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Four Final Wins for the Aussies at Henley Royal Regatta Finals

The sun broke through with calmer winds than seen all week to reveal a picturesque Henley-on-Thames for the Henley Royal Regatta Finals. Australian athletes claimed The Stewards’ Challenge Cup, The Double Sculls Challenge Cup, The Hambleden Pairs Challenge Cup and The Prince Phillip Challenge Trophy at the 2022 Regatta.

The tightest race of the day was the Men’s Four against the British squad crew from Leander and Oxford Brookes. The Australian crew of Tokyo Olympic Champions Alex Purnell OAM, Spencer Turrin OAM, Jack Hargreaves OAM, with newcomer to the crew, Olympian Jack O’Brien, came out to an early lead, however the home ground advantage of knowing the course seemed to play in the local’s favour, making a late surge and putting the Aussies under pressure in the closing stages. The Umpires had to watch the video replay to determine the winner of the race; the Australian crew crossed the line inches ahead of the British crew to claim The Stewards’ Challenge Cup.

Hargreaves said that not racing before the final made it difficult for them. “I’d say we were probably a bit lost on the course, we haven’t raced here much so we were a bit, ‘where are we?’. But a win’s a win – we were happy to get across the line first. We had a good 2K, but the last 112m we had a bit of a wobble on. They were a good crew, they raced well, it was good to beat them.”

Olympic Bronze Medallists, Jack Cleary and Caleb Antill, had a similar race against the British squad double in The Double Sculls Challenge Cup. Again, the home ground advantage saw the British close hard in the final stages of the race, however the Australian duo kept cool under pressure to claim the victory. This is only the second time Australia has won the event; Duncan Free OAM, Olympic Champion in Beijing, and his brother Marcus Free claimed victory in 1997 rowing for Tweed Heads Rowing Club.

Cleary said, “It was a wicked battle the whole way down. [The extra 112m] stings – not only that, it’s a cross-headwind and a head current so it’s just a slower race overall.”

“Moving from last year in the quad where the average race time was 5:40 and moving into the double which is a slower boat, so the extra time and the heavier blades, it all adds up for a bit more of a pain cave by the end which myself and Caleb are very much in right now. But that’s what we do it for – we love it.”

St Catherine’s School, Victoria, made history being the first Australian Schoolgirl crew to win The Prince Phillip Challenge Trophy in a dominant performance that saw the crew lead from start to finish.

Head Coach Bridget Carlisle and crew coach John Saunders said that their success was due to, “Hard work, commitment from the girls, and a pretty special culture. A huge thank you to St Catherine’s and the Australian community for backing us. It’s an amazing opportunity for the girls.”

The Princess Grace Challenge Cup was a hard-fought race between the Australian combination of Olympic Bronze Medallists, Rowena Meredith and Harriet Hudson, who were joined by fellow Olympian Tara Rigney and new-comer Kate Rowan and the crew from China. The Chinese crew had three Olympic Champions from Tokyo in the boat, and only just beat the Australians by a length.

Rigney will remain in the Quad for World Cup 3 and spoke positively of the race. “It was nice to race one-on-one and get a bit of experience. We’re a relatively new combination, so it’s good practise for World Cup 3.”

Australian Jess Morrison OAM and American Meghan Musnicki won The Hambleden Pairs Challenge Cup “easily” over the British squad crew from Leander. Of the race, Morrison said, “I really enjoyed being out there. We didn’t have any steering issues today, and we put a really solid race together, so [we are] happy with that.”

The Stonor Challenge Cup saw wash and waves throughout the race, creating tricky conditions for World Cup 2 Silver Medallists, Anneka Reardon and Lucy Coleman, as they took on rival American lightweights and Olympic Finallists, Reckford and Sechser. The Australians lost by just over two lengths, coach Ellen Randell was pleased with their race and said that it would give them good experience ahead of Lucerne.

David Bartholot had a strong performance in the Diamond Sculls, being beaten by German Sculler and 2019 World Champion Olli Zeidler by two lengths overall – the most challenged the German has been for the whole regatta.

British squad athletes got the best of the Women’s and Men’s Eights today, with composite combinations beating both the Men’s and Women’s crews in The Grand and Remenham Challenge Cups.

