UPPER THAMES are fielding a club record 52 athletes at this year’s regatta, beating the 50 entered
UPPER THAMES are fielding a club record 52 athletes at this year’s regatta, beating the 50 entered in 2013 on the occasion of the club’s half centenary.
Top of the rankings are two equally matched coxless fours in the Wyfold Cup, each stroked by previous Henley winners Mike Nagi and Jake Davidson.
Over the course of the season so far both crews have fought it out for top place but neither has been able to secure a lasting dominance.
The new ruling which allows one previous winner back into the coxless four event has given Nagi and Davidson a second chance to win Henley medals which until last December was not an option for previous club winners.
The duo live together in Henley, and now find themselves battling it out for Henley honours. To make matters more intense a third housemate, Laurence Manning, owns the property and has found himself in Davidson’s boat.
Manning said: “In 2013 I lost in the final of the Thames Cup with Mike and Jake, so we won’t relish the prospect of racing each other. It’s a pity we can’t all win as part of the same crew, but the others have already won and I haven’t yet so my sympathies don’t extend beyond wanting a medal of my own I’m afraid.”
The club’s veterans are also hopeful of qualifying a crew in the Thames Cup after doing well in recent years in domestic masters rowing. They will enter as the club’s B crew, since an A crew made of regular men’s squad youngsters are faster and therefore have senior billing.
The A crew features two Oxford University students, Eddie Rolls and Andy Saul, who are looking to expand their rowing experience beyond the more traditional Oxford college bumps racing. The duo are joined by Tom Hole who left Oxford last year, Rob Leach from Caversham, Chris Lowe and Chris Clark.
The Britannia Cup four of Aaron Jarvis, Hamish Miller, Jim Kirkbride and Jake Richards come from far and wide demonstrating the competitive nature of the domestic rowing scene these days.
The time of drawing athletes purely from within walking or comfortable cycling distance of Henley is long gone and testament to the high regard in which Upper Thames is now held as one of the country’s leading clubs for non-Olympic athletes.
Richards, an Australian, has been training at the club since January as part of a successful preparation for entrance into Washington University’s world-renowned rowing programme.
A third Wyfold crew is expecting to have to go through the qualifying races tonight (Friday) and two double sculls and a single are entered in the Double Sculls and Diamond Sculls respectively. There is also a women’s eight entered for the Remenham Cup this year comprised of a mixture of youth and experience.”
Director of rowing, Justin Sutherland, said: “The problem with being successful in the past is that everyone assumes it’s simple to repeat it. There are very strong entries as usual from all over the world, and the standard continues to creep ever-upwards. But with a little luck we can do well again this year. To have so many members at Henley is a tribute to all the volunteers who put in so much time and speaks volumes about the club spirit we have.”