Quality shines through at HWR

Crews from both sides of the Atlantic braved inclement conditions this weekend to contest an absorbing 25th anniversary Henley Women’s Regatta.

The landmark event for women rowers has grown enormously in its first quarter of a century, and once again attracted hundreds of UK and US crews to compete on the historic Henley stretch of the Thames.

Strong winds and stream forced regatta organisers to reschedule numerous races across the weekend, but the assembled rowers refused to let the changeable conditions dampen the festival atmosphere as HWR celebrated its silver anniversary.

Wallingford’s rowers had a weekend to remember, enjoying the most wins of any club at this year’s regatta.

The junior crew of Hannah Whelan, Freya Dale, Leanne Reeves and Alice Walker bested 15 domestic and international crews to finish top of the J16 coxless quads, completing a memorable treble after similar success at the National Schools’ Regatta and National Junior Sculling Head.

Specially designed silver anniversary winners’ medals also went to the Wallingford’s Slt2x, Elt4x, Elt2x and S1x crews – the latter two coming after all-Wallingford finals.

However, with 28 finals contested there were plenty of clubs left celebrating when the curtain fell on HWR 2012 on Sunday evening.

Phillips Exeter Academy upset a fancied US crew in the J8 final, beating Mount Saint Joseph Academy into second place by two feet, in a time of 5 minutes and 33 seconds. The Mount crew came into the weekend’s races after a dazzling triumph in the Stotesbury Cup Regatta – the largest high school regatta in the US with over 980 boats and 5000 athletes.

There was also a memorable victory for Barnes Bridge Ladies RC, whose C4+ crew – including Jasmine, mother of two Annabelle, and cox Sue who all learnt to row and cox with the Thames-based club – who won their event in a time of 6:20.

For a full list of results from the 2012 HWR, visit http://www.hwr.org.uk/results.asp.

You can also find photos, interviews, and information from the weekend’s action on the Henley Women’s Regatta Facebook page.

Photos 1-7 © John Batty. Photo 8 © Wallingford Rowing Club

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