As racing began at the merciful hour of 11:30 am in Henley-on-Thames for the final day of racing at the Royal Regatta, Union Boat Club, Boston USA took on the Taurus Boat Club, a program comprised of Oxford Brookes University alums.
Union has been strong and calculating this entire regatta, having effective race plans and powerful rowers. This time, however, Taurus somehow stormed ahead at start and it took too long for the Union rowers to answer. When Union reached the thre-quarter mile marker where they made a massive move on Saturday, they had already lost almost three boat lengths to Taurus. They were drawing in to Taurus as they reached the spectator enclosures, but it looked as if they needed about another 500 meters of course to make it. They had simply waited too long or gotten too much separation from Taurus. Good run at Henley for Union, but no Britannia Silver Cup for the boys.
It is unusual to cover a Harvard losing boat at Henley. The Crimson's coaching staff and athletes seem hard-wired to succeed here. They have plans, they have an impressive collection of intensely motivated oarsmen, and they appear to have Henley in their dark-red blood. This time, however, the Harvard Frosh were a bit overpowered by a Dutch crew comprised of students from the Delft University of Technology, with older and developed athletes. DSR Laga of the Netherlands, one of the three primary rowing programs in the country, has not won at Henley since 1972, when they won the Ladies’ Plate. This time in the Temple, the crew got away from the young Harvard crew, and never let up their lead, winning by two and a quarter lengths. No Silver yet for US Crews as the lunch break approaches.
Four more crews to race after the lunch interval, and there will be more from an interview with John Pojednic of Northeastern, where US might be hanging some hopes on their Ladies Plate race at 3:10 this afternoon. Northeastern 1973 Grand Challenge finalist will row down at the lunch interval.
At the lunch interval there will be some historic crews and newer ones on the course. The Harvard University 1973 Ladies’ Plate winners will row down on this fortieth anniversary of their win. In a scarier face off, there will be a crew comprised of British lightweights representing Monsters University (yes, the Disney Pixar movie to be released in the UK on July 12) will race against the Oxford University Lightweights. The Monsters University Crew of Zac Purchase, Mark Hunter, Adam Freeman-Pask and Chris Bartley will do a row-down at the lunch interval. Banners, athletes and Disney representatives are sucking all the air from the hot press tent now, we will let you know how this rather un-Henley event goes, after an interview with Mike and Sully?
Records are being matched or falling today with the perfect conditions: very light breeze, flat water...will update as the day goes on. The pair record was matched; you could almost picture Henley Steward Sir Mathew Pinsent grinning widely in his launch knowing he got another year as record holder, since 1995!
Cheers from the morning session of Henley finals.