Off the Water Raw: Day Six

Bronte Cullen

We spoke to Bronte Cullen of St. Catherine’s School about her experience competing in the final of Henley Royal Regatta.

How does it feel to cross that line first?

Absolutely exhilarating. It feels like nothing else!

You’ve come into this as national champions, was there pressure to come and face the international crews?

Obviously there was a lot of pressure but throughout the week we’ve tried to relax as much as possible and detach from all the extra added pressure.

How did today’s race go for you?

I’ve tried to take a step back and relax and trust the process, but today has just been amazing, our crew put our best effort forward, and we couldn't be more proud of everyone.

It’s a long long way to come, what is it about this crew, why do you feel like it’s been so successful?

We’re just the best group of nine girls you could get. Everyone loves each other so much and it’s just amazing to have been with them. I think I owe it to them for all this.

HOW's the support been at home?

I just want to say to all our parents, all our family and everyone back in Australia, thank you for all of your support, it just means the world. 

Jessica Eastwood & Natalie Kernan

We spoke to Jessica Eastwood (stroke) & Natalie Kernan (cox) of Thames Rowing Club ‘A’ – winners of The Wargrave Challenge Cup 2022.

Congratulations! a new course record by 12 seconds - how was the race for you?

[Natalie] We had a plan, we stuck to the plan and we executed the plan, the girls gave 110% and it all went well!

[Jessica] Nothing more to add there really! I think we were so hungry for it and executed the plan the best we could. The race of our season

[Natalie] The race of our lives!

Obviously you girls would’ve known you were fast before this, but is this the result you were expecting? And by that margin?

[Natalie] The margin was a great surprise but the girls did exactly what we planned to do and knew anything was possible! They’re incredibly fast.

Jessica, just how satisfying is it beating Leander, especially having been on the losing side in this final last year?

[Jessica] Amazing! Credit to them, they’re a brilliant club. They are fast and amazing but we went in there hungrier than ever. Seven out of the nine of us were in the same crew last year so we couldn’t have wanted it more.

And just to put it into perspective, you all have full time jobs - how do you manage to fit in training around work?

[Jessica] It’s quite frantic actually! There’s people in our Henley accommodation writing PhDs and catching up on emails, massive amounts of juggling but it’s so rewarding.

[Natalie] When everyone is in the same boat as each other, having to work, it makes us so much more tolerant of each other - because we’re all working together for the same thing, it all makes it worth it.

X.D. Yi

We caught up with X.D. Yi after his crew – Chinese National Rowing Team – won The Queen Mother Challenge Cup.

Tell me what it means to the crew to win Henley?

It’s our first time racing Henley but it’s nice to be able to blend Chinese culture with Western culture and be part of this international event and there’s lots to learn from the British here.

Tell me about today's race, how did it go for you?

We felt confident coming into this and knew we could win it, and we did just that!

Sebastian Marsoner

We spoke to Sebastian Marsoner from St. Paul’s School to find out how it felt to win The Princess Elizabeth Challenge Cup.

What is the feeling like winning your first Henley Royal Regatta?

Honestly the best feeling I could ever recommend to anyone. I’ve dreamt of this since 2018 when I was in my first year in school and the older guys set the course record and since then I’ve wanted to be that, and having just done that is truly the best feeling, given the loss in the final last year. The competition this year has been even closer, much closer than anticipated

There's been just 2 returners from last year’s crew and I think this may be the youngest winning crew of the PE, and i’d love to give the younger guys in the boat a shout out because they’ve been amazing. They feel like the younger brothers i’ve never had. And also a massive thank you to all of the staff at St. Pauls, the cox, and also to the Brit Champs silver medalists last year for being phenomenally supportive 

What is it about Henley? How does St. Paul’s manage to switch it on so successfully?

Henley is 90% recovery, it’s about making sure you’re well rested, well slept, I can probably bet that we have slept the most out of any other crew in this regatta haha. We also keep it fun, enjoying the moment