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Inside Lines: Thursday 3rd July, 2014

Daily briefing notes from the Press Office at Henley Royal Regatta

Today at Henley

A superb 82-race programme at Henley Royal Regatta today was capped by a stunning contest and a dead-heat in the Visitors’ Challenge Cup between Molesey BC and Zee Club Zurich.
 


Series of Superb Sprints and a Dead Heat

As the pace of the Regatta rose today to match the sizzling temperatures, a series of superb finishing sprints proved decisive in a number of races.

Hampton School, the University of London, and the University of West Ontario all needed to rely on their finishing speed to progress in dramatic style in the Princess Elizabeth Challenge Cup, the Visitors’ Challenge Cup and the Temple Challenge Cup respectively.

All of these were capped, though, by the race between Molesey BC and Switzerland’s Zee Club of Zurich in the Visitors’ Challenge Cup which ended in a dead heat. The exhausted rowers were glad to hear that the re-row of their grueling battle will be tomorrow morning and will open the programme of racing.

The race had all the ingredients that make Henley such a magical regatta: top quality oarsmen and tough conditions with both crews demonstrating a never say die attitude.

Molesey had led throughout the race. But as a result of an impressive final surge, the Swiss men were convinced they had done enough to win: “I’m a 100% sure we won” shouted  C D’Oncieu, the two-man from the Swiss boat. And in the long wait for the photo finish, it was the men from the Surrey Club who looked more downcast.

But when the verdict was announced, the demeanor of the Molesey crew changed. As they got off the water, their star oarsman, Fred Gill, said: ‘Bring it on.” The decision to re-row the race means that the winner of tomorrow’s contest will have to race twice tomorrow. Awaiting them, tomorrow evening are the crew from Oaklahoma City River Sport USA. 

 


Australian Powerhouse is a Diamond Sculler

Australia's powerhouse Olympian Nick Purnell staked his claim to the Diamond Sculls Challenge Cup by surging ahead of Israel's sculling hero, Danny Fridman today.

Mahe Drysdale, New Zealand’s Olympic champion, opens his Diamond’s campaign tomorrow and Purnell could well face Drysdale if he is successful against compatriot George Bridgwater tomorrow. 

On the other side of the draw the Dutch Champion Roel Braas had a comfortable win over Mark Mitchell, from Bexhill Amateur Rowing Club. With Britain’s Olympic bronze medalist, Alan Campbell, set to begin his attempt to win the Diamonds for the fourth time tomorrow, the way looks clear for a mouth-watering Braas-Campbell confrontation in Saturday’s semi-final.

Braas was the powerhouse in the Dutch eight at the 2012 London Olympics. He said:  “The race was okay today. It wasn’t quite the start I am used to having, I was a bit slow out of the blocks but when I got into a good lead I just paced it at a low rate until the finish”.

 


The Prince Elizabeth Challenge Cup produces another cracking race.

The Princess Elizabeth Cup always seems to provide the Regatta with some of its closest contests and today’s titanic race between two giants of school rowing – Hampton and Shrewsbury - did not disappoint.

The Shropshire school blasted out of the blocks, established a narrow lead and seemed very capable of defeating any of Hampton’s attempts to dislodge them. However, the headwind conditions meant that the crew who could mount the most effective challenge in the final 20 strokes of the race could prove crucial. In the end it was Hampton whose sprint up to 41 strokes per minute saw them hit the front just before the line.

“When they jumped us on the start I was a bit nervous”, explained Sam Fearn Hampton’s cox.  “I was really pleased that I managed to keep an aura of calm about my voice, especially when they led us early on.”

Ultimately the National Schools bronze medallists were seen home by willingness to trust that good strokes would put them in with a chance in the sprint for the line. “Along the enclosures, we took a seat and it was when we were about to take another one that I sensed them begin to crack and then, just before the line, we very quickly, took 5-6 seats”, said Fearn. 

