Owing to the scheduling of events at National Schools, many of the crews entered here raced a quad rather than a four at Dorney, as the girls' J16 fours and eights both raced on the Saturday. This leaves many crews' raw speed as a bit of an unknown entity going into Henley Women's this weekend.
The first on the draw is Lady Eleanor Holles A. The Hampton based school have two fours entered that look to each be made up of half of LEH's J16 four from National Schools (rather unusually, they fielded a four and not an eight) alongside two athletes from their J15 eight. Both of those crews were in their respective B finals at NSR so they might find the competition here tough, but there's a lot we can't predict with such new lineups. LEH A were beaten by Henley at Reading Amateur Regatta on Saturday, and looking at the results in that event, they will want to be competitive with the likes of Teddies and Lea.
Henley are starting to become one of the clubs to watch in almost any given junior girls' event. This looks like their B quad from National Schools that won the B final, and in that respect the bottom half of their eight who had a storming final to win NSR by over six seconds. These girls are definitely strong sweepers, and with many clubs fielding their top quads at HWR, they have a good shot at winning this event. However, there wasn't all that much in the quads event between Henley and Marlow A, so if Marlow can adapt well to the sweep boat they could put their local rivals under pressure. Marlow B were a solid 5th at the Junior Sculling Regatta, but they have a pretty sizeable margin to make up if they want to catch some of the quicker crews.
There are a fair few crews here who did race in the coxed four at National Schools, and this racing experience will definitely be an advantage out on the Henley course. In the absence of the gold medallists from NSR, St Edward's School took the silver with very little between them and bronze medallists Lea RC. The big question is how these two crews will compare to those that weren't in that category at NSR, but these will no doubt be crew looking to finish near the top of this Henley draw.
Kingston finished in fourth, around four seconds behind Lea. They are the current holders of this event at HWR and will be looking for a solid result here. Godolphin were sixth in that final, but quite a way behind Kingston, while Putney were 7th (winning the B final) in a time quicker than Godolphin. Putney will no doubt want to overturn the Nat Schools result if they meet Godolphin again at Henley. Molesey are the final crew on this draw who raced the A/B finals of this event at NSR, where they were 5th in the B final, 16 seconds or so behind Putney. Sacred Heart High School were 14th in the NSR time trial, while Bedford Girls School were 17th, thus just missing out on racing the finals.
Tideway Scullers could be a surprise in this category. With standout sculler Zoe Scheske stepping up to the senior quad, the rest of the girls have turned from their J16 quad to the four. This quad have had a strong season, including a win at the Junior Sculling Regatta and a silver at NSR. This crew could definitely come as a bit of a surprise to the likes of Henley and are very much in the running for the win come Sunday.
Now. Overseas crew Kent School from the US are one that might throw a real spanner in the works. They raced at Reading Amateur Regatta, where they beat LEH B and Teddies to reach the final. Here, they beat Henley to win the event by a significant three length margin, despite Henley's fresh legs from one round fewer of racing before the final. This will fill them with confidence going into the weekend. If the crew they raced at Reading was the Henley four entered here, it could leave TSS as the only big potential question between them and the trophy on Sunday.
Surbiton have both halves of their eight racing in two fours at HWR. They took the bronze medal in the J16 girls eight, around three seconds behind Headington in silver, who also have a crew entered here. This now becomes a test of strength vs depth between these two eights, although it looks like this is the bottom half of Headington's crew so more likely that Surbiton will come out on top. Great Marlow School's crew features girls from their eight that finished 6th at NSR, but they're otherwise a pretty hard crew to gauge for speed. They were quite a way behind the aforementioned schools in the eights, but it can all change when crews move to the fours.
Emanuel School were 26th in the time trial for the J16 quads at NSR, while Yarm school did not start so we don't have any idea where they'll fit in. Similarly, Newark RC and Has Monmouth don't seem to have raced much, so we will have to see after tomorrow evening's time trial where they fit into the picture.