Tuesday will be largely eights racing for the Americans here in Henley, as previewed here, but amongst the fours and smaller boats, only the Los Gatos 4- in the Wyfold is in action on the first day tomorrow.
Starts are well underway this morning
So let's start there with the 2nd part of our read on the draw for the US crews with the Wyfold and other Fours, and go through the rest of the "not-Eights" events.
Wyfold Challenge Cup - M4-
Los Gatos is the lone US entry in the Wyfold, the event for Club Straight Fours. They made the field of 32 from the Qualifiers, and their reward has been a draw against Marlow "B" on the first day of racing. The first selected crew they might face would be the Irish outfit from Shandon Boat Club, should both make it to that third round match-up.
Visitors' Challenge Cup - M4-
Racing in the Visitors, which includes university and not-yet-National Team Fours, gets going on Wednesday. When it does, the Univ of Washington crew in this one will lead off against the selected Dutch crew from A.A.S.R. Skoll & A.A.S.R Skadi. Should they win, the selected French crew, from C.N. d'Annecy & Av. Grenoblois would likely be waiting in the quarterfinal.
Prince Albert Challenge Cup - M4+
Unlike the Visitors, the coxed four race for colleges features a number of selected US crews. The Washington crew in this event--selected--gets University College, Dublin to start, and then will definitely get a state-side opponent in the second round: the winner of Drexel vs the also selected Cal-Berkeley "A" crew. (For the record, Cal won the V4+ match up at Pac-12 Championship).
For good measure, the second Cal-Berkeley crew in the Prince Albert is also a selected crew, and also races a US opponent, in Bucknell, to start. Oxford Brooks "A" would await them in the next round. The last US crew in the event, ULCA's Bruins, has a tough draw: selected D.S.R. Proteus-Eretes (NED) and then selected University of Bristol even if the first race goes well--and then either fellow UC Cal-Berkeley "B," or Brooks.
Queen Mother Challenge Cup - M4x
We all have to wait until Saturday for this one, since just four elite men's quads put Henley on the schedule, but it should be a good one: USA vs New Zealand in a semi. The USA quad, racing as Texas R.C. and Vesper B.C., will be the two heavyweight doubles which both raced the B Final at the Poznan World Cup: the Selection Regatta winners--Kevin Cardno and Jonathan Kirkegaard--will team up with Dominique Williams and Jacob Plihal to go against the Kiwis. The Chinese Quad, winners of both World Cups so far this year, faces home favorite GB in the other semi.
Princess Grace Challenge Cup - W4x
Four National Team quads will contest the Women's Quad as well, and they are the four selected crews in the 12-boat field. The US quad is on the Australian side of the draw and the two are on a path to meet in the semi final after a first round bye. USA will feature Sophia Vitas, from the Americans's bronze medal-winning World Cup 2x, along with women from USRowing's first round of this year's selection camp process. Vitas gets a (possibly short) break from the USA Double here while her partner, Kara Kohler, goes after the Princess Royal in the single. GB and the Chinese quad that won at Poznan (and topped the British by 3 seconds at World Cup 1) will go at it in the other semi.
This event got a whole lot more interesting when The Brown and Cal quad squads made it through Qualifying and, while the big college programs do not train in sculls a tremendous amount, they do have scullers on their rosters--well-conditioned, to boot--as both Brown and Cal have proven on the Thames these past few weeks. At Women's Henley, Cal came second in the time trialing for the Championship Quads, and then met Brown in the Semis, where Bruno moved on with a 2 length verdict, only to lose by just three-quarters of a length in a ripping final against Leander.
Cal will get started against a boat from down-under--Australian National University B.C. & Huon Rowing Club--but gets the Team USA quad if they win. Brown gets a rematch against the Leander "A" Crew they pressed all the way down the length of the Women's Henley final, and the winner there become the first race for the Australian National Team quad that took 4th at the Poznan World Cup.
