crew in the Remenham Challenge Cup includes Leander’s Katherine Douglas, Jo Wratten, Fi Gammond and Anastasia Chitty, as well as cox Erin Wysocki-Jones.
In the Stewards’ Challenge Cup the GB men’s four, including Will Satch and Matt Rossiter, are fresh from their silver medal in Poznan, while the Leander crew in the new event for women’s fours recorded their first success together with a win at Henley Women’s Regatta.
The GB national training centre has continued to recruit Leander’s top athletes into the system, so an entry in the Ladies’ Challenge Plate has not been possible this year. Instead the leading men are entered into the Visitors’ Challenge Cup, where their prospects are looking healthy following their recent win in elite fours at Marlow Regatta.
There are just two entries in the Queen Mother Challenge Cup where the all-Leander GB men’s quad take on New Zealand in a straight final. Pete Lambert, John Collins, Jonny Walton and Jack Beaumont won World Cup gold in Poznan and are odds-on favourites to beat the Kiwis, who finished down the rankings in the B final.
Leander has three entries in the Princess Grace Challenge Cup, including the top GB quad, which won the bronze medal at last month’s European Championships. Holly Nixon, Jess Leyden, Beth Bryan and Reading’s Mathilda Hodgkins-Byrne, will face the European silver medallists from Netherlands, stroked by Olympic silver medallist Nicole Beukers.
There’s also a composite with Upper Thames, but it’s the presence of Olympians Debbie Flood and Katie Greves in the third quad that is causing ripples along the towpath. Competing as Sir William Perkins and Wallingford the silver medallists are climbing into the boat with two fifteen-year-old students from Sir William Perkins to help inspire the next generation of athletes.
Leander has a record tradition in the Prince of Wales Challenge Cup for club quad sculls, and their six-year winning sequence was only broken by defeat in last year’s final. Looking to bring the trophy home again will be Rowan Law, Harry Leask, Harry Glenister and Andy Joel, who were elevated to the Queen Mother Challenge Cup last year and duly won the trophy before going on to Rotterdam as the GB U23 crew.
Competition has been fierce for places in the leading Leander crew to contest the Fawley Challenge Cup for junior quads, but Tom Ballinger, Cameron Forsythe, Matt Peters and Robbie Crowther raced elite quads for the senior experience and did well to reach place fifth overall at Marlow.
In the Silver Goblets the GB pair includes Sam Arnot and Tom Jeffery, both of whom have raced the GB men’s eight earlier in the season, while Seb Devereux is home from university in the USA and will partner Sam Meijer of Elizabethan in a second pair.
In the single sculls European champion Vicky Thornley is firm favourite for the Princess Royal Challenge Cup, where her clubmate Emily Carmichael will first have to qualify, despite racing the GB double in Poznan. Meanwhile former GB lightweight Jamie Kirkwood has stepped out of retirement to contest the Diamond Challenge Sculls along with former New Zealander Adam Ling.
Click here for race reports and photographs of all Leander crews at this year’s Regatta