Brookes qualified 66 athletes across 10 crews into the regatta, this was bolstered by another 8 members of British National team racing in The Grand Challenge Cup, Stewards and Goblets.
The week culminated in a whitewash of the Student Men’s Sweep events. This is a first for the regatta. Brookes claimed their 5th Temple Challenge Cup in 8 years and regained the Prince Albert Challenge Cup for the first time since 2009. With one of the largest entries ever and challenged by the most competitive rowing teams globally, this is one of the standout achievements in the boats club’s history.
After missing out last year, a large group of student athletes returned this year. In the Temple Challenge Cup, having defeated University of London and Triton (NED) in earlier rounds, the crew faced the University of Washington (USA) in the final – a rematch of the Temple 2018 final. Despite remaining level in the first part of the race, Brookes coxed by Will Denegri, broke clear passing through Fawley and continued to stretch their lead away to win by 4 ½ lengths.
The Prince Albert Challenge Cup raced strikingly throughout the week to face California Berkeley (USA) in the final. After being led narrowly through the middle part of the race, the crew held their nerve to edge away and win by a length. An astonishing achievement for all five crew: Amie Jones in her last race for Brookes, Jack Prior & Louis Nares after missing out last year and the young talent of Blaise Ivers-Dreux & Marco Tognazzi.
The Brookes Women also had a regatta to be proud of. Brookes A and B drew each other on the Thursday in the Island Challenge Cup and put on a true show of the strength and confidence in the squad. Brookes went on to beat California (USA) in the quarter final, one of the standout results for the team in recent history. After delivering the perfect race in the Semi Final, they lost out to Brown (USA) who went on to win. The Town W4- only formed late in the season and faced a strong national team crew from New Zealand with multiple Olympians on board. A gutsy effort pushed the Kiwi’s the whole way down the course.
The Brookes contingent who graduated into the Senior team last year were also back in action. Oxford Brookes got to keep their name on the Grand Challenge Cup after some excellent racing. Rory Gibbs and Morgan Bolding getting their hands on it finally! The Stewards Four narrowly missed out by 1 foot to the Australian champions. Sam Nunn having been injured since last HRR, has made a remarkable comeback, being supported by athletes who all won at last year’s regatta for Brookes Rowing. Quentin Antognelli returned from the international circuit to race in Brookes colours once more, missing out in the Semi Final to Ollie Ziedler in the Diamonds. Jamie Copus raced well against tough opposition in the Double Sculls.
In a season, where several wrote Brookes off, as having a “rebuild” year, this was one of the most successful ever. Backed up by every member of an outstanding team of athletes, coaches and supporters. Every individual has had a huge role to play in every success and there is an exciting future for such an inspiring team of young people.
Director of Brookes Rowing Richard Spratley said: “I’m absolutely thrilled with our results at Henley. It was our best year ever competing against a strong international opposition. We have demonstrated that Brookes Rowing is head and shoulders above UK rowing universities, and one of the best rowing universities in the world.
“Our performance at Henley sets us up for success next year when we will be focusing on building the strength of our women’s elite athletes.”
This marks the end of the season for much of the team; however, a number look toward selection for the upcoming World and European Senior/U23 Championships.
Photos courtesy of AllMarkOne 📸