THE Great Britain junior women’s eight, made up entirely of Henley Rowing Club athletes, picked up the first win of the annual regatta against France in Nantes last weekend.
In all there were 10 members of Henley’s successful junior women’s squad chosen to represent Great Britain.
The Henley crew of Florence Wiggins, Lauren Edwards, Maddie Orr, Ellie Thompson, Hattie Orr, Clare Pearson, Ella Morgan, Lily Stimpson and cox Rebecca Lister had qualified to row as the GB eight after a series of gruelling time trials at the end of June.
Accompanied by Emma Lister as spare rower, the Henley girls, who had already tasted success in the schools’ head, women’s head and national schools regatta, travelled to France with the GB squad several days before the regatta to prepare themselves for their first international honours.
The GB crew were fast off the start of the 1,500-metre course along the river Erdre and they showed the desire to command the water over the French boat with a canvas lead in the first 250 metres.
As they reached the half way mark the Henley girls pushed on further ahead to lead by more than a length.
By the time the GB boat reached the regatta enclosure they were a clear length-and-a-half in front.
The French eight, renowned for their fast finishes, raised their rate significantly as they rowed past the enclosure into the final 250 metres to try and regain the lead.
The Henley girls responded with a clear determination to win, and with commanding composure, powered ahead to win the race by two lengths.
The J16 GB squad scored a further nine victories in the regatta to win the event by 10 races to three.
Henley’ junior women’s coach David Lister, who accompanied the crew at the regatta, said: “The GB junior women won every event, demonstrating the exceptional standard of girls rowing and sculling in this country.
“After all the successes at Henley Rowing Club this season, we shall continue to lead the way in developing junior women athletes for international honours. I’m proud to coach such a committed group of young women and their performance this weekend was an indication of the strength of talent in the squad at Henley Rowing Club.”