Henley Royal Regatta 2009

The Britannia coxed four had a fantastic run at HRR and made it to the final, narrowly losing to Agecroft who were the pre-regatta favourites. Many congratulations to Mark Williams, Harry Bond, Big Nick Neveling, Dylan Samuel and cox Michael Wale, and to the coaches Martin Hindshaw and Karl Henderson.

This was Vesta’s 18th appearance in a Henley Final; the full list is shown in the results section. Further coverage appeared in the Surrey Comet shortly afterwards.

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Vesta’s second boat was entered in the Thames Challenge Cup. Despite a decisive win against Combined Services on Wednesday they were knocked out by favourites Tideway Scullers the following day. The crew of Alasdair Anderson, Rob Shaw, Josh McInerney, Mat Jozwiak, Laurence Manning, Alister Campbell, James Watts and Uinseann McSamhrain and cox Liz Head put in a solid performance and this result proves that a year of technical work and fitness training has brought the squad to a new level with great potential to go even further next year.

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As usual, Vesta supporters were out in force and leading the famous ‘Remenham roar’ as our crews streaked past the club! Many thanks to all who turned up and we hope to see you all again next year for even more success and champagne on Paul Baldwin, our ever-generous chairman.

The view from Remenham Vesta supporters as the boats come down the course

Henley Women’s Regatta

Vesta had a great run at Henley Women’s Regatta impressively reaching two finals.

Coxed four

The intermediate coxed four of Vics Mcleod-More, Aga Siemiginowska, Emily Druce and Natasha Henderson-Ross with Andrew MacMillan coxing did well to qualify in a strong field. Sadly, they then lost to eventual finalists City of Oxford in the first round.

Eight racing

The eight of Verity Ansell, Sarah Wood, Anna Barkensjo, Charlie Dempster, Gaby