The Canadian women’s eight. Photo courtesy Henley Royal Regatta.
Yesterday, the women’s eight blasted across the finish line at the prestigious Henley Royal Regatta, winning the Remenham Challenge Cup in sensational style.
The regatta, which dates back to 1839, takes place over five days on the river Thames, in picturesque Henley-on-Thames, England. The head to head knock out competition is raced over a 2,112 meter course, making it slightly longer than the usual 2000 meter Olympic race distance that rowers are accustomed to.
The women’s eight, which remained in Europe following their silver medal performance at World Rowing Cup 2 in Italy, used this regatta as another chance to fine tune their race plan in anticipation of this coming weekend’s racing at World Rowing Cup 3 in Lucerne, Switzerland.
“Henley was a great experience!” said Cristy Nurse, bow seat in the crew. “We went with the aim of winning, but also to sharpen up technically. The multi-round format gave us an opportunity to experiment with different tempos and technical focuses to be ready for Sunday’s final.”
The Canadian women thumped Imperial College London and Sport Imperial Boat Club in the first round to advance to the semi final, where they proceeded to beat Brown University to advance to the final. The strong Canadians captured the title on Sunday by crossing the line ahead of Leander Club and Imperial College London, a crew which was made up of members of the British National team.
“We knew from our races at World Cup II that the British team was going to be quick,” explained Lauren Wilkinson, who strokes the eight. “We anticipated a tough race since we were on their turf and they had the energy of the crowd behind them. They stayed with us off of the start, but we shifted into a strong rhythm and just kept moving away.”
The Canadian women are already in Switzerland preparing for World Rowing Cup 3, the final stop on the world cup circuit this season.
This past weekend has given this crew confidence as they gear up for another weekend of racing. In Switzerland, the women will not only race the eight, but will also break down into smaller crews and compete in the women’s pair and the women’s four events.
“I think we are even more confident in our ability to be flexible and adaptable in our race plan after this weekend,” continued Nurse. We are planning on doubling up in Lucerne so the experience of racing over consecutive days in England was a great dress rehearsal for this weekend.”
The lightweight women’s double of Lindsay Jennerich and Patricia Obee is the only other Canadian crew racing at World Cup 3. Jennerich and Obee had to withdraw from World Cup 2 because of illness.
The remainder of the Canadian team will also be racing this coming weekend, but on this side of the Atlantic, at the Pan American Games in St.Catharines, Ontario.