Growing up as a young rower, Pieter Quinton always made sure he was up early and had the Henley Royal Regatta Sunday finals broadcast on in his home in Portland, Oregon.
Back then he only dreamed about what it would be like to actually be in a boat, sitting on the start to row in one of those finals. His dream became a reality yesterday.
The Harvard University junior was sitting in the stroke seat of the Crimson coxed four Sunday morning when they lined up against Durham University to race for possession of the Prince Albert Challenge Cup, and a lifelong memory.
All week, through all four previous days of the regatta, Quinton stroked the Harvard crew from one level to the next, until Saturday afternoon when Quinton and his boat rowed through and beat Oxford Brookes University to gain their place in the final.
They finished the job against Durham University in the second race of finals Sunday at the 2019 Henley Regatta, taking and holding a lead, and then defending the that lead through the Enclosures when Durham attempted to push back into the fray, and took back part of the Harvard lead.
"This is fantastic," Quinton said just before taking part in the traditional cox dunk. "I've always watched the regatta on the TV when I was younger. So the thought that I would be here, and that I would race in a final on Sunday is just surreal."
"It's just fantastic to cap off the season with a win here," he said. "We had a great season overall, winning the team points trophy at Harvard-Yale, the JV winning at Sprints. To finish it off here, like this, is great, and will help us keep the ball rolling into next season. It's been a great couple of days, and now we get to come down to the Stewards Enclosure and enjoy some of the spectacle of Henley."
Fantastic was a word that was used a lot by the rest of his crews as they accepted the cheers and congratulations of family and friends back in the boat yard.
"This lives up to every expectation I had of this," said Lucas Clarke. "It's fantastic, seeing the crowd, hear everyone cheer for us, it's a truly an amazing experience. I can't wait to celebrate with the boys later."
If the crew was happy with their win, so was Charlie Butt, Harvard men's head coach. "This is a strong combination from our second and third eights, and they improved throughout the regatta. They were strong at every point, and they just carried on.
"Yesterday was a huge race to go through Brookes in the end, so it means they're strong, means they have a lot of mental discipline, and a lot of maturity. We couldn't be prouder right now. They're all coming back to Harvard, and they are bringing this confidence back with them."
But first, there is the afternoon to celebrate. "Winning here is incredible," said Sam Monkley. "It's a fantastic feeling, one of my greatest sporting accomplishments yet. We knew Durham were going to be tough, they were never going to give up, and it was probably our hardest race yet. Just crossing the line knowing we had executed perfectly was just pure elation," he said
"Now I think we'll enjoy some Pimms in the Stewards Enclosure."
Harvard coxswain Edward Bracey goes flying