Henley Women's Regatta's J16 events serve as an excellent introduction to racing on the Henley stretch, and we've seen several crews in the past take success in this event on to the J18 event.
Henley RC won this category last year, and their J16 cohort this year look on form to do the same. They decisively won the J16 G8+ At National Schools a few weeks back over six seconds clear of Headington in silver, before making it a double gold weekend to take the win in the J16 quads three seconds ahead of Tideway Scullers who previously beat them at the Scullery. We've praised Henley coaches Leon Redman and Ed Dean in the past for their consistent results in the J18 events, but the success of their younger squads demonstrates that they really are building a fantastic programme across the whole squad.
In the absence of TSS, who are racing a four not a quad here as one of their athletes has moves into the J18 quad, Wallingford RC and Isle of Ely RC will be set to chase down Henley. Only a second or so separated these crews at NSR, with Wallingford taking the bronze and Ely taking 4th, and they were both still holding fairly close to Henley with plenty still to play for. Bedford Modern School, York City and Headington also raced in the A and B finals at NSR but they will have their work cut out to catch them.
An entry from Sydney RC, Australia might be able to shake things up a little. It's a long way to come, so it would only make sense to make the journey if they have have the speed to do well. It was a crew listed as a Sydney composite that won the U17 G4x at Sydney International Regatta back in March- we can't forget that on that side of the world we're into their winter so their racing season differs quite a lot. The time trials will show how quick this crew is amongst the British competition.
Wycliffe RC are certainly worth a mention. This crew looks to be their J15 G4x- who were silver at National Schools and won Girls' School 4x at Reading Amateur on Saturday over what one would assume is a much older Latymer crew. These young girls have really shown a lot of talent and it will be exciting to see them make their debut on the Henley course in this event. A crew to watch for sure.
Stratford-upon-Avon, The American School in London, Wimbledon High School and King's Worcester were not quick enough in the time trial to reach the Nat Schools finals and will want to prove themselves out on the Henley course. Sacred Heart High School, a school supported by the wonderful Fulham Reach Boat Club, were 6th at the Junior Sculling Regatta ahead of Abingdon RC who won the B final to finish 7th overall. The entry from Sir William Borlase looks to be a mix of J15 and J16, so an event like HWR will be both a challenge and valuable experience for this young crew.
Newark, Nottingham and Union, Ross and Llandaff all seem to have kept their cards pretty close to their chest. A lot can happen on a short course like Henley Women's and perhaps their unknown speed could be an advantage going into what promises to be an exciting weekend of racing.