The championship quads category looks to be stacked, with a huge variety in the entered crews only adding to the excitement. First off in the time trial is the Nottingham RC composite of Sam Meijer, George Bourne, Josh Armstrong and Matthew Haywood. This exact crew reached the final of the Prince of Wales last year, losing out by just a length to a classy Skøll crew, and after winning gold at U23 World Championships, they should be the crew to beat. Another Prince of Wales composite chasing them down is the UL/Edinburgh/Molesey crew of Matt Curtis, Ollie Varley, Dale Flockhart and Jonas Weller. While this crew doesn’t have the experience together of the other crew, this mostly lightweight unit carries some heavyweight names and will undoubtedly be right up there. Leander’s entry sees last year’s GB Junior crewmates Victor Kleshnev and James Cartwright pair up as they race against another crewmate Bryn Ellery in The Windsorian’s boat. While Leander won Open Quads at Met Regatta by a convincing 6 seconds, the Windsorians came 4th; maybe the crew changes to the Windsor crew will solve this. The representing junior crews are Henley RC and Lea RC, 1st and 4th respectively at NSR, and coming into the Fawley it’ll great to see how many senior crews these boys can take. Without Leander’s junior quad or Claires Court present however, the Fawley still remains with a degree of uncertainty in the air. On the universities front, Newcastle are the fastest of the entries here with a strong 2nd at BUCS Regatta ahead of Reading in 4th, however Reading redeemed themselves with a 2nd at Met, so currently it’s all up in the air with Marlow to settle it. Hartpury and Tyrian haven’t shown results to suggest competing for medals, likely jostling with Reading “B” for an A Final space after Gloucester proved they had 3 seconds on them at Met. Entries are rounded up with Tideway and Walton, with Walton just missing out on a final at Met Regatta and Tideway not really making waves in men’
Championship Coxless Fours
24 entries in Championship 4- mean we could see the potential Wyfold and Visitors winners of Henley 2019 racing this weekend, and some interesting entries should have you refreshing the results page to see the rankings. While Oxford Brookes often prioritise their eights, one of their two coxless fours could be the crew to beat coming into this, as Swarbrick, Wilkes, Antognelli and Edwards all currently sit in their 1V with a formidable track record between them. The other Brookes 4- of the now-meant-to-be-retired (?) Peter Chambers, Cameron Spurling, Barnaby Fox and Chris Tebb aren’t doubling up in the eight, raising questions over whether this is the Brookes’ Visitors crew… The only foreign crew in this category comes in the shape of the University of British Columbia who have also entered a coxed 4. Riding in off their Brown Cup success, which saw them beat rivals University of Victoria for the first time in 4 years, British Columbia appear to have split up their eight. The talent that comes with these Canadians is outstanding in a boat full of Canadian University Rowing Championship (CURC) golds and even some U23 team members. As is always said about foreign crews: they don’t bother coming over unless they know they’ll be quick. Oxford Universities only crew racing at Marlow features 4 Blue Boat athletes in Charlie Pearson, Ben Landis, Tobias Schröder and Augustin Wambersie. After spending so much time together in the Blue Boat, these 4 will have absolute confidence in each other and their abilities. The first race outing for this crew will be a real test, but expect these boys to be jostling for medals.
Current kings of the club scene, Thames RC have 2 champ coxless fours entered alongside 3 eights and 3 other fours. A remarkable squad depth, it looks like Thames have entered a top 8, with these fours likely going for the Wyfold/Visitors. Sam Thornton in the 2 seat of Thames “A” got his hands on a little red box last year after winning the Thames Challenge Cup, and will bring some top experience to the crew and fill the one allowed space in Wyfold crews for Thames winners. A crew that’ll excite any recent juniors sees Miles Beeson, Archie McChesney and Paddy Craig, hailing from ASRA, Radley and Dulwich, and Robert Powell, also previously of ASRA, coming home from their American universities of Yale and Princeton to race. All four ex-juniors have represented GB at Coupe and Worlds, and Miles (still a junior, despite having completed his first year at Yale), has his eyes set on testing out the Tokyo Olympic course at junior worlds later this summer. These guys could catch some unsuspecting crews unaware. Perhaps less renowned than the rest of the field, Worcester Rowing Club are putting out a top 4- for Henley, and concentrating their talent has produced some success already as highlighted at Met Regatta, coming second on the Sunday in Op 4- to a strong Molesey. Keen to make a statement in the Wyfold after last year’s loss to St Neots by a hair’s breadth, Worcester look strong and shouldn’t be overlooked. Leander’s crew is another to raise a few eyebrows when looking at who’s in it. Alex Langstone-Bolt from St Paul’s record-breaking eight has come home from rowing with the University of California, Berkley, and he is joined by fellow Cal rower and Maidenhead sculler Elliott Kemp. These two young guns are joined by Ryan Todhunter, who recently made the B Final at final trials, and Jack Gosden-Kaye, also a Cal Bear who won gold in the GB 8+ at the FISU World University Championships in Shanghai. As we’ve seen before, another case where a lack of time as a crew can be made up for with the raw talent involved. Expect these guys to be quick.
Championship Coxed Fours
Champ 4+ at Marlow is a hint for both the Prince Albert and the Brit for HRR in less than two weeks time. The notable Prince Albert include the top 4 athletes from UL such as Tom Worthington and Isaac Workman, who have split up from their 1st 8 from earlier in the season to focus on their PA Henley campaign. Positive results from the Sunday of Met Regatta show that they are in the mix of fast crews compared to the top end of the Brit, however with only Oxford Brookes as PA competition, UL will be looking for confirmation this weekend that puts them into the pack at PA contenders.
Oxford Brookes has entered a PA four again in 2019. Similar to their four last year, it seems to be a crew ranked between their Temple A and B eights, however with names such as Alfie Heath and Ben Witting in the crew from their top Temple boat last year, this coxed four is a serious contender for the top spots in this category, both at Marlow and at HRR. Solid results from remaining oarsmen Connor Sheridan and Dylan Mitchell at Met Regatta, beating off the competition with a 3-second gap at the 500m mark put this crew in good stead for the weekend.
Goldie Boat Club have entered the PA for multiple years now, with a history of entering very strong crews, such as making the final last year in 2018. This year Charlie Marcus, cox of the winning Goldie boat back in April, will be pulled down the course a few more times by the likes of Rob Harris and Jonty Page, however with university exams and summer bumps racing taking up lots of time, we have little to no info on how this crew will perform this weekend together.
Other PA crews entered include St Andrews, Nottingham, Durham and Bath Universities, with the latter seen training at the GB Training Centre at Caversham alongside the UL squad last weekend. With so many crews entered into the Prince Albert this year, these races at Marlow could play a key part for pre-qualification for this weekends list of "crews required to qualify".
The Britannia Challenge Cup is currently held by Thames RC after a storming race last year. They have entered again into the Brit with the same oarsmen as Met Regatta a few weeks ago., however, the coxes have since changed, with current HRR winner Emily Burge taking ex-Brookes Ladies plate athlete Alex Wenyon's seat from Met Regatta. A small change in some eyes, however with crews of only 5 athletes, this could be a change that helps gel the crew together even more or causes some unwanted separation.
Molesey BC have put themselves ahead as current favourites from the UK for the Brit. The fastest club time at Met Regatta, along with resident big boys Jens Hullah and Matt Christie show that this crew is the one that every Brit entry is trying to aim for. With a large entry from Kingston RC into the Thames Cup, their Brit campaign seems to have taken a hit, with no Championship 4+ entry at Marlow, however when one crew steps back, others have always instantly filled the space.
Notable mentions also go to London RC and Lea RC, who have both submitted decent times at Met Regatta and have entered into Champ 4+, however, the unknown speeds of Mercantile RC from Australia and the smaller names from within the UK mean that there could be some surprises come the time trial tomorrow morning.