YOUNG athletes who rowed the royal barge Gloriana at Henley Royal Regatta have described it as a “once in a
YOUNG athletes who rowed the royal barge Gloriana at Henley Royal Regatta have described it as a “once in a lifetime” experience.
Eighteen junior scullers from Henley, Upper Thames and Leander rowing clubs were chosen to row the royal barge along the regatta course before the prize-giving ceremony on Sunday last week.
Henley Rowing Club member Malcolm Lindsay, 17, of St Mark’s Road, said it had been a “privilege”.
The Henley College student said: “We found out a couple of weeks beforehand — I think they just chose the older members of the squad.We just jumped in the boat and they told us what to do. Rowing past the grandstand was exciting but I wasn’t really nervous. It was a new experience to be rowing with other crews but it was a once in a lifetime opportunity.”
Gloriana transported the Queen down the Thames last summer during a river pageant to celebrate her diamond jubilee. Days before the regatta, the barge was rowed by 18 Olympians, including gold medallists Katherine Grainger and Anna Watkins. Leander Club athlete Martin Yarwood, 16, a student at The Henley College, said it was a “special feeling” to know he had been in the same boat.
He said: “I never thought I would be selected to even be in the same boat as these names.”
Martin, who is currently living with a host family in Fair Mile, had been a spare for one of the junior quads but didn’t get to race at the regatta. He said it was a nice consolation to be part of the Gloriana crew, adding: “I didn’t find out until a couple of days before so it was a nice surprise.
“It’s something you can say that you did and it was a special feeling.”
Crowds in the enclosures applauded the rowers, who then paused to salute the grandstand by raising their oars.
Martin said: “It felt like we were part of something worthwhile. People seemed to appreciate it as much as we did and it was a highlight of the event because the boat is so iconic. It was nice to associate with people you see training along the water all the time.”