 


Purple patch under pressure sees UL prevail

University of London (UL) Visitors’ four stroke James Cook had to resort to a bit of vernacular in his calls today to keep his crew calm under pressure – the type of vernacular not suited to this official Regatta newsletter.

However, Cook feels that it made the difference under the relentless pressure that the men from Nereus had put them under the whole way up the Henley course. The men in purple from UL hit the front with just 20 strokes to go.

“We tend to be a bit upright in the bodies and that call about our posteriors helps us keep our shoulders loose and keep the power focussed low down in the body”, explained Cook.

The 2012 winner of the Prince Albert Challenge Cup went on to credit his experiences in wining the student coxed fours’ event as helping him row through a very fast Dutch four:  “We won that event the same way – rowing through both Newcastle University and Harvard. That meant I was not phased when Nereus led us off the start”.

UL’s performance also represented a personal triumph for their two-man, Matt Rossiter. “The last four years have been really tough for me as I’ve struggled to recover from injury”, he said. The former Abingdon School rower, regarded as one of the most promising oarsmen of his year, could not hide his delight about making a successful comeback.  He said: “I’ve still got a lot of goals I want to fulfill”.

 


The water can be frozen or the water can be hot

When his bowman Rogier Blink fell ill earlier this week, it looked like the dream of Mitchel Steenman - stroke of the Dutch national pair - to race at the 175th Henley Regatta was over. Steenman is not a man to give up easily. Moreover, he was determined not just to race at the Regatta but to return to Holland with the Silver Goblets trophy.

Steenman’s inspirational solution to Blink’s illness has provided the Regatta with one of the more interesting combinations ever to race at Henley Royal Regatta. For Steenamn, help came in the shape of one of the world’s top scullers: the Frenchman, Julien Bahain.

On the surface, the choice of Bahain might seem strange. But Steenman’s sister. Katie, is actually Bahain’s partner. The two men knew each other well anyway and had even rowed briefly together in 2013. The result of their friendship is a potentially exciting and explosive multi-national combination, that could set the rowing world on fire.

“We only made the call to Julien last night to see if he’d race with Mitchel. Luckily he said yes and he’s arriving at Heathrow at 6.30 tonight. Then the guys will have their first outing”, explained the Dutch pair’s coach, Titus Weyschende. Nobody, least of all Weyschende, knows how this new combination will go.

“In Holland we have a saying: the water can be frozen, or the water can be hot”,  said the man who coached the Dutch pair to a world bronze medal in 2013. And he went on to explain : “If the water is ‘hot’ for them ‘they could go fast.” 

Earlier this season, Julien Bahain – who just missed out on a double sculls medal in the 2012 Olympics, was expecting to be a key player in France’s new ‘super-eight’. But he could not settle in the project and decided to use his mother’s Canadian nationality and race for the Canadian team. His pace in the single was clear at last week’s Bosbaan Regatta, where Bahain posted a sizzling time for the 2000m course – which was good enough to take second place. The two men must hope they gel quickly ahead of their heat at the Regatta today.

 


A Great Start

Today at Henley Steve Gunn looked resplendent in his Olympic blazer. The former biology teacher, who coached the Searles to Olympic glory in the Barcelona Olympics is now head of GB Rowing’s Start Programme. He was at the Regatta to help young British rowers start out on a path that could ultimately lead them to be part of the British Olympic team at the Tokyo Olympics in 2020 and beyond.

“There are currently over 90 young athletes in the GB Rowing Team’s Start programme”, said Gunn “and a lot of them are racing here at the Regatta today and I’m here to support their efforts.”

The programme, which was designed to nurture young British talent has already reaped superb rewards: Mohamed Sbihi, Anna Watkins, Helen Glover and Heather Stanning – to name but a few - are all former “Start” rowers. At the London Olympics, all four won Olympic medals – with Glover, Stanning and Watkins taking gold.

“Henley’s a great place for them to get race experience”, said Gunn. “That’s why the rowers are competing here for their clubs.”

