St Peters School take Henley by Storm
Henley Women’s Regatta, the countries most prestigious international rowing event, saw two St Peter’s crews performing at the top level. Into a strong stream and head wind both crews fought well and took significant scalps.
The girls Under 18 fours had 13 entries including some from USA and Australia. Rebecca Fletcher, Laura Buss, Rebecca Sparling and Jess Fitzpatrick, coxed by Jenny Clark were drawn against an American crew, rated 4th in the US. They jumped into an early lead and, with their characteristic smooth rhythm, gradually extended this until they had 1.5 lengths over their opponents. The Americans, from Winsor School, Boston, were not going to let things rest and fought back to within 2/3 of a length but St. Peter’s held on to claim victory.
In the quarter final, St. Peter’s were drawn against another American school, Groton, Connecticut, noted for its high quality rowing. Groton lead until halfway, St. Peter’s fought back on terms and then could not quite maintain it in the last stages, losing by around 4 seconds. Judged on times from other heats this would place the St. Peter’s girls crew around 3rd to 4th in this country.
The second event was a special one for Under 16 eights. Normally the Regatta does not hold an event for anyone younger than under 18. This event was put on specially after the cancellation of the National Schools Regatta in May due to high winds. The crew of Lydia Hawthorn, Gussie Aiken, Livi Herrenschmidt, Vikie Bew, Maddie Hall, Alex Langford, Jess Elkington and Ellie MacLeod, coxed by Kirstie Robertson, had already performed well at a national level. In March they came 3rd in the Schools Long Distance Head Race, rowed over the Boat Race course in London.
This time they were able to challenge crews side by side. In the semi-final, after a close fight into a very strong head wind, they were beaten by Headington, Oxford, who went on to win the event. After a couple of hours of recovery they were on the water again when they beat King’s School Worcester by a comfortable margin to take the bronze medal. This is a first for any eight from St. Peter’s and drew the attention of the regatta to girls rowing in the North.