Of the Women’s race, Tokyo Olympic Champion, Annabelle McIntyre OAM said, “We went out there with some really good intent, and we’re all really proud of that intent, we just didn’t quite execute it the way we wanted to. Every one of us will take that mentality that every stroke counts; we’ll definitely be really hungry next week.”

The team will now travel to Lucerne, Switzerland where they will prepare for World Cup 3 (8 – 10 July) – the final round of the World Cups – which will conclude their European racing tour.

For full results and any information about the regatta head to the Henley Royal Regatta website here: https://www.hrr.co.uk/

Follow the Rowing Australia social media channels for the latest updates, as well as photos and video coverage of the Australian Rowing Team.

Henley Royal Regatta Full Results

– Men’s Double (M2x) THE DOUBLE SCULLS CHALLENGE CUP – WON

– Women’s Pair (W2-) THE HAMBLEDEN PAIRS CHALLENGE CUP – WON

– Men’s Four (M4-) THE STEWARDS’ CHALLENGE CUP – WON

– School Girls Eight (SG8+) THE PRINCE PHILLIP CHALLENGE TROPHY St Catherine’s School WON

– Men’s Single (M1x) THE DIAMOND CHALLENGE SCULLS (Bartholot) – LOSS (2nd overall)

– Women’s Double (W2x) THE STONOR CHALLENGE TROPHY – LOSS (2nd overall)

– Women’s Quad (W4x) THE PRINCESS GRACE CHALLENGE CUP – LOSS (2nd overall)

– Women’s Eight (W8+) THE REMENHAM CHALLENGE CUP – LOSS (2nd overall)

– Men’s Eight (M8+) THE GRAND CHALLENGE CUP – LOSS (2nd overall)

– Women’s Pair (W2-) THE HAMBLEDEN PAIRS CHALLENGE CUP (Gleeson/Mitchell) – Semi Finals

– Men’s Single (M1x) THE DIAMOND CHALLENGE SCULLS (Marsh) – Quarter Finals

– Women’s Four (W4-) THE TOWN CHALLENGE CUP – Quarter Finals

– Women’s Single (W1x) – THE PRINCESS ROYAL CHALLENGE CUP – Heats

Henley Royal Regatta Crew Lists

THE DIAMOND CHALLENGE SCULLS (M1x)

David Bartholot

Sam Marsh

THE DOUBLE SCULLS CHALLENGE CUP (M2x)

Bow Caleb Antill
Stroke Jack Cleary

THE STEWARDS’ CHALLENGE CUP (M4-)

Bow Alexander Purnell OAM
2 Spencer Turrin OAM
3 Jack Hargreaves OAM
Stroke Jack O’Brien

THE GRAND CHALLENGE CUP (M8+)

Bow Henry Youl
2 Benjamin Canham
3 Angus Widdicombe
4 Jackson Kench
5 Sam Hardy
6 William O’Shannessy
7 Patrick Holt
Stroke Rohan Lavery
Cox: Kendall Brodie

Men’s Coaches: Rhett Ayliffe, Mark Prater and Lyall McCarthy OAM

THE HAMBLEDEN PAIRS CHALLENGE CUP (W2-)

Bow Jean Mitchell
Stroke Georgie Gleeson

Jessica Morrison OAM & Meghan Musnicki(California Rowing Club)

THE STONOR CHALLENGE TROPHY (W2x)

Bow Anneka Reardon
Stroke Lucy Coleman

THE TOWN CHALLENGE CUP (W4-)

Bow Eliza Gaffney
2 Genevieve Hart
3 Ella Bramwell
Stroke Jacqueline Swick

THE PRINCESS GRACE CHALLENGE CUP (W4x)

Bow Tara Rigney
2 Rowena Meredith
3 Harriet Hudson
Stroke Kathryn Rowan

THE REMENHAM CHALLENGE CUP (W8+)

Bow Emma Fessey
2 Eleanor Price
3 Bronwyn Cox
4 Georgie Rowe
5 Annabelle McIntyre OAM
6 Giorgia Patten
7 Lucy Stephan OAM
Stroke Katrina Werry
Cox Talia Barnet-Hepples

Women’s Coaches: John Keogh, Ellen Randell and Tom Westgarth

THE PRINCESS ROYAL CHALLENGE CUP (W1x)

737 R. N. Thompson (University of Queensland, Australia)