The Diamond Jubilee Challenge Cup is currently the only event for junior women at Henley Royal Regatta, so you can expect it to be of a very high standard. There are 20 crews this year, up from 16 last year, and 3 of which are international crews. The crews were reduced from a massive 54 entries by qualifying races, with 11 crews prequalifying.
The first race of the week is between Sir William Perkins School and Loreto Toorak AUS. The girls at Sir William Perkins have had a solid season, with a strong win in the 2x at Henley Women’s Regatta and placing 4th at the Junior Sculling Regatta. It will be interesting to see whether the momentum from their win in the 2x will carry through to the 4x, as they chose to enter three doubles in place of a quad at Henley Women’s Regatta most recently. Loreto Toorak is a crew from Melbourne, Australia. They’ve had a strong season in the 8+ with a win at the Australian School Girls Head 2019, so they definitely aren’t a crew to underestimate.
The next race is between Latymer Upper School ‘B’ and Kinross Wolaroi School, AUS. Kinross Wolaroi School is a crew from New South Wales, Australia- they placed 1st in the 4x at the Australia National Championships and will definitely be one to keep an eye on in the event. Latymer Upper School always produces crews of a very high standard, and this crew were the only B crew to make it to the knockout stages of Henley Women’s Regatta, so this will be a very interesting heat.
Next up is the race between N.C.R.A and Enniskillen R.B.C. Nottinghamshire County Rowing Association placed 1st in the Women’s 4x at Notts City Regatta, and seem to be having a very consistent season so can be expected to do well here. Enniskillen R.B.C are a crew from Northern Ireland. They had a strong performance at Henley Women’s Regatta, placing second in J8+ so it should be interesting to see how this transfers into the 4x.
The final heat is between Frankfurter Germania, GER and Wallingford RC. This international crew from Germany looks to be a very strong crew, having previous success in the Fawley over the past years, so this club is no stranger to Henley Royal Regatta. Wallingford have entered a WJ16 crew in this event. They placed 3rd in the WJ16 4x at National Schools and with good performance at GB France last Sunday, it will be interesting to see how this younger crew is going to fare against their international competition.
Now this is only the Races on Wednesday, as the rest of the crews have got a Bye until Thursday. Latymer Upper School ‘A’, one of this year’s seeded crews, always seems to perform consistently well and notably placed 3rd at Fours Head earlier in the season. Henley Rowing Club have managed to qualify an impressive 3 crews this year. The Henley ‘A’ boat, also a seeded crew, placed 1st at Fours Head, Wallingford Regatta and at National Schools Regatta, so they are definitely looking very strong coming into this Regatta. Marlow RC, another seeded crew, placed 2nd at Fours Head and more recently came 2nd at Henley Women’s to Tideway Scullers. Gloucester are another seeded crew with the potential to do well. This club has a successful history in this event, and this crew certainly seem to be of a very high standard, leading the final in this category at National Schools, before catching a crab just before the line, handing the victory to Henley RC instead. This one mistake doesn’t take away from the fact that this crew are otherwise fast, experienced and with a need to put things right, so should be very fast in tier first race on Thursday. Lady Eleanor Holles placed 1st at National Schools in the 8+, this performance in the 8+ might be the difference to how well they perform in the 4x compared to the crews with more racing experience in the category, although they are clearly fierce, experienced racers so should still perform well here. Another seeded crew is Headington School who placed 3rd at National Schools, so we’ll see whether they might’ve moved up the rankings between National Schools and now, and a strong semi final showing at Henley Women's suggests they might have. Surbiton High School had a strong performance at Henley Women’s Regatta and will be looking to further their ranking this time around. Seeded crew Tideway Scullers won Henley Women’s in this event, so are looking very good coming into this week. They’ve also had a win in Wallingford Regatta and placed 5th at National Schools. Shrewsbury School placed 1st at Notts City Regatta and 2nd at National Schools, it will be interesting how they now do after weeks of training since National Schools, and the Stewards certainly expect them to be fast, making Shrewsbury one of 8 seeded crews. Lea RC are one of the last crews in this event, and the final seeded crew to be drawn. This crew placed 2nd at Wallingford Regatta, 6th at National Schools and had a very strong performance at Henley Women’s Regatta a few weeks ago.
Overall, all of these crews are incredibly successful- each with many wins under their belt and plenty of racing experience. The Diamond Jubilee is the pinnacle of Junior Women’s Rowing and this event is very highly anticipated. We can expect some exceptionally good racing from every single one of these crews, and potentially see some record breaking times across the board.