The list of clubs that contain one or more Start Programme athletes that Gunn outlined is impressive. “There are two men in the Gloucester RC Fawley quad. The Rob Roy four that’s going strong in the Wyfolds has another two and also the Nottingham Britannia four.”

All those crews – and more - were in fact successful in today’s racing. So it looks as though Gunn will have more watching and encouragement to do as the Regatta moves towards the weekend. 

 


China Syndrome

Shanghai is the nerve centre of Chinese rowing so it was no surprise to see the two students from Shanghai Jiao Tong University dominate their heat of the Double Sculls Challenge Cup yesterday at Henley. The two men recorded an “easily” verdict against their British opposition. That victory was enough to earn them a chance to go head to head on Friday with one of the Regatta’s finest crews: the French lightweight double of Azou and Delayre.

“The first race was really good. Now we are looking forward to our race tomorrow”, said the crew’s bowman Gong. And the man who tipped the scales at 15st 11lbs was optimistic about his chances against his chances of facing men a full four stones lighter than him. “Hopefully we’ll have another race the day after tomorrow”, he explained.

Both of the Chinese raced at their provincial championships. For the rowers, the provincial championships are a far more lucrative and important draw than competing in the World Championships. But nevertheless both are keen to challenge for the national team. At least with the squad of China’s new Chief Coach, Hartmut Buschbacher being based near Shanghai, they have more than a fighting chance of building on their early success at Henley. 

 


When Harvard won the Grand

A hundred years ago at Henley, Harvard University won the Grand Challenge Cup by beating a crew of Harvard graduates from Union BC, Boston, on Independence Day, July 4. Archduke Ferdinand was assassinated a few days before the 1914 regatta opened and oarsmen in Britain were already volunteering for the army. The next regatta at Henley would be a Peace Regatta in 1919.

George Washburn, a veteran reporter for British and American newspapers, writes every day on Henley in 1914 - the racing, the politics, the atmosphere and the gossip - on the River & Rowing Museum’s web site on www.rrm.co.uk/blog

Harvard have entries this year in the Visitors’ and Prince Albert, while Union Boat Club have an eight in the Thames. There will be a row-past commemorating their race in the 1914 Grand on Sunday in the Lunch Interval

 


And Finally...

Spotted at Henley today:  Singer Sinitta, celebrity crimper Nicky Clarke OBE, boy-bander Ritchie Neville of 5ive and Olympic skier turned TV presenter Graham Bell.
 


The press office at the Regatta can be contacted on: press@hrr.co.uk or 01491 636121

Staff on duty this year are: 

Press Assistants: Shaunaugh Craig, Amy Woodman, Catherine Maude, Alicia John.
Broadcast assistant:  Claire Acklng 
Inside Lines writers:  Martin Cross, Matt Burrows. 
Press Officer:  Caroline Searle

By John Simm
3rd Jul, 8:41pm
Sizzling temperatures as the racing hots up at Henley Royal Regatta

Henley Royal Regatta’s 175th anniversary event moved up a gear today with a stunning series of close races in sizzling temperatures.

Closest of all was the dead-heat in the Visitors’ Challenge Cup for men’s fours between Seeclub Zurich of Switzerland and Molesey Boat Club.

Dead Heat

The judges’ ultimate verdict was a dead heat. The two crews were will now have to row the grueling 2112m course again tomorrow.

The world’s top rowers made their first appearance with Australia’s Nick Purnell getting the better of Danny Fridman in the Diamond Challenge Cup Sculls for single scullers. Fridman is the first Israeli to have competed at the Regatta.

In the opposite side of the draw in this event Dutch Champion, Roel Braas, had a comfortable win over Mark Mitchell.

Meanwhile a series of superb finishing sprints in close races saw Hampton School, the University of London and the University of Western Ontario all move past their opponents in dramatic style in the Princess Elizabeth Challenge Cup, the Visitors Challenge Cup and the Temple Challenge Cup.

