Double Wingfields win for Imperial

The 174th Wingfield Sculls took place today with Mel Wilson and Tim Richards winning for Imperial College on their home water. 

“I still can’t believe what just happened,” said 22-year-old Richards after completing the 4 and 1/4 mile course from Putney to Mortlake. 

“Looking at the names on that trophy it’s pretty amazing. Peter Haining, who coached me at Abingdon, used to talk about the Wingfields quite a bit. He’s on [the trophy] four times so to follow in Peter’s footsteps is just incredible.”

Beginning at midday the men’s race saw Richards reach the Mile Post first. He maintained his lead finishing 14 seconds ahead of Matt Bedford from UL, closely followed by Mike Ewing (Quintin) and Wilf Kimberley (Imperial).

“There was a tail wind at the start so it helped a bit but it was pretty rough as well,” said Richards, one of three lightweights in the line-up. 

Happy for his club, he added: “Mel completely deserves it and to have the Imperial name up there is just great.”

The women’s race began an hour earlier with 30-year-old Wilson starting strongly in a contest that also included GB rowers Vicky Thornley (Leander) and Imogen Walsh (London) as well as UL’s Emily Craig. All four scullers reached the Mile Post within the course record time of 4:44, set by Anna Watkins in 2011.

Leading through each marker Wilson also set a new record to Hammersmith Bridge, bettering Watkins’s time of 8.03 by just over two seconds.

The Imperial medical student said: “It was nice to race on the Tideway because I’ve been training here for the last year or so. It was good, it was long as usual! I really enjoyed it.

“There was a bit of a head wind but the majority of it was in a strong stream and tail wind so we were lucky with that.”

Defending Wingfields champion, Walsh, finished two seconds ahead of Craig with Thornley retiring after the Chiswick Steps. 

After receiving their beautiful silver sculls presentation boxes at the prizegiving ceremony, hosted by Tideway Scullers, both Wingfield winners are now preparing for GB Trials. 

Women’s race Vicky Thornley Mel Wilson Imogen Walsh Emily Craig Men’s race Matt Bedford Wilf Kimberley Tim Richards Mike Ewing
Mile Post 4:33 4:28 4:37 4:40 4:38 4:36 4:32 4:33
Hammersmith 8:04 7:58 8:08 8:12 8:03 8:06 7:58 8:04
Chiswick Steps 12:58 12:48 13:02 13:05 12:46 12:53 12:40 12:51
Barnes Bridge 17:51 18:04 18:08 17:42 17:47 17:28 17:46
Finish  21:31 21:47 21:49 21:20 21:23 21:06 21:22

By Wendy Kewley