On a stunning day in the Thames Valley, with a brisk tailwind keeping spectators cool and boats fast during the morning session, record fell on the Friday. Imperial College broke every marker record to finish the course two seconds inside the existing time in the Prince Albert Challenge Cup. The University of Washington beat the record set by A.S.R. Nereus to the Fawley marker in the Temple Challenge Cup whilst numerous other times were equalled across the morning session.
2018 will be remembered as the year when juniors took to the fore in events over which they do not usually preside. Montclair Mounties, a schoolboy combination racing in the Thames Challenge Cup, reached the club eights semi-final after defeating an outfit from Cork Boat Club, Ireland. St Paul’s School continue to look indomitable in the Princess Elizabeth Challenge Cup, defeating Latymer School with ease. Elsewhere, Maidenhead’s national title-winning quad wouldn’t look out of place in the Prince of Wales Challenge Cup after another consummate performance in their quarter-final.
The closest race of the Regatta so far came in an event that only celebrates its sixth birthday this year. The Diamond Jubilee has a lot to offer after four-times winners Gloucester did not enter a crew to defend their title, and it has not disappointed. After Y Quad Cities Rowing Association knocked out home favourites Henley, Latymer shared the contest of the day with Ruderverein Kreuzgasse E.V., Koln, Germany, with the Tideway-based boat taking the win by a single foot.
The American crews at the Regatta continued their assault on the Temple Challenge Cup. The University of Washington, winners of the overall points trophy at the IRA National Championships, beat 2015 winners A.S.R Nereus whilst Yale and Princeton shared a lung-buster down the course just before the lunch break. In the end, the East Coast Bulldogs defeated the Tigers by a canvas. Yale will now meet long-term rivals Washington in a blockbuster Saturday semi-final.
Two of GB’s brightest young pairs came head-to-head on the Henley stretch in a race that many would have felt they could predict beforehand. Josh Bugajski and James Rudkin, a combination for Great Britain in the latest World Cup, were strong favourites and led by clear water at one point during the race. They appeared to wind down a little too much, as a powerful sprint from Rossiter and Glenister of Leander Club ran them down in the closing metres.
Saturday at Henley Royal Regatta is an intense collection of sporting moments encased by banks of social revelry and archetypal English summer. In the Temple Challenge Cup, Washington face Yale in a re-match of the top two at the IRA National Championships, whilst we’ll also see Leander look to go one better than last year as they meet N.S.R Oslo in the Thames Challenge Cup semi-finals. We also see the Great Britain’s men’s eight for the first time, taking on a combination from Australia, whilst the University of Washington’s Remenham Cup crew face Leander and the University of London.