Coming into School’s Head, it would seem that Henley Rowing Club are looking for a clean sweep in all girls eight events. Last year’s J16’s comfortably won this event by a margin of almost 10 seconds and if anything, that gap looks set to increase. At Wallingford Head Henley were the fastest WJ16 crew by over a minute and while they haven’t had a huge amount of racing since, the Henley programme will only be making these girls faster and faster. Henley weren’t at Hammersmith Head or Quintin Head however, so their Tideway experience may be limited compared to other crews in this category. Similarly, Headington haven’t been seen doing much racing after Wallingford Head. Choosing to not compete in the WJ16 category and remaining elusive, Headington will have their work cut out if they want to be competitive in this category, judging from the Wallingford Results. Last year at this event they finished 6th out of 9, and in this year’s larger field will no doubt be wanting to step further on. While Henley and Headington have been keeping quiet, Marlow Rowing Club have been throwing themselves into every race they can this season. Taking wins at Quintin, Reading and Hammersmith they have been keen to maximise their Tideway time which might just pay off for them. These girls finished 3rd in WJ15 eights last year and while they haven’t directly raced Henley yet, they should be quick enough to get Henley worried. Joining Marlow in the quest to race every event this season were Lady Eleanor Holles. Also having entries in Hammersmith, Reading and Quintin but coming second to Marlow each time, LEH are closing that time gap quickly but might just run out of time before the event. They’ve made some good progress and will definitely be more competitive this year than the last. Surbiton High School haven’t raced that much, but they came second in this event last year and consistently produce a decent quality of junior crew.
Women's J16 Quads is already looking competitive with 14 crews entered into this event. It's going to be interesting see these younger crews who may not have raced here before adapt to racing on this iconic course; we will begin to see which crews manage to use the tide to their advantage. Sir William Perkins School are going to be a crew to look out for after an impressive 3rd place at Hammersmith Head and 7th at Reading Head- it will be interesting to see how SWPS do against some of these crews who they haven't yet raced against. Bedford Modern have also been doing well recently. A strong performance at Reading Head this weekend resulted with them in 3rd- showed they can definitely handle the distance. Nottingham & Union RC are setting off first in this event and after sending two girls to GB Trials this season; it's likely that this quad will be setting a good time. A few of the other crews in this event have also sent girls to GB Trials, but they haven't faced each other in the WJ16 4x event yet. While this category lacks many of the clubs you'd find racing in the girl's championship events, some schools with a longstanding rowing pedigree such as King's Chester have entries placed, and with history comes experience. Another exciting entry comes from Fulham Reach Boat Club, on the rise with plenty of eyes watching how they perform, and the local club will be wanting to prove their place among many of these schools especially on their home water. With the potential of some classic tideway conditions for Friday, it will interesting to see how these girls fare against each other.