Monday, 19 June 2017

Farewell Henley

Sunday, our final full day in England, was spent taking care of logistics, enjoying some relaxed time around town, packing, and watching the semifinals and finals of the HWR events.  The team rose early to row the eight up to the Henley Royal Regatta venue boat tent, and to have a final team meeting of this long and productive season.  The women got an up-close look at the exclusive (exclusionary?) HRR facility.  By any measure it is impressive.

Notably for us Americans, the final race tally showed an extremely fast and deep field in the Senior 4- event.  In the Senior 8, our friends from Newcastle easily made the final round by defeating Radcliffe (USA), then faced a British development boat from Molesey Boat Club.  Molesey was blazing fast, defeating Newcastle and setting a new course record in the event with a time of 5:37.   Ohio State Univ defeated a British National team composite boat in the final of the elite 8.  Our women did some shirt trading with Newcastle, which was lovely.  We all did some shopping and attempted to stay cool in the blazing sun.

The women went out in Town for dinner, while the coaches enjoyed dinner with a small contingency of New England DIII school coaches at a fine pub., most of whom are here in preparation for HRR with their men's teams.

Many thanks to our gracious hosts and our many friends around the Henley rowing scene.  Their genuine interest in the quality of our experience here on the Thames, and our success on and off the water, is quite special.

Coach Pat

HRR Boat Tent - our Men arrive here today

Our rooster pigeon - he takes no days off!

Saturday, 17 June 2017

Saturday June 17 - Showdown on the Henley Reach

Wakened at first light by our rooster-pigeon on our window ledge, the day dawned clear and warm, the sky bright blue.  By noon, the breeze was light, the water flat, and the sun hot.  Our women arrived with game faces on, fully prepared, put hands on the boat, and launched ready to bring their all.

Coach Martha and Coach Pat, along with some WPI and Newcastle parents, had the privilege of riding in the umpire launch following behind the race.  At 12:56PM, with crews aligned, and ready, the flag dropped.

Newcastle, with a blazing start (I would guess about a 44), jumped ahead in the first 20 strokes by 4 seats, but WPI also blazed out at a 41, fully bringing "guns" to bear.  Newcastle edged away bit by bit, pushed by the tenacious WPI crew, finally gaining open water on us.  But our women stayed in the fight, pushing beyond their limits to stay on the tail of Newcastle all the way down the course,  and gaining ground in the last 250m to a final result of Newcastle over WPI, officially by 2 lengths.  Newcastle's time was a very fast 5:00, the fastest time posted today, thanks in no small part to WPI pushing them during the race.

We are extremely proud of all our WPI women rowers.  Their preparation and performance was superb.  They came to race, and race they did.  In the words of Coach Pat, HoooRahhh!

Coach Pat

Umpire launch

WPI in the Bucks lane...

Newcastle University in the Berks lane.

WPI in the heat of battle

Newcastle women came to visit and chat with our team - they are a class act - good luck Newcastle! [apparently they've been reading our blog :-)]

Nick Park, creator of Wallace and Gromit, is creating a live action claymation using clay figures crafted by rowers at the regatta site - some of our women contributed!

Friday, 16 June 2017

Friday is Race Day!

Today the HWR racing opened in full swing beginning at 9AM this morning with time trials for several events.  As I may have mentioned previously, only 16 boats can be bracketed for racing in any given event, so if there are more than 16 entries, a time trial is done to determine the 16 fastest crews, which are then bracketed for elimination rounds.  The senior 4- event had 21 entries, thus, there was a time trial.  The Platinum Fantastico Quatro rowed a great piece, executing very well, steering straight (not true for many crews), and putting their all into moving their boat down the course.  Despite a great effort, their time fell just short of qualifying, so they are done racing for this trip.  We are all very proud of their performance!

The eight showed up to provide great support for their team mates and scout the race venue in preparation for tomorrow.  They are very ready to bring their best against Newcastle tomorrow at 12:56PM!  You can find a link to the live video feed of racing at the website.An added bonus today was a private guided tour of Leander Club at 5pm.  Two Leander boys gave us an  extensive tour of the club - from the foyer, to the private bar, to the hotel style rooms, to the athlete rooms and training areas.  Very impressive and a lovely tour for the women.  They were most impressed with the training volume and the caloric intake consumed by these elite athletes!  Along with the impressive, storied history  of the club's success in high-end rowing.

Here are some photos of the 4 racing and a few misc shots.  Tomorrow, the 8 steps into the ring with Newcastle, gladiator style!!  Bring it!

The Henley reach very early this morning

Lovely light at Henley Bridge early this morning

The four racing the time trial!

Platinum Fantastico Quatro!!!

Fawley - a Henley landmark on the Buckinghamshire bank

The group outside Leander - lots of smiles

Coach Pat

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Thursday June 15 - A day in the life of Henley

Today was the last full practice day for HWR.  Weather again beautiful, but more breezy today.  I thought it would be informative to show you some of the sights from a typical day here.
While there a great many lovely cafes and shops, Costa and Starbucks are the only spots open early enough for us to grab "filter coffee" or latte.  Today, Starbucks was calling us...
Down the steps in our narrow English house

Out and about early on the bikes

First stop.....Starbucks 

It's Thursday...Farmers Market at Town Square

Boat meeting before morning practice

The eight practicing...

Whilst coaches watch...

Remenham Farms adjacent to river
On the route back through town after morning practice - I do believe our women have visited here!
Garden at the coach's house for a bite of lunch

Mounting up for afternoon practice....

Down Queen Street....

Across Henley Bridge to the Berkshire side....

Plenty of traffic here ... the next closest bridge is upriver in Sonning

Down the Thames Path at Henley Royal boat tents....

Past the Henley Royal Enclosure - the HWR event is excluded from this venue...

Continuing down the Thames Path...

Past the mansion ....
Over the arched footbridge....

Arriving at the HWR venue across from Fawley

Boat storage

Launching for afternoon practice

A few of the pubs around town - there are a great many here  The Argyle

The Queen Victoria

Waitrose Supermarket where we seem to visit at least once per day

Yes there is a Dr Who phone booth - mostly for tourists I think

New cafe called Spoon - lovely - great sweets and lattes

The local Bakery

Preparing for the Foreign Crew Reception at the Henley River and Rowing Museum!

Ready for the start of racing tomorrow!

End to a busy day - 930PM

Coach Pat

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Wed - June 14 - Practice makes perfect

Today was another beautiful day in Henley, a bit warm and a bit too sunny for being out all day perhaps, but lovely nonetheless.  Good day for ice cream. The crews practiced AM and PM.  This morning, the eight did short scrimmage pieces with a fast crew from Galway Rowing Club from the Emerald Isle (aka Ireland) which was very productive for both crews.  Little bit of humor in all of this as their all star coach is a lovely older gent by the name of Tom Sullivan!  Inside joke for those of us close to the rowing community back home...

Not much to report other than that.  We continue to bump into Americans who we know well as we walk along the river, which is always lovely. The trip is winding to a close soon, as tomorrow is the HWR international crew reception to kick of regatta opening on Friday.  As I mentioned previously, the four has a time trial Friday morning, and onward we go from there.  Head to head racing begins Friday afternoon and runs through Sunday, dependent on how many rounds each crew wins.

Here are some shots from early morning today and practice later on.

Coach Pat

Galway RC and WPI

Man O' Steele

The Start

The eight practicing