Rachel Egan |

Henley Royal Regatta: a junior perspective

It may be August, but Henley Royal Regatta starts on Wednesday 11 August and runs for six days, with the bonus of two new women’s events in club eights and junior eights. Wycliffe junior rower Rachel Egan shares thoughts on the junior racing as she also prepares to compete on the course for the first time

As the rowing season comes to an end, all is once again ramped up for one last hurrah at Henley Royal Regatta. Possibly the most anticipated event in the domestic rowing calendar now lies but a single week away. After over two years of waiting, I and thousands of other athletes will finally race down the famous Henley course. Not only does the event pose an opportunity for racing, but it also marks a significant period in British summertime; in fact, the Henley Stewards proudly recognise that ‘Henley Royal Regatta is undoubtedly the best-known regatta in the world’.

Considering this, I feel all the nerves are justified!

In a regular year, the town of Henley-on-Thames would be flush with athletes from all corners of the globe, different in ethnicity and tongue, but each with a common goal. As expected, there is a notable decrease in international entrants for this year’s competition – 41 compared with 159 in 2019. In total there will be 481 crews competing, so 179 crews down on the 2019 regatta. However, I doubt it will detract from the tension of racing nor the unusual traditions that make the Royal so memorable.

For the first time on the junior scene, schoolboys and girls will experience parity across events. The new Junior Women’s Eight category gives junior women space to race in a sweep crew at Henley Royal for the first time in its 182-year history.

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