Jack Beaumont discusses his split loyalties during Henley Royal Regatta
Jack Beaumont will be cheering on both Leander Club and Maidenhead RC at Henley Royal Regatta this week, as well as his former school Sir William Borlase
Henley Royal Regatta 2017 sees clubs and schools from around the world coming together for a festival of rowing – one of the jewels of the British sporting summer.
The five days of racing give rowers of all ages the chance to compete alongside their international heroes, testing themselves against the best rowers from around the world.
Leander Club’s Jack Beaumont will race in the Queen Mother Challenge Cup this week alongside his GB Rowing Team quadruple scull crewmates, with the 23-year-old looking for his sixth successive win at the regatta.
And despite having rowed at some of the most iconic international venues in the world in recent years, Henley unsurprisingly holds a large place in Beaumont’s heart.
“I’ve rowed for three clubs at Henley: Maidenhead RC, Sir William Borlase Grammar School and Leander Club,” he said.
“You have a huge crowd from start to finish, which nowhere else in the world has. Something that’s very unique to Henley is that in one race you’ll have a load of junior boys and girls racing their first ever Henley, followed by Olympic champions racing their international rivals, followed then by club rowers and students – you’re all the same when at Henley.
Two of Beaumont’s clubs, Maidenhead and Leander, could face off in the Fawley Cup this week, with the World Rowing Cup gold medallist hoping for a dead heat between the two crews in the final as a fair compromise for his split loyalties.
“Maidenhead was where I learned to row and I’m still a member of the club. I love it there and I go down and visit as much as I can,” he said.
“Because I was quite young [when I started] there was a lot of mixed racing against girls’ crews,” he said. “Anastasia Chitty [who’s also in the GB Rowing Team] used to beat me all of the time when we were younger [when she rowed for Tideway Scullers]. Tom Barras [rowing for Burway RC] also beat me a lot, but in our first race against each other he fell in.
“I got asked by my coach there, Tom Jost, to join in with their higher performance programme and told me I had a chance to make the GB junior team. Tom was a big influence on me while at Maidenhead.
“I appreciate everything Tom has done – he taught me how to race, really. He taught us to be quite tough, but we had a great time doing it.”
Having gone on to row for Sir William Borlase School in his first Henley, Beaumont joined Leander Club’s High Performance Programme after being inspired by the London 2012 Olympics to pursue a career as an international rower.
He rowed at his first Olympics in 2016, travelling to Rio de Janeiro as a late call-up to the men’s quad, but the sculler won’t forget where his journey started.
“Watching [the 2012 Games] made me think that I want to be part of it and how can I do it?” he said.
“I think I made the right decision to go [to Leander], and no-one at Maidenhead begrudges me that. I still go back to Maidenhead all the time to meet the juniors and hang out with my friends that I used to row with.”
Beaumont could write his name in the history books with a sixth successive win, but the Maidenhead athlete doesn’t want to think about that feat, but simply about getting the win over the New Zealand crew on Sunday.
He said: “I don’t want to think about it as going for my sixth win, and some people have mentioned the fact that I could complete the set of quad events [with the Queen Mother Challenge Cup]. That would be brilliant, but really I just want to win. That’s how rowing works. I want to win this year and I don’t want it any more than any of the other years.”