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Henley Royal Regatta 2023

Henley Royal Regatta (23 June – 2nd July)

Following in the footsteps of last year’s GB pair of Maisie and Zoe that raced in a composite in the Town Challenge Cup, ASRA took the leap into fielding its very first full ASRA Henley Royal Regatta crews. The club headed south with two crews pre-qualified from previous results: a Girls 8+ in the Prince Phillip Challenge Trophy and a Boys 4+ in the Britannia Challenge Cup. The four of Murray B, Magnus H, Harris Pe, Sam D, and coxed by Samuel C, entered into a senior club event at the regatta, did a fantastic job just to get to the final 16 allowed to race in the regatta. The boys came up against a very experienced crew from Thames, a crew with multiple Henley Royal Regatta appearances under their belt, and unfortunately went out in the first round to them. The boys fought hard against the experienced crew from Thames but ultimately the nerves on the day of racing on the world-famous Henley course for the first time got the better of them and they were put out of the competition by the official verdict of 3 ½ lengths. The girls eight of Freya H, Penny I, Maggie S, Tamara B, Sophie S, Anna D, Charlotte A, and Ella B, coxed by Lily A raced for the first time on the Wednesday, a day later than the boys, and drew Lady Eleanor Holles in the first round. The girls put on a dominant display of rowing against the English schoolgirls and stormed through to the next round by two lengths, becoming the first ever ASRA athletes to make a round at Henley Royal Regatta. The next round, however, against Surbiton proved to be a challenge too far for the girls against the National Schools silver medallists and the ASRA eight was knocked out by one and a half lengths, pushing the girls from Surbiton right to the line. ASRA also had great former pupil representation at the regatta with eight FPs racing in seven different events across the week, and even one event winner! Congratulations to FP Patrick Tawns on his win in the stroke seat of Thames ‘A’ in the Thames Challenge Cup!

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Henley Women's Regatta Winners Groton Challenge Cup

From the 17th to the 19th June, 3 crews from the Aberdeen Schools Rowing Association joined 2000 athletes from all over Britain and beyond to take part in the annual Henley Women’s Regatta, held on a 1500 metre course on the Thames from Temple Island to the Remenham Club.

All three crews emerged successfully from the time trials to take their place in the fierce side-by-side stages of the competition for the West End Amateur Rowing Association Trophy for Women’ Junior 16 Coxed Fours and the Groton School Challenge Cup for Women’s Junior 18 Coxed Fours.

Our Junior 16 girls – Teresa Brew, Emily Simpson, Charlotte Arthur and Maggie Seward, coxed by Sam Cordiner - were unfortunate to come up against one of the top seeded crews in the first round, but put up a tremendous fighting display against the girls of Headington School and only lost out to them in the end by a second in a photo finish.

Our Junior 18 Girls “B” crew- Sophia Brew, Ella Brooks, Freya Cummine , Gemma Collins, coxed by Rory Trythall - suffered a similar fate and were bettered in their first round by the very experienced local girls from Henley Rowing Club.

It was a rather different story however for our formidable Junior 18 “A” crew, where Rosie Wilson and Freya Hughson and cox Lily Arthur joined forces with our GB golden girls from Munich, Maisie Aspinall and Zoe Beeson. By virtue of their first place in the time trial they were awarded a bye into the quarter final, where they proved too strong for a feisty Clydesdale/ Molesey BC composite and in the semi-final they beat a strong four from Lady Eleanor Holles School by 2 ½ lengths to set up an all Scottish final against the National Rowing Academy select from Glasgow Academy, George Watson’s College, George Heriot’s School and St Andrew Boat Club. There they not only won by a handsome 4 ¾ lengths, but beat the course record for Junior Coxed Fours by two seconds to win in a time of 5 minutes and 20 seconds.

Aberdeen rowing cognoscenti will be aware this is in fact the second time that ASRA has won the prestigious Groton Challenge Cup. Back in the 2012 HWR final , Holly Reid – now ASRA’s Development Coach - crewed with Morven Shaw, Emily Geddes, Christie Duff and cox Charlotte Davie to beat the American girls from the Merion Mercy Academy to bring back the trophy to Aberdeen.

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