Fawley Challenge Cup - JM4x
Racing has already been fierce amongst the Junior Men sculling in quads here--the event is down to 24 crews in the main draw from the 65 that entered and the 44 that duked it out for just 3 spots in the main draw.
The Los Gatos Quad's silver medal at Youth Nationals last month earned them selected crew status, so they have a bye for the first round of racing. Their first race will be Thursday, where they await the winner of the Westminster School vs Hereford Cathedral School race. A victory there could get them the selected quad from Kingston R.C. There are eight selected quads in all for the Fawley this year.
Among them is the other US crew in the main draw: The Dolphin Swimming and Boating Club from Oakland, California. The Dolphin Club squad impressed in the Qualification race, earning not just one of the coveted three spots on offer but also selected crew status, and that first round bye. They get the winner of Methodist College, Belfast vs Tideway Scullers, and the selected crew ahead of them in the next round would be the Australian school boys from Gippsland G.S.
Diamond Jubilee Challenge Cup - JW 4x
Henley, Daytona, whatever
Just one US crew in the running for the Diamond Jubilee, but it is one to watch: Redwood Scullers. This quad won the Youth Nationals in impressive fashion, open water ahead of a fleet of quads running under 6:55 pace. Selected here, they will sit out the first round and then get the winner of George Heriot's School vs Tideway Scullers. They are on the same side of the draw as Henley Rowing Club, which fielded last year's winner, and could see them in the semi-final on Saturday.
Silver Goblets & Nickalls' Challenge Cup - M2-
Two Princeton heavyweights, senior Stephane Pienaar and the just graduated William Stocovaz, are the lone US entry in the Men's Pair--the USA Pairs that went 3rd and 5th in the Poznan World Cup are both in the US's Grand Challenge eight. The Princeton duo gets an Australian pair to start and then would see the New Zealand's fearsome new pair Matt Macdonald and Tom Mackintosh. Macdonald and Mackintosh have come out of the Kiwi's Olympic Champion Eight and they promptly won the Poznan World Cup gold ahead of the Dutch and USA's top pair of Michale Grady and Justin Best.
Hambleden Pairs Challenge Cup - W2-
The story of the Women's pair here may start and stop with the Olympic Champions, Grace Prendergast and Kerri Williams from New Zealand, but there promises to be a lot of great racing along the way, much of it from fellow Olympians. Among those is the USA's Meghan Musnicki, two-time Olympic Champion in the USA eight. Musnicki is rowing for California Rowing Club here and has teamed up with Australian Olympian Jessica Morrison, herself a gold medallist in the Aussie four at Tokyo. They are, Musnicki tells us, calling themselves the "AUSA" pair, and they are likely to meet Yale's "super spare" pair of Lucy Edmunds and Katie King-Smith after a first round bye.
Time to let the dogs out
Edmunds and King-Smith, the pair from Yale, race in the first round, as do both the Washington Pair of Shakira Mirfin & Madi Frampton and the Cal Pair of Lucine Ahyi & Fien Van Westreenen. Should the collegians racing in this elite event go well, Cal has the best chance to see the Kiwi Olympic champs, in their second round race; UW would have to get through the Australian pair--who are coming off a World Cup bronze as the bow pair of the AUS Eight--to get a chance to sit on the line next to Prendergast and Williams.
Double Sculls Challenge Cup - M2x
USA's Light Men's Double will try their luck against the open weight doubles here. Jasper Liu and Zach Heese qualified their combo for Worlds with their 5th place finish at Poznan two weeks ago, so the Henley racing will be both a "job well done" lap as well as a chance to keep gaining speed with an eye towards September. They will have a bye to start and then could see a strong Dutch double to start or Leander's pre-qualified double of Victor Kleshnev and James Cartwright.
Washington's double features two Canadian Huskies who U23 pedigree makes them too senior for UW's Temple Eight entry: Steve Rosts and Adam Krol, who has a U23 gold from Canada's 2021 BM4-, will race a British crew, Nathan Hull and Aidan Thompson, that rowed on in Qualifying, just as the Huskies did, on Friday.
