In glorious sunshine more like a summer day than autumn Henley Rowing Club juniors started the new 2018 season with the first of the autumn heads at Wallingford Long Distance Sculls. This is a challenging course over nearly 4500 metres and some not insignificant bends to test the bow steers of coxless boats and indeed coxes. This is a well attended event with over 500 crews taking part across three divisions.
In the morning division the girls crew of Maddy Pollard, Charlotte Williams, Sophie Hahn and Daisy Bellamy, clocked up the fastest women’s time of the day to win Womens J18 quads in a time of 17:06, three second ahead of arch rivals Headington School.
In division two which is raced over a shorter course for younger and or less experienced crews the under 15 girls crew of Mia Vickerman, Laoise O’Donohue, Ella Mckay, Cleo Davis cox Maddison Sturgess, had a narrow victory over second place Wimbledon High School but were comfortably ahead of crews from Headington, Abingdon and Wallingford.
In Division 3 the Henley girls took 1st and 2nd place in the top event Womens quads with the crew of Charlotte Rowley, Pheobe Snowden, Hannah Hills and Carla Russell just taking the first spot by two seconds the two Henley crews were then followed by three womens crews from Mortlake Anglian and Alpha.
Gina Segrt and Holly Thompson had a resounding win in the girls under 16 double sculls being nearly a minute ahead of a crew from Evesham Rowing club. Also winning at J16 was Holly Cookson in her single in a time that would have seen her finish second in the J18 catergory and was fifth fastest female sculler of the day.
The boys squad focussed on singles at Wallingford, with most competing twice over the course, For several this was part of a build up to GB Junior trials.
With high quality, large fields in all boys categories, wins were hard to come by, but James Swinburn had a tantalisingly near miss in J17 1x. He was only 0.2 second from taking the win, coming third in a field of 32, only 0.1 second behind the tied winners from St Pauls and Westminster Schools. He was followed by Ed Roy and Seth O’Connor, coming 5th and 6th respectively.
In J18 1x there was an enormous field of 82. In that context, Henley had a strong result with 4 boys in the top 12; Balthasar Issa, Joe Long, Ed Roy and James Swinburn. Balthasar and Joe then repeated their good showings, coming 5th and 6th in Open 1x, just behind Ethan O’Connor, stroke of last year’s fast Henley J18 4x, now a J19 who came 4th. In J16 1x, his brother, Soren O’Connor came 5th of 21.