Posted: 24 June 2024

Last weekend a record number of over 2,300 female athletes (579 crews) descended on Henley upon Thames for Henley Women’s Regatta. Twenty-four Scottish crews made the journey south to race, spanning across Championship, Aspirational, Academic, Development, Junior and Para-rowing events, with 3 of these crews walking away with silverware for their efforts!

Sunday’s first final saw Edinburgh University BC retain the Frank V Harry Cup for Development Coxed-Fours after winning the event in 2023. The crew of Grace Champman, Erica Watt, Millie Drury, Katie Robertson, coxed by Theo Murphy, were dominant in all of their races across the weekend, performing in a way that coach Mike Hughes will undoubtably be proud to have watched!

Crews from the University of St Andrew’s BC and University Rowing Aberdeen also performed admirably in this event, with the former losing to the winning Edinburgh University crew in the Semi-Final, and the latter losing out to the finalists from Upper Thames by a gruelling half-length in the Quarter-Final.

The second Scottish victory of the day came from St Andrew BC’s Samantha-Louise Gough, in the Grosvenor Cup for PR3 Women’s Single Sculls. Samantha was taking part in only her second ever race, and her first in the single scull. Samantha, a Visually Impaired (B1) athlete who took up rowing only 12 months ago alongside her Blind Football international career. Navigating the Henley stretch between the booms is a daunting thought for the toughest of rowers, but doing so with no light or shape perception is another level (at least) – thanks to the hard work of the organisers of Henley Women’s Regatta, Samantha was able to be steered through a radio earpiece by Scottish Rowing’s Lead Performance Pathway Coach, Tom Young, from the Umpires Launch. Safe to say that Samantha’s fearlessness made her hard to beat in the event as she starts her rowing career in absolute style, again, no doubt doing her coach, Lindsay Flockhart, proud as he watched nervously on the HWR livestream.

The final Scottish club to walk away with a trophy was Aberdeen Schools Rowing Association, after a delay of nearly 45mins at the start due to their opponents having a technical issue, the 5 junior women composed themselves and executed an exemplary race to take home the Groton School Challenge Cup for Junior Coxed-Fours, repeating the feat previously done by the club at the 2022 Regatta, and the fourth time in as many years that a Scottish club has taken home this trophy. The crew of P. Irvine, S. Sinclair, J. Aspinall, C. Arthur, coxed by L. Arthur and coached by Holly Reid will have no doubt been more than content during their long journey home to Aberdeen after defeating a formidable crew from Kingston Grammar School.

Edinburgh University BC came agonisingly close to taking home two trophies from the regatta, when their Aspirational Academic Eight raced Oxford Brookes University BC in the final of the Colgan Foundation Cup. The Edinburgh crew led for much of the race, but in the end lost by just ¾ of a length to the crew from Brookes, who they have had several battles with over the course of this season. Coach, John Higson will be looking to get revenge in just over a weeks’ time when the crews could meet again at Henley Royal Regatta in the Island Challenge Cup for Student Eights.

Two other crews from Scotland raced early Sunday afternoon, first was Clydesdale ARC’s crew of Rebecca Setford and Nina Oehlckers in the Haslam Trophy raced the eventual winners of the Championship Lightweight Double Scull from Dart Totnes ARC. The second crew was the Championship Pair from Strathclyde Park RC, who lost out to a crew from Thames RC full of rowing pedigree. Isla Wilding (formerly of George Watson’s College BC, now studying at Brown University) and Amy Newton (formerly of George Heriots’ School RC, now studying at Michigan University) teamed up after returning to Scotland following their races at NCAA regatta in the US, having won the Jo Pinder Trophy for Women’s Pairs at the Scottish Championships a few weeks ago, they now set their sights on a place at Henley Royal Regatta in the Hambledon Pairs Challenge Cup.

Aberdeen Schools Rowing Association and University Rowing Aberdeen graduate, and World under-23 medallist, Abigail Topp was another trophy-winning Scot over the weekend, as she claimed victory in the Avril Vellacott Cup for Championship Coxless-Fours with her crew from Leander Club defeating local rivals Molesey BC in the final on Sunday afternoon.

A full list of results can be found on the Henley Women’s Regatta Website here
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