conditions - Clear, bright and gusting headwinds
The day began with huge cheers before the racing had even started as the Poland/Ukraine double of Olena Buriak and Agnieszka Kobus-Zawojska took to the pontoons. They made it through to Saturday’s Semi-finals Day in the Stonor Challenge Trophy (Women’s Double Sculls) in fine fashion beating the American duo of Meena Baher and Hailey Mead (Redwood Scullers, U.S.A.) in Race 2.
Kobus-Zawojska and Buriak racing for Ukrainian Rowing Federation, Ukraine and Akademicki Zwiazek Sportowy Akademia Wychowania Fizycznego Warszawa,
Poland have only been training together six weeks, but led from the front with a powerful start and held off a late comeback.
Wearing kit designed specially for this Regatta with the colours of Ukraine and Poland merged they were cheered over the line.
The Mighty Lighties
Kobus-Zawojska and Buriak will face Anneka Reardon and Lucy Coleman (Rowing Australia, Australia) - the mighty lighties - who overcame the British openweight development duo of Vwaire Obukohwo and Katherine George in Race 10.
The British double had a lead coming past Temple Island but the Australians came through by the quarter-mile and controlled the race from the front. The tricky headwind conditions favoured the heavyweights, but Australians experience and skill told.
Brookes v Triton II: the revenge?
After Durham beat their ‘B’ boat in the The Temple Challenge Cup (Student Men's Eight) 40 minutes earlier in Race 5, Oxford University Brookes ‘A’ won the equivalent of the domestic final - and quarter-final here - against University of London ‘A’, in Race 11. London, who were second in the BUCS (university championships to Brookes, flew out on the start but Brookes had pulled ¾ length clear at Barrier (1:48), got clear water by halfway, and controlled from the front.
Brookes will now try to prove themselves the best in the world. Tomorrow they face their nemesis Utrechtsche Studenten Roeivereeniging Triton, who had a tougher time beating University of British Columbia, Canada in Race 24 just over an hour later. Triton led by two feet at Barrier (1:52) but could not get clear water. They were pushed all the way to the line.
Triton, the Dutch favourites, shocked them at the quarter-final stage last year, breaking Brookes in the quarter-finals with one of the great Henley comebacks.
A fine finish
The session closed with one of the races of the morning, the postponed Race 14 in The Town Challenge Cup (Women's Coxless Four). Leander Club A, the holders, are not the favourites here, but won the Championship Coxless Fours at Henley Women’s Regatta and showed their mettle against the Rowing Australia four. They were ¾ length up at Barrier, were overtaken at the start of the Enclosures but re-took the lead and won by ½ length.
Conditions: Clear, bright and gusting headwinds
China’s gold quad
The draw left Leander Club, the holders of The Princess Grace Challenge Cup (Women's Quad Sculls), facing a formidable early challenge against the favourites, the Chinese National Rowing Team, who won Henley 2019 (the first Chinese winners at the Regatta). The Chinese crew includes three of the quad that won gold in Tokyo - Yunxia Chen, Yang Lyu and Xiao Tong Cui. The fourth member of the crew is Shiyu Lu, she raced in the W4- in Tokyo. Leander were quickly left behind in Race 36 and were 3 ½ lengths down at Barrier.
The Chinese are as beautiful to watch and as dominant in their event as Shiplake College look in the The Diamond Jubilee Challenge Cup (Junior Women's Quad Sculls). Shiplake were similarly untroubled in beating Lea Rowing Club in Race 53 and led by two lengths at Barrier in a time of 2:17 - the Chinese were there in 2:11.
USA-Australian Olympic duo
In Race 37, straight after the Chinese quad, the USA-Australian pair of Meghan Musnicki and Jessica Morrison, racing as California Rowing Club looked in great shape as they beat the Yale University, USA pair in The Hambleden Pairs Challenge Cup (Women's Pair) despite spending a bit of time on the booms halfway up the Course.
USA’s Musnicki is a two-time Olympic gold medallist (London and Rio) five-time World Champion. She was fourth at the Tokyo Olympics in the Women’s Eight. Australia’s Morrison won gold in the Women’s Coxless Four in Tokyo.