Sir Steve Redgrave, the celebrated Olympian who is Vice Chairman of the 2014 Regatta, summed up the on-going success of this year’s event when he said:  “There is nowhere in the world like this event. To race between two booms on the river with a wall of noise from start to finish makes it unique for the rowers. Everyone wants to come and race here whether they are just starting out on their career or are already an established international.

We had bumper crowds here yesterday and today and some of those close races have been really exciting”.

Tickets for the 2000-capacity Regatta Enclosure have now sold out for Saturday with some capacity remaining for tomorrow and Sunday but as 2014 Regatta Chairman Mike Sweeney explained:  “This is one of the best sporting and social events of the year and those who have not yet experienced it can still attend. There are large areas along the course that are open to the public and are free to those who might want to bring a picnic, sit on the banks and take in the action”.

Weather forecasters predict that the current sunny weather will persist. Tomorrow will see World Junior Single Scull Champion Jess Leyden from Hollingworth Lake make her first appearance at this Regatta and GB Rowing Team squad members Scott Durant and Alan Sinclair will begin their challenge in the Silver Goblets for men’s pairs.

The sensational French double of Stany Delayre and Jeremie Azou will race for the first time in the Double Sculls Challenge Cup for men.  New Zealander Mahe Drysdale and George Bridwater will go head to head in the Diamond Challenge Cup sculls. Drysdale is the Olympic champion in this event and his compatriot is making a comeback after winning Olympic bronze in another boat class at the 2008 Olympic Games.Ben Ainslie - photo credit Lloyd Images

The Royal Regatta announced earlier today that four-times Olympic Champion, Sir Ben Ainslie, is to present the trophies on Sunday to the winning crews.

As the official Prize-Giver, Sir Ben will join Regatta Chairman Sweeney, who will retire this year after 22 years of service, in the final act to mark the 175th Anniversary of the first Regatta, held in 1839.

With a host of World and Olympic Champions in action over the weekend, Sir Ben may well be quite familiar with some of the faces who win the open events.

 


For further information or interviews contact Caroline Searle or Alicia John in the Henley Royal Regatta press office on 01491 636121 or 01491 413877 or press@hrr.co.uk

Ben Ainslie image credit: Lloyd Images

By John Simm
3rd Jul, 8:07pm
Top Sailor Sir Ben Ainslie to present Henley trophies

Henley Royal Regatta has today announced that four-times Olympic Champion, Sir Ben Ainslie, is to present the trophies on Sunday to the winning crews.

As the official Prize-Giver, Sir Ben will join Regatta Chairman, Mike Sweeney, who will retire this year after 22 years of service, in the final act to mark the 175th Anniversary of the first Regatta, held in 1839.

Ben Ainslie

With a host of World and Olympic Champions in action over the weekend, Sir Ben may well be quite familiar with some of the faces who win the open events.

In his own sport Sir Ben has a personal collection of twenty World and European titles. The most successful Olympic sailor in history, he also won the America's Cup last year with Team USA, and is now planning a British challenge to win the oldest silverware in sport.

Of those winning presentations one will have particular significance for the rowers from Harvard University. The Grand Challenge Cup has been awarded since 1839. It was won by Harvard one hundred years ago and that crew returned in 1964 to present a new Challenge Cup to the Regatta.

Sadly last year, their famous Head Coach, Harry Parker, died after 51 years coaching crews at Henley and other events around the world. This year some oarsmen from the University have gifted a new base, and so for the first time the cup and base will have both been donated by rowers from Harvard.

The Diamond Jubilee Challenge Cup, previously known as the Junior Women’s Quadruple Sculls, has a new silver cup kindly given to the Regatta by British Rowing. This cup was first contested in 1933 for a women’s event at the Thames Championships Regatta.

 


Image credit: Lloyd Images
For further information or interviews contact Caroline Searle or Alicia John in the Henley Royal Regatta press office on 01491 636121 or 01491 413877 or press@hrr.co.uk

By John Simm
3rd Jul, 10:45am
Inside Lines: Wednesday 2nd July, 2014

Daily briefing notes from the Press Office at Henley Royal Regatta

Today at Henley

The opening day of the 2014 Regatta featured an 80-race programme contested under largely blue skies.  Molesey B.C’s tight victory over Norwich R.C. in the Fawley Challenge Cup for junior men’s quads was one of the races of the day.
 


