Shrewsbury School – girls’ crew to qualify for the Henley Royal Regatta

16 Jul 2015

Many congratulations to the Senior Girls’ Quad, who have made history by becoming Shrewsbury’s first ever girls’ crew to qualify for the Henley Royal Regatta.

They raced against Henley Rowing Club in the Diamond Jubilee Challenge Cup on Thursday 2nd July. Although they were beaten in the race, they can take great pride in all that they have achieved this season and the fact that they are now competing at the same level as the boys’ 1st VIII.

The Senior Girls’ Quad departed for Henley-on-Thames on Thursday 18th June with two days of preparation on the Henley course ahead, before the start of the Henley Women’s Regatta where they would contest the Junior Quad.

The crew of Laetitia Tay, Sian Hinton, Claudia Kimpton-Smith and Abi Reynolds turned heads as they completed their training paddles on the famous course and received support from both senior crews and umpires as they completed their final preparations.

On Saturday morning the Shrewsbury Quad contested the time trial from which 19 entrants would be reduced to 16. The Shrewsbury Quad was the second crew to time trial down the course and they did so sending a message of strength and intention which saw them easily qualify for the following rounds.

At midday the Quad contested their first round against a composite crew from Doncaster, Bradford and Lincoln Rowing Clubs. The Shrewsbury quad stormed down the first five hundred meters of the course, putting themselves in a strong position and enabling them to lower the rate and control the remainder of the race and secure an ‘easily’ verdict.

As the Quad boated for their second round against Staines Rowing Club the heavens opened, drenching the course in a heavy rain storm. The Shrewsbury girls were not deterred by the soggy conditions and once again put on a display of strong oarswoman-ship, leading the race the from start to finish and winning with a lead of three and a half lengths.

The win against Staines saw the Shrewsbury Quad take their place in the semi-final against Surbiton High School, bronze medalists from National Schools. The girls knew this would be their toughest race of the weekend and rose to the challenge, charging out of the stake boats level with Surbiton. At the barrier Surbiton took a length on the Shrewsbury Quad and despite holding them at this length throughout the race, they were not able to take back the distance and lost to Surbiton by one length and one third.

Despite missing out on a place in the final, the girls can take pride in having been in such close contention with the crew that went on to win the event.

Having gone on to qualify for Henley Royal Regatta, the girls now look forward to racing against Henley Rowing Club on Thursday 2nd July in the Diamond Jubilee Cup.

The boys’ 1st VIII raced against Hampton School in the heats of the Princess Elizabeth Challenge Cup on Wednesday 1st July; they were beaten by three-quarters of a length.

Tess Fitton


Photo: Senior Girls’ Quad with coach Tess Fitton and Boatman Andy Clark