Henley Women’s Regatta proved to be a fantastic end to the season for the GUBC senior women’s squad with a club record of 5 crews making it through to the main regatta. This marks GUBC’s 3rd year in a row with athletes competing in a final at HWR. The regatta was a great weekend rowing in beautiful surroundings with a unique atmosphere.
Friday morning at Henley Women’s brought time trials for the Academic 4+ of Ellen Smith, Gráinne Maguire Conneely, Charlotte Bawn, Katie Mackie and Rachael Scott (cox); the Academic 8+ of Amy Fraser, Maeve Dale, Maggie Ulyatt, Keri Anderson, Anna Winton, Baraat Boutaleb, Arabella Ogilvie, Ellen Huison and Harriet Tymon-Johnson (cox) and Flora Wharton in the Senior 1x. Strong rowing from all crews secured everyone a place in the first round of racing in the afternoon.
Kicking off the side by side racing was Flora in the lightweight single against Suzannah Perry of the University of London. Flora rowed well against a strong competitor, who placed second at BUCS, staying with her throughout the race but was ultimately beaten by 3 1/2 lengths.
Next was the 4+ racing Caius College, Cambridge. In a tense race for spectators Glasgow sat in 2nd place for the first 2 thirds of the race before turning on the power and rowing through the Caius crew in the last 500m to win by half a length.
Finally the 8+ faced off against Dublin University Ladies Trinity. Dublin were up off the start and throughout but the girls never stopped pushing on forcing the opposition to keep racing to the line. A great performance from a crew who have had a tough season with last minute substitutions.
Saturday brought mixed results for the club in the quarter-finals. In the first side by side race of the day the academic 4+ faced Leeds University Boat Club. Determined to learn from the mistakes of the previous day Glasgow made sure they were fast out of the blocks before settling into an aggressive stride that the Leeds crew couldn’t match. A comfortable win saw the crew through to the semi-finals.
In a first round that could well have been the final, Emma McDonald faced Robyn Hart-Winks in the Elite Lightweight 1x. Emma rowed well but fellow Scot Robyn took the win on the day in a race 30 seconds faster than any of the other quarter-finals showing the class of the athletes involved.
After a leading start Rosanna Loy and Claire Aitken were unfortunately disqualified due to steering issues in the Elite Pair. A disappointing result after a strong performance at Scottish Championships last weekend.
After the success of the previous two days, the Academic 4+ was not content to rest on their laurels and went into the semi-final against Manchester University Boat Club ready to fight for their place in the final. With a lot riding on the race cox Rachael Scott did well to keep the crew calm and focused in another race led from the start by Glasgow. Manchester kept the pressure on but never threatened to take the lead and the girls crossed the line ecstatic to have made it to the final.
With the University of London having been the stand-out crew of the event so far the girls knew that the competition were going to be fast down the course. The UL had a strong start in the windier conditions of the afternoon and had a length lead by the end of the island. Glasgow didn’t let them stretch this lead out at all throughout the middle section of the race keeping the pressure on causing London to have their most challenging race of the regatta. However, with less than 500m UL really showed their technicality and strength in the final sprint of the race, dealing better with the conditions stretching out the lead. With all 4 rowers having learned to row as novices at Glasgow last year, to have made the final was a brilliant achievement for the crew who are bound to have bright futures in the sport ahead of them.