Revenge for Nereus

Dutch crew A.S.R Nereus produced the result of the opening day at the 175th anniversary Henley Royal Regatta today when they beat the University of California, Berkeley, in the Temple Challenge Cup for student men’s eights.

The verdict reversed the result in the final of the event three years ago and the damage was done at the very start with Nereus taking an early lead before going on to win.

“There were some revenge feelings but I think we can now focus on making the weekend”, said coach Teun van der Kroef.

Crews from all over the globe have arrived in Henley for this special Regatta.  A crew from Japan were amongst 20 international crew wins today.
 


Technique takes Japanese crew to victory

Tokyo’s Hitotsubashi University has long been a centre of rowing excellence but the award of the 2020 Olympic Games to the Japanese capital has added an extra level of motivation to both their training and racing.

“I’m very excited because the Olympic Games are coming to Tokyo and I want to row in my home Olympic Games”, explained Baku Hiraki. The six man from the Hitotsubashi crew had every right to think he might just be there after his crew had produced one of the morning’s outstanding performances to beat Cornell University’s ‘B’ crew by half a length in the Temple Challenge Cup for men’s eights.

What the Japanese crew gave away in terms of weight  to their American rivals - more than two stone a man - they more than made up for in technique. And the higher rating crew were never headed.

“I was very pleased with our race”, explained Hiraki, who is one of the three men from the Japanese crew who hopes to compete in the World Under 23 Championships for his country. “We don’t see events like Henley in Japanese rowing and being here is a very exciting experience.”

Hiraki’s crew train and race to the north of Tokyo on the course where the 1964 Olympic Regatta was held. Asked whether the Olympics might be held on the same course in 2020, Hiraki replied: “It’s a bit controversial because a new course would cost so much money but I think in the end they will build it and we can welcome the world of rowing to Tokyo.”
 


Former R.G.S Wycombe school boy Coaches ‘A’ crew to second round

R.G.S High Wycombe beat Wallingford RC’s ‘B’ crew in the first round of the Fawley Challenge Cup on Wednesday morning. The Junior men’s quadruple sculls is R.G.S through and through, as their coach Geoff Baker was a schoolboy there until 1953.

Baker also coaches at Leander and won a Commonwealth gold medal in the men’s double sculls in 1958. He commented on the performance of the boys after the race, saying: “The first race was really good. It was much as I expected them to row. The crew actually has two really good stroke men in it, so the rhythm is good and I was confident they would be able to maintain that all the way up the course, as they have in training”.

Baker described the preparation for Henley as “tenuous”, as the Regatta comes immediately after A-levels so it is difficult for the boys to strike a balance between racing and studying. R.G.S is a “very high achieving academic institution”, so the onus at this time of year is on results in the classroom as opposed to on the water. This did not deter the quad, however, winning by over two lengths in a time of 7:20.

It has also been a significant challenge for Baker to advance the R.G.S rowing club as the school predominantly focuses on rugby - the most recent example of the strength of the rugby club is London Wasps and England winger Christian Wade. “They aim to be the best rugby state school in the country and as a result rowing has been at a very low standing and it’s taken me ten years to get to where we are now”, said Baker.

However, the success of rowing at the school is increasing. “Boys come in at the bottom of the school now and realise that rowing can give them just as much prestige within the school as playing rugby can. It’s taken me 10 years and it’s been a struggle, but when I have a day like today it makes it worthwhile”, said Baker.
 


Sons of the fathers

Three of the men who won the Grand Challenge Cup at the Regatta in 1991 faced more than the usual nerves at Henley today. Martin Cross, Richard Stanhope and Jon Singfield all watched their sons compete in tough races in the opening heats. And all three dealt with the tension of watching their offspring perform in different ways.