Stonor Challenge Trophy - W2x
USA's strong Lightweight Double--and newly minted World Cup gold medal winners--Molly Reckford and Michelle Sechser are a selected crew but already have their first round opponent, a double from Peterburogh Rowing Club which qualified on Friday. In all, there are three Light Women's Doubles trying their hand in this open event: the US, Australia, and New Zealand, whom Reckford and Sechser could see in their second race, Saturday's semi-final.
The other American double--Redwood Sculler's Meena Baher and Hannah Mead--got into the draw the hard way: after the heartbreak of finishing the Qualification races as the fastest crew not to qualify, Baher and Mead's time nonetheless earned them the nod when one of the Australian double had to withdraw. A rollercoaster of a Friday for sure but as Redwood coach Monica Hilcu noted: "The dream continues for these two ladies!"
They will race the combined Ukranian/Polish double of Olena Buriak & Agnieszka Kobus-Zawojska, who have been training together ever since Kobus-Zawojska invited Buriak to take refuge with her in Poland from the war in Buriak's native Ukraine. They will be racing here to raise awareness for the war in Ukraine and promoting World Rowing's fundraising efforts for the Ukrainian National Team.
Diamond Challenge Sculls - M1x
Ben Davison, late of the US Men's Olympic Eight and with a World Cup bronze already in his 2022 campaign in the single, will open against Maciej Zawojski (POL). Davison is on the opposite side of the draw from Germany's Ollie Ziedler and, in the absence of last year's GB winner, Graeme Thomas, Davison could make a deep run here--fitting, perhaps, in the year when the last American to win the Diamonds, Aquil Abdullah, is on hand--and on duty--as Henley's newest Steward.
Princess Royal Challenge Cup
The Women's Single is chockablock with Olympic scullers: from Tokyo Champion Emma Twigg (NZL), to Magdalena Lognig (AUT), to the US's own Kara Kolhler. While Kohler has been going after the double thus far this year--qualifying her combination with Sophia Vitas already by winning a bronze in Poznan--she is back in the single here and is on the opposite side of the draw from Twigg and Lobnig.
Lobnig's first opponent is the sculler from University of Washinton, Tabea Schendekehl of Germany, who is racing here after graduating from UW and spending a year in Seattle as a coach with the program. Schendekehl has international experience, both as a U23 and at the European Championships, but a draw against Lobnig is a tough "prize" for having qualified for the German.
USA's Ali Rusher, racing here for Cambridge Boat Club, comes out of the US quad that raced in Tokyo. She could face Twigg in her second race, if she can scull past Lucy Spoors, who was a sweep Olympian in 2021 in New Zealand's silver medal eight.
Notes from the Course
Annual "We came all this way" story: Santa Clara's first round opponent which they came all of 6000 miles to race? Yale. In fact, Santa Clara has yet to race a non-US opponent here at Henley, across two trips, even when they made a run to the quarterfinals in 2017. And if they should get past the EARC Sprints winning Yale Lightweights they race today? They get Washington next round, so their race other Americans streak would continue.
Spare Pairs: Monday saw a few rounds of spares racing, which you can see in the Monday gallery. Washington's actual spares took the Men's racing and Brown the women's--making it official on Instagram--and back-to-back dueling in a heavy headwind in pairs made these hard-earned wins. However unofficial, the spare took it seriously and the races were run with an umpiring launch to boot.
Best way to get the course to yourself? Volunteer to be the camera test crew: Brown had a "right time, right place" moment when they got offered the chance to row an empty and closed course during the broadcast team's camera test on Monday. Given how busy the course had become by Tuesday morning, when crews could hardly get full speed work in with all the traffic between the booms, Brown's race rehearsal row was an opportunity well-seized.
The Henley drone is huge
And, since you asked on yesterday's report, the oar racks are custom-made, reportedly in China, and definitely substantial enough that they are hard to move even with a full eight of college dudes.