HWR enjoys memorable weekend

Henley Women’s Regatta enjoyed a hugely successful weekend on June 21-23, welcoming more than 1800 rowers from the UK and further afield.

A record number of Academic crews took part in the 2013 Regatta, with some categories featuring close to three times the number of crews when compared to 2012.

Organisers of the Regatta believe that the vast increase in school and university crews is down to the legacy of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games – a generation of new rowers inspired to have a go at the sport.

Those rowers were to come up against strong competition outside the academic categories, with this year’s HWR entry featuring a typically strong entry of strength and depth.

Debbie Flood (r) receives her trophy from Katherine Grainger

The calibre and variety of entries was perfectly illustrated by the final of the Elite 1x, with silver Olympic medallist and current Leander Captain Debbie Flood (pictured, right) taking on 18-year-old Jess Leyden, from Hollingworth Lake Rowing Club in Lancashire.

Flood took the title by one and three-quarter lengths after a close race, but GB Rowing Team Junior Leyden will clearly be one to watch in future Regattas.

Oxford University claimed another trophy for the cabinet, meanwhile, as they followed up memorable Boat Race and BUCS Regatta triumphs with victory in the Senior 8+.

Taking on a tough US crew in Grand Valley State – winners of the 2013 Dad Vail Regatta Varsity Eights – Oxford took the lead early, before powering through to a one and a half-length win.

Returning to the Regatta for the first time since 2011, a number of Para-Rowers took to the Thames to compete in the re-introduced Trunk and Arms 1x category.

Sudbury RC’s Sophie Brown triumphed to take home the Grosvenor Cup, defeating former champion Hilary Birkinshaw by four lengths in the TA1x final.

For the full list of results from this year’s HWR, visit http://hwr.org.uk/results.

With a number of US and other international crews taking part in the 26th edition of the famous regatta, organisers decided to open up this year’s event to a truly global audience by installing a live online stream.

The stream provided fantastic footage of the action on all three days of the Regatta, including the prize-giving by London 2012 gold medallist and Regatta Patron Katherine Grainger CBE – with medals this year awarded winning to coaches as well as their rowers, in another first for HWR.

More than 9000 unique visitors watched the event via the HWR website, from as far afield as the USA, Canada, Australia, Russia, South Africa and across Europe.

“There are so many people we would like to thank,” said organisers of the HWR. “From the crews who made it possible to hold our regatta, their family and friends who supported them in Henley through the live web broadcast, and to all volunteers – particularly the HWR Committee.

“We would like to thank our long-standing partners COPAS Partnership, Invesco Perpetual and PwC for their continued support, and look forward to HWR 2014.”

Find out more about the 2013 Regatta at http://hwr.org.uk/ – including how you can join Victrix, the winners’ club for all past and present Henley Women’s Regatta victors.

With British Rowing’s most recent membership figures showing that 48% of rowers who joined up last year were women, the future looks bright for HWR!