Despite having to contend with the wind, the rain, a seriously strong stream and a number of racing timetable changes (!), the Senior Women enjoyed an excellent weekend of racing at Henley Women’s Regatta, with 3 crews reaching finals (C4+, Elite Lwt 1x and Elite Lwt 4-) and the Elite Lwt 4- of Beks, Tina, Lorna and Caris coming home with some seriously shiny (special anniversary edition) winners’ medals (click link for photo) – CONGRATULATIONS!

Race Reports

Elite Lwt 4- – WINNERS! (Beks Edgar, Tina Albrecht, Lorna Brown, Caris Marsh)

There were just 3 entries in Elite Lwt 4- this year, and the MAA crew were given a “bye” to the final following a strong performance at Met Regatta earlier this season. This meant a nervous wait after weigh-in to see who their opposition would be – either Vesta or Oxford University. As expected, the Vesta crew dominated that race, setting up a re-match from Met Regatta, where the MAA crew had twice been the faster crew on the Saturday, but Vesta had turned the tables on the Sunday. At Henley, the Vesta crew had the slightly faster start and put in a big push coming past the Barn Bar, which saw them slightly edge ahead. However, rowing with great confidence and maturity the MAA crew kept their heads, absorbed the push, and then responded with one of their own coming into the last 500m. This saw them move out to an openwater lead, which they were not going to give up, and they crossed the line 1.75 lengths ahead. CONGRATULATIONS!

Elite Lwt 1x – FINALIST (Fran Rawlins)

Fran Rawlins was up against Emily Gade of UL in the final of Elite Lwt 1x, and definitely went into this race as the underdog. Gade has previously won Senior Lwt 1x at HWR, and recently took part in the US Olympic Trials for London 2012. Fran was however up for the fight, and produced an outstanding performance in which the two scullers were neck-and-neck the whole way down the course. The final verdict was a desperately close 2 foot to Gade – the closest verdict and fastest singles time of the day – but this was an amazing scull from Fran, who has only previously raced her single a handful of times.

Club 4+FINALISTS (Therese Coen/Claire Ridley/Cat Bruce/Rachel Crockford/Nicola Glogowski (cox))

Our Club 4+ had put in some excellent training in recent weeks and despite coming together as a crew relatively late in the day they had an an excellent regatta, making the final on Sunday afternoon after coming through a time trial on Friday (top 8 qualified) and then beating Staines (1.75 lengths) and Vesta (2.5 lengths). Unfortunately they then came up against a very strong Barnes Bridge Ladies crew, 3 of whom lost the final of this event last year. This crew proved too quick on the day for the MAA crew, but still an excellent result – hopefully we can go one better next year!

Senior Lwt 2x – SEMI FINALISTS -Starz Watterson and Jenny Bizley

In light of the adverse weather conditions the initial rounds of this event were decided by a time trial on Friday morning, from which the top 8 crews proceeded to side-by-side racing. Starz and Jenny raced well and made it through the time trial, and then went on to beat Barnes Bridge Ladies by an “easily” verdict in the quarter final that afternoon. They then came up against Marlow in the semi final on Sunday, but unfortunately were not quite quick enough on the day, losing by 2 lengths.

(Our other Senior Lwt 2x, Hayley and Rachel Kugele, scratched before racing started due to an unfortunate clash with an important job interview when the racing timetable was revised.)

Elite Lwt 2x – SEMI FINALIST (Alexa Szladowska and Emily Dickinson)

There were just 3 entries in Elite Lwt 2x this year, and the MAA 2x of Alexa and Emily were drawn against Wallingford (Greeves) in a semi-final to determine who would meet the other Wallingford 2x (Burgess) in the final. Wallingford have been developing a very strong lightweight squad over the last couple of years and unfortunately Alexa and Emily did not make it through. The crew which beat them then narrowly missed out in the final, losing by just two-thirds of a length.

Senior Lwt 1x – QUARTER FINALIST – Rachel Drayson (also raced: Chihiro Fukushima, Nicola Fitsimon and Arden Gill)

In light of the adverse weather conditions the initial rounds of this event were also decided by a time trial on Friday morning, from which the top 8 scullers proceeded to side-by-side racing. Unfortunately only Rachel made it through the time trial, sculling very well in extremely tricky conditions. She then raced a sculler from Llandaff (Evans) in the quarter final on Friday afternoon, and put up a good fight but ultimately struggled in the conditions. As a “super-lightweight” she was quite literally picked up by the wind and deposited on the other side of the course at one point (!) and unfortunately did not make it through to the semis on Sunday.

Senior 1x – Gemma Peck and Suzahn Vermaak

Once again, the entries in this event were whittled down to 8 by means of a time trial on Friday morning. Unfortunately both MAA scullers struggled in the difficult conditions, and did not make it through to the side-by-side racing that afternoon. Racing a single at Henley is always tricky, and this year’s conditions were particularly difficult – hopefully it has not put them off and they will be back to winning ways later in the season!