Henley Women’s Regatta 2024

Oxford Brookes Women claim both the Championship and Academic Eights at Henley Women’s Regatta

In a spectacular repeat of the results from last season, Brookes retained both the Ron Needs Challenge Cup for Championship VIIIs and the Colgan Foundation Cup for Academic VIIIs. Last year’s result was a first for the regatta. To repeat the same feat, alongside other notable results, further characterizes the incredible work being put in by the entire women’s group to raise the quality of their training and racing performances.

These results set the entire group up towards mounting a challenge towards Henley Royal Regatta next week. After a fantastic display of rowing across the first two days of competition meant that Oxford Brookes ‘A’ raced Oxford Brookes ‘B’ in a bid to make the A-Final. With a powerful start, Brookes ‘A’ took an early lead out the end of the island. The ‘B’ crew fought extremely hard the whole way along the 1500m course and were able to row back on the ‘A’ crew in the closing stages. The 1st VIII progressed with a winning margin of half a length. Some invaluable racing experience for the ‘B’ crew who will look forward to racing in the Island Challenge Cup in a week’s time.

In the final, Brookes ‘A’ were to race Leander ‘A’, a new look combination compared to races from earlier in the season at WEHORR and Ghent. Brookes made a fantastic start on the Berkshire station and took an advantage out towards the barrier immediately. This lead slowly crept out into the middle part of the course; rowing in emphatic style, Brookes broke clear water after 600m. Oxford Brookes rowing in the Keith Kelly racing shell, crossed the finish line 6 seconds ahead of a talented crew from Leander. The “elite VIII” category at HWR has not been retained by a single club in over 30 years, a phenomenal achievement.

Brookes were also looking to retain their title in the Academic VIII. After some prolific performances throughout the weekend, Brookes drew Edinburgh University in the final. In an astonishing race, Edinburgh led for well over half the course. Brookes held their nerve in exemplary fashion to steadily eat away at the lead of the Scottish university. Coming in to the final 500m, Brookes, on the Bucks station came back to level and with an explosive sprint were able to cross the line to win the academic category by a half a length. Oxford Brookes have won this event five times since 2018.

Alongside the racing in eights, fantastic performances were put together by both the Championship and Academic Fours. Both crews made their respective Semi Final’s and rowed beautifully throughout the weekend. The Brookes squad now focus towards their final preparations after a huge show of the depth through the entire team ahead of Henley Royal Regatta in a weeks time. Brookes race Henley Qualifiers this Friday afternoon.

Photos courtesy of AllMarkOne