Singfield, the coach of the St Edward’s School eight preferred not to watch his son Rupert in their tough head to head race against St Paul’s School. “I listened to the race from the boat tents”, said Singfield, who went on to explain: “It’s difficult for me because I’m his coach. I actually think he listens to me more as a coach than when he’s around the house”. After his crew’s impressive victory over the London School, Rupert Singfield  said: “ Now I’ve grown into my Dad coaching me and I can just treat him like any other coach. It doesn’t stop me from doing what I need to do, so it’s good".

Cross, working here in the Press office, watched his son, Frank, compete in a heat of the Wyfold Challenge Cup from the umpire’s launch. And there was no disguising the pride in Cross’ voice – despite the fact that his son’s four from Tideway Scullers were defeated by Cardiff RC. It felt great to see him out there on the Henley course. The important thing was that Frank and his crew performed well”, explained Cross. 

James Stanhope was the first of the trio of sons to come down the track in a heat of the Temple Challenge Cup. His Oxford Brookes’ ‘B’ eight had an extremely tough draw and acquitted themselves very well going down to a one-length defeat to The University of Michigan. James’ Dad was actually umpiring the race after the Brookes Vs Michigan contest and could therefore not watch his son’s race. But afterwards, James said: “He’s won stuff here and I’d like to emulate that, so it’s pretty cool to race here with your Dad around.” 
 


A Touch of Rowing Royalty

Tim Koch, author of the blog “Hear the Boat Sing”, played matchmaker for Henley Royal Regatta today when he invited as his guests daughter Sue and granddaughter Molly of Olympic medallist Bert Bushnell and Tizzy, daughter of his 1948 Olympic gold winning double sculls partner, Richard Burnell, as well as John Beresford, son of Jack Beresford who won five medals at five successive Olympic Games including three golds.

“I guess you could say we are part of rowing royalty”, quipped Sue Bushnell.  “My father had three daughters and six grand-daughters but none of  us have really turned to rowing competitively although we all rowed as a pastime”.
 


Oh to be a coach now Henley is here!

“My hands were shaking, I was sweating profusely and on a scale of nerves from 1-10, I think I was a 15”, said Teun Van Der Kroef.

It’s a tough job being a rowing coach. But after his A.S.R. Nereus eight beat an exceptionally strong Univ of California, Berkeley, crew in the Temple Challenge Cup, Van Der Kroef could at least draw breath. It was such an exciting race”, explained the Dutch coach, who told his crew that this would be their toughest race – if they could reach the weekend.

“In the talk before they got on the water, I told them that it was for moments like this that they had got up every morning to row at 7am.”

It was apparent to Van Der Kroef that his men were very nervous before the race but they channelled their nerves and produced an amazing start. It gave them just the edge they needed on the men from California and the Dutch were never headed. At the finish, despite repeated “Cal” attacks, Nereus secured a 3/4 Length verdict.

And there was a bit of history to add a real frisson to the contest. Three years ago, an eight from “Cal Berkeley” had beaten Nereus in the final and as Van Der Kroef explained: “There were some revenge feelings but I think we can now focus on making the weekend”.
 


Aussie Shake-up

“Well mate that race was a fair shake of the sauce bottle for us”, said Angus Widdicombe in a tongue in cheek verdict after his Mercantile RC crew recorded a three and three-quarter length win over Thames RC’s “C” crew.

It was a performance that more than justified his eight’s  status as one of the most fancied crews in the Thames Challenge Cup.

The Victorian crew has been together since May. Since then, in the words of their coach, Dave Fraumane: ‘We turned ourselves from a group of individuals into a close-knit brotherhood”.

In Fraumane’s eyes that cohesion was evident down the track today: “We stayed long and connected and were patient with every stroke. That’s important in the early heats because the competition will only get tougher.” Awaiting Mercantile in their half of the draw are the American and German powerhouses of Union Boat Club and Frankfurt Germania.