It was a powerful day for the domestic schools in The Princess Elizabeth Challenge Cup (Junior Men’s Eight) as the last two overseas challengers were knocked out.
Firstly, In Race 42, St Paul’s School overcame King’s School Parramatta, Australia, the winners in 2001, who have been getting faster every day since they arrived two weeks ago but did not have enough to upset the 2018 champions.
St Paul’s blasted out of the start and led by ¾ length at at Barrier (1:53 - the same time as Radley College and Eton College in the morning). King’s looked composed and attacked repeatedly through the second half, but St Paul’s were always able to respond and won by ¾ length.
Near the end of the session, in Race 52, King’s College School, Wimbledon booked their semi-final with St Paul’s by ending the romantic run of Woodrow Wilson, USA - the state-funded Washington D.C. school making their first appearance at the Regatta. King’s were two lengths up at Barrier (1:54) and pulled away remorselessly.
Oliver Zeidler, Germany’s 6ft 8in European and World Champion single sculler closed the session with a controlled win over Sam Marsh in Race 55. Marsh (Rowing Australia) led Zeidler (racing for Frankfurter Rudergesellschaft Germania 1869 e.V., Germany) out of Temple Island, but was soon overhauled and Zeidler led by a length at Barrier (2:17) and took charge from the front.
Conditions: Clear, bright and blustery winds
Vesta valiant comeback
Vesta Rowing Club produced the comeback of the day and possibly the Regatta so far by overhauling Sydney Rowing Club, Australia in the last third of the 2,112m Course in The Wargrave Challenge Cup (Club Women’s Eight).
Sydney led off the start, but Vesta (who row out of Putney) were already edging back and were ½ length down at Barrier (2:05). They looked unruffled and climbed the ladder and rowed through Sydney at The Mile. There was just a moment where it looked like Sydney might counter, but Vesta then extended and finished impressively, ¾ length clear.
New Zealand Olympic pair through
Matt Macdonald and Tom Mackintosh, racing for Waiariki Rowing Club, opened the evening session (Race 56) with a controlled win over Stocovaz & Pienaar (The Ivy Club & Princeton, USA) in The Silver Goblets & Nickalls' Challenge Cup (Men’s Pair).
The New Zealanders' composure and power were not a surprise, Macdonald and Mackintosh were part of NZ’s Olympic gold medal-winning eight from Tokyo and as a pair won World Cup II a fortnight ago.
Remenham favourites flex
The evening session saw the three favourites have their first outings of the Regatta in The Remenham Challenge Cup (Women's Eight).
The Australia, USA and Great Britain international eights all went through comfortably.
Rowing Australia might be considered marginal favourites but they had the toughest race against a spirited University of Washington in Race 60. Australia were the fastest to Barrier (1:59) and then preserved a two length lead to the end.
Australia have four of the eight that were fifth at the Tokyo Olympics and like their rivals here are combining crews that dominated in smaller boats at the World Cups. They have two of the four (W4-), Lucy Stephan and Annabelle McIntyre, who won gold in Tokyo.
Forty minutes later, the Great Britain women’s eight, racing as Imperial College and Leander Club (a combination that won in 2014 and were runner’s up in 2015 and 2019) beat The Tideway Scullers’ & University of Western Australia by a distance. They were two lengths up at Barrier (2:01) and five ahead by the start of the Enclosures before easing off. The Regatta will be their debut as an eight. They include the top sweepers from World Cup I who won coxless four (W4-)and the pair. Three of the eight were in the Leander Club boat that won last year and Sam Redgrave, part of that four, doubled up and won the Hambleden Pairs too.
An hour later, in Race 77, USA, racing as Princeton Training Center (winners in 2016) & Advanced Rowing Initiative of the Northeast, beat the holders, Leander Club.
USA have six Tokyo Olympians, with three of the eight who finished fourth ahead of Australia by just over a second. They were 1 ¼ lengths up at Barrier (2:01) and 4 ½ at the finish.