Saturday, July 2 2022

Holders: Leander Club

Entries: 9

This event sees national team crews from Great Britain, China, Australia, USA as well as some of the best club crews in the country and one of the best American college boats.

Henley will see the start of the season for a Britain Women’s Eight, race as Imperial College and Leander Club. This crew is made up of the best female sweep boats from the Belgrade World Cup, Rebecca Shorten, Heidi Long, Rowan McKellar and Sam Redgrave from the W4 gold medal– and Emily Ford and Esme Booth from the W2 gold medal -. They are joined by Rebecca Edwards (who last raced in the Eight at the Tokyo Games) and former U23 world champion Lauren Irwin in the racing seat. Mckellar and Shorten were both members of the W4- which finished fourth in Tokyo. Long and Redgrave made their senior debuts last season finishing fourth in the W2- at the third World Cup. Long, Redgrave and Irwin were all part of the Leander crew that won this event last year. It’s exciting to see a strong GB Women’s Eight, especially after the disappointing performance in Tokyo and it will be interesting to see if they stay in the eight for the rest of the international season, or, in fact, double down in the pair . and four. But, given that neither the W4 nor the W2 race at Henley, that would suggest the eight will be the crew for the next World Cup.

Rowing Australia made a number of changes to the crew that finished third in the Poznan World Cup and, like the Brits, bolstered the boat by bringing in experienced athletes from their W4-. Bronwyn Cox, Lucy Stephan, Katrina Werry and Annabelle McIintyre won the W4- in Poznan with convincing style. Stephan and McIntyre were also in the W4 – which won gold in Tokyo along with Cox, Werry Georgina Rowe and Georgia Patten, all of the Eight who finished fifth at the Olympics. In the racing seat is Emma Fessey who won bronze in the Eight at the 2018 World Championships. The least experienced member of the crew is Adelaide Rowing Club’s Ella Bramwell who made her international debut in Poznan. Australia have won this event twice (in 2001 and 2018) and will likely start this year as marginal favorites to claim their third title.

The United States (as Princeton Training Center & Advanced Rowing Initiative of the Northeast) follow the trend of Brits and Australians combining crews that have raced in smaller boats in World Cups. Jess Thoennes, Kelsey Reelick, Kristina Wagner and Charlotte Buck finished fourth in the W4- and Maddy Wannamaker and Claire Collins took silver in the W2- with Allyson Baker and Regina Salmons in fourth. Six crew members raced at the Tokyo Olympics with Thoennes, Buck and Salmons in the Eight which finished fourth, Wanamaker and Collins seventh in the W4- and Wagner fifth in the W2X. Princeton Training Center last won this event in 2016 and will no doubt contest my nomination of Australia as a favorite!

The Chinese national rowing team are one of the few nations racing at Henley to have competed in both World Cups so far this season. They had two eights racing in Belgrade and Henley’s crew is a hodgepodge of those two boats. In Poznan they had two fours and two pair running and their second four and both pair moved into the eight for Henley. Among the four, who finished eighth in Poznan, were Hairong Zhang, Mangyao Dai, Yixin Yang and Yuxia Zu. Both Chinese pairs finished sixth and seventh in Poznan with Xinyu Lin and Xiaoxin Liu in the trailing pair having finished sixth in Poznan and Shuxian Zhang and Yihui Wu sitting seventh at five and six. The Chinese are probably the weakest of the national team crews in the event, but expect to reach the semi-finals (assuming the draw does not put them against one of the other boats in the competition). national team in previous rounds).

The other entirely foreign participation in this event is the University of Washington. They come to Henley with eight of nine in their Varsity Eight that won NCAA silver this season. Like many American varsity crews, they have a very international flavor, with three Americans, two Italians and one from New Zealand, the Netherlands and Great Britain in their roster. They also have significant international racing experience amongst their crew; Aisha Rocek raced for Italy at the Tokyo Olympics finishing 12e in the W2-. His compatriot, Carmela Pappalardo has been part of the senior Italian squad since 2016 and was part of the W8 who finished sixth at the 2021 European Championships. McKenna Bryant and Teal Cohen were members of the gold medal winning US BW8 U23 squad last year and Holly Dunford won gold for GB in the U23 4- in 2021. Isabel van Opzeeland is another 2021 U23 medalist who won a silver behind USA in the BW8, (she is the only change to the UW varsity team, having left 2V). Holly Drapp also raced at the U23 World Championships for the USA, finishing fifth in BW4+ and the latest crew member is Kiwi Ella Cossill. She was named in the New Zealand U23 squad for 2021 but was unable to compete due to COVID restrictions. Washington won this event in 2000, and while they may not have the speed to beat the National Team boats, they will be looking to scare them as much as possible and might even fancy their chances against the Chinese.

Leander’s Club are the current holders of this event. Their crew for this year is made up of seasoned internationals, and while they won’t quite have the speed of the senior international crews, they will, like Washington, want to give their competition as much time as possible. The crew includes Chloe Brew who rowed in the GB W8 in Tokyo with Sam Courty who represented GB at the World Championships in 2019 finishing tenth in the W2- and Alice Davies, who made her senior international debut at the World Cup Sabaudia World in 2021. Sophia Heath and Issy Powell raced for Great Britain at the U23 World Championships and Juliette Perry and Issy Hawes raced the European U23s. The latest crew member is Annie Campbell-Order – she won her first GB jersey earlier this season at the Windermere Cup in Washington (where they beat Washington). The club is coming off a very successful Henley Women’s Regatta where members of this crew have won both the W4- and W2- Championships.

Leander also run as part of a composite with The Tideway Scullers School. It is a boat made up mainly of British athletes studying in the United States with Katy Kalap, Cordi Mahoney and Zoe Scheske from Princeton, Carla Russell from Michigan, Mryan Greene from Oregon and Olivia Caesar from UCLA.

Thames Rowing Club and the University of California at Berkeley are another interesting combination of athletes who are or have studied at American universities with a handful of international rowers based in London. Fernanda Cellabos Lara is a Mexican who studied at the University of Texas, Nicola Lawless, of St Pauls Girls School, rowed on the University of Virginia varsity team which finished 12e at the NCAA. Sophie Faliero has just completed her first year at the University of California at Berkeley. Another American-educated athlete who rowed for Harvard is Sarah Tisdall. The stern pair of the crew are both senior internationals. At seven in the crew is Claire Feerick, who rowed for Ireland in the second World Cup last year finishing fifth in the W2-. Germany’s Charlotte Wesselman strokes the boat – she raced in the Eight at the last World Cup in 2019.

The final crew of the event is the Tideway Scullers School and Universities of Western Australia Boat Clubs. This boat has Tokyo Olympian Harriet Taylor at two with former Australian lightweight international Thea Adamson at seven and U23 medalist Liliane Lindsay of the United States on the stroke.

Predictions: It’s going to be a great battle between the British, American and Australian crews. The home support can be a real help for GB and I can see the final being GB v Australia or USA (depending on the draw). My bet is on Australia just on the edge, but it should be a stunning event.


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