But Fraumane, who spent some time coxing Australia’s most famous rowing combination, “the Oarsome Foursome”, feels his men have a real heritage to draw on. “Having those guys around the club has been great for us and there’s a real model of how we want to move the boat”, he explained. Since the Victorian club arrived in the UK that slick, easy movement has been apparent in their victories at Marlow Regatta, as well as on the Henley course. It’s given them confidence, too. “We didn’t come from the other side of the world with any other intention but to win this event mate”, explained Widdicombe. It will take a very fast crew to stop the Aussies. 

 


Colwick Park Lifeguards to the rescue

A Warrington R.C. rower will be grateful today for the support of the Regatta’s stalwart Lifeguard service who have supported the Regatta for many years.  The Colwick Park Lifeguards leapt into action when the rower had an asthma attack part-way through the race.  He was duly rescued and taken swiftly and safely to the land-based medical centre whre he was given further treatment. 
 


Blue Peter in close-run race

Blue Peter, the BBC programme, decided that they would celebrate the 175th anniversary of Henley Royal Regatta with us by training to race on the world famous course.  Presenters Radzi and Lyndsey were coached for a few months by the team at Agecroft Rowing Club and took a day out to get some hot tips from the GB Rowing Team at Caversham last month.

Today they raced against each other in mixed double sculls with rowers xyz and xyz from Agecroft. Boy was it a close race! Not even their “mentor”, Olympic gold medallist Helen Glover, could have expected them to race so well. Many said it was a dead heat. To find out for certain, tune in to Blue Peter on July 17th.
 


And Finally…

Spotted at Henley today

Alan Titchmarsh of TV gardening fame,  “Lizzy Yarnold who won Skeleton gold at the Olympic Winter Games and, of course, those intrepid Blue Peter Presenters, Radzi and Lyndsey.
 


The press office at the Regatta can be contacted on: press@hrr.co.uk or 01491 636121

Staff on duty this year are: 

Press Assistants: Shaunagh Craig, Amy Woodman, Catherine Maude, Alicia John.
Broadcast assistant: Claire Acklng 
Inside Lines writers: Martin Cross, Matt Burrows. 
Press Officer: Caroline Searle

By John Simm
2nd Jul, 8:47pm
Revenge is sweet – three years on

Dutch crew A.S.R Nereus produced the result of the opening day at the 175th anniversary Henley Royal Regatta today when they beat the University of California, Berkeley, in the Temple Challenge Cup for student men’s eights.

The verdict reversed the result in the final of the event three years ago and the damage was done at the very start with Nereus taking an early lead before going on to win.

“There were some revenge feelings but I think we can now focus on making the weekend”, said coach Teun van der Kroef.

Crews from all over the globe have arrived in Henley for this special Regatta.  A crew from Japan were amongst 20 winners from 28 international crews in action today.

The two Olympic Champions in the single scull, Mirka Knapkova, of the Czech Republic and Mahe Drysdale, of New Zealand, will race in the events for female and male single scullers closer to the weekend.

The pick of the British-only races today came in the Princess Elizabeth Challenge Cup for schoolboy eights. St Edward’s School crushed St Paul’s School off the start to win a first round race which had all the prior hallmarks of a potential classic.

St Edward's vs St Paul's

Molesey B.C. were involved in one of the closer races of the day when they held off Norwich R.C. to progress after a ding-dong, course-long battle in the junior men’s quadruple sculls.

Top GB names like Olympic Champions Andrew Triggs Hodge, Pete Reed and Alex Gregory will be in action starting Saturday. 

The race programme starts tomorrow at 8.30am with another 80 races in store.

Excitement is building amongst the British crowd, who today enjoyed the sunshine in their thousands on the banks of the Thames, at the opportunity to watch the “new” British four this season as well as leading GB crews in the other events featuring the men’s and women’s eights and quadruple sculls amongst others.

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For further information or interviews contact Caroline Searle or Alicia John in the Henley Royal Regatta press office on 01491 636121 or 01491 413877 or press@hrr.co.uk

By John Simm
2nd Jul, 8:00pm
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