Thursday, 05 August 2021

Upper Thames aim to build on success

UPPER Thames Rowing Club have again entered a large contingent into Henley Royal Regatta.

UPPER Thames Rowing Club have again entered a large contingent into Henley Royal Regatta.

Their top ranked crew is competing in the Visitors’ Cup, comprised of four winners from last year’s triumphant Wyfold and Britannia Cup crews.

The crew of Luke Wootton, Michael Nagi, Sam Barnes and Jake Davidson will be mixing it with talented crews from the USA and Australia in an event that is regarded as a proving ground for world and Olympic standard athletes.

In previous years the winners of club events at Henley have found this level of competition extremely tough, as everyday jobs and the sort of commitments people generally have outside of international rowing make it nigh-on impossible to match the training regimes of their counterparts.

However, the quartet have improved on their winning club performances from last year and go into the event in a positive frame of mind.

The club’s director of rowing, Justin Sutherland, said: “The fact that this crew have put in a serious effort the year after such a landmark victory for our club in 2014 speaks volumes about their passion and enthusiasm for the sport.

“It is extremely rare for a crew that receives no funding from GB Rowing to even put themselves forward for the Visitors’ Cup, let alone try to improve on results achieved in their ‘club’ careers”.

“We are proud of what this crew is doing for us simply by competing at this level and hope to ruffle a few feathers when the racing starts.”

The best chance the club may have of repeating last year’s success may come in the Wyfold Cup. Upper Thames have entered three coxless fours, the fastest two of which contain athletes who have come up through the ranks over the last few years. It is a measure of the strength in depth there now is at the club that more than one crew is within striking distance of a trophy.

In the Britannia Cup, there are two entries defending the title. Both are lower ranked crews than in the coxless fours, but one in particular contains relative newcomers to the sport who will find the Henley experience pivotal in their medium term development for 2016.

There is also a quadruple scull entered into the Prince of Wales Cup and a women’s quadruple scull in the Princess Grace Cup. The club entry is finished off by an ever-improving Thames Cup eight who are hopeful of getting through several rounds.

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