As soon as racing on Saturday is over, the attention for nearly every junior girls’ squad is fixed onto the quad. Unlike for junior boys, there is no sweep event at Henley Royal Regatta and qualification spots in the Diamond Jubilee are beyond sought after.
Henley have been very much in the spotlight this year in what’s been a very successful season already in the eight, regardless of what happens on Saturday- although that isn't to say we can see anything going awry now! The real test for these girls will be whether or not they can show that same domination in the quad. All four of this crew are trialling this year, three for GB and one for the US, with those three GB trialists racing at Munich a few weeks back. Georgie Robinson Ranger and Lottie Orr, of last year’s Coupe and Junior Worlds teams, have been in the top three of the GB trials in sculling on every occasion thus far, with the former topping all three trials. Meanwhile, the last of the GB girls, Issy Jonsson, won the April pairs trial alongside another Henley counterpart as well as racing at HIR last season. There is plenty more we could say, but at the end of the day, there is very little to argue against this crew and in many respects, we can only be excited about the speed they could show. This is an early test for the Henley girls who will only get sharper and faster as the season progresses. With what is rumoured to be a lack of an entry for Gloucester Hartpury this year, who have taken the HRR title for four years running, these girls have their eyes firmly set on a little red box.
Latymer will look to improve on last year’s bronze medal position in this event, and with the majority of last year’s crew returning as well as, unlike most schools, the primary focus remaining on the quad throughout the year, they look to be in a strong position to do so. They hold the SHORR pennant this year as well as a recent win at Wallingford Regatta, and whilst this weekend’s event is the first big test, it will only be a stepping stone to the real challenge at Henley Royal after last year’s anticlimax for them in a performance non-reflective of their quality.
Marlow might be a crew to be looking for that last medal spot. After a second place finish at the JSR last season, many were surprised to see Marlow seemingly shy away from the quad, as a club one would expect to see entering at Henley Royal and the like. With Junior Worlds 4- athlete Charlotte Fennell on board, alongside Tash Strudwick who raced for the sculling squad at Munich this year, Marlow look to have a quality crew this year and their dominating win at Wallingford in early May puts them in good stead to face Latymer and Henley.
Headington are a crew we’d have expected to hear a mention of at this point, but without Franny Curtis due to injury and top sculler from last year’s Junior World’s team for Switzerland, Mattea Wuetherich, this quad may struggle. By struggle, they might not be where they’d hope, but knowing the coaching team they have behind them, this quad will still be quick. Isle of Ely reached the final of last year’s Henley Royal Regatta- although most would argue the real race was the Gloucester-Headington matchup in the semis- and will likely be quick again this year. Their double were third in the Junior 2x at Wallingford Regatta, so if their depth allows it tase girls will be up there in this category.
Sir William Perkins, were just out of the medals at SHORR to take fourth and 6th at the Scullery where they faced slightly stiffer competition like they will here. We haven’t seen many entries from Northwich, but they did finish ahead of SWPS at the Junior Sculling Regatta, so they will have to watch their backs even with Emily Keen back in the boat. With Izzy Lack of TSS racing at the Junior Europeans this weekend, TSS don’t have her as their top trialist this year at their disposal. This crew were 5th at SHORR six seconds behind SWPS, but finished 12 seconds ahead of them at Wallingford, with both Izzy Lack and SWPS top sculler Emily Keen both absent at Munich International. This is always a competitive event and will be a real earmarker for the rest of the junior women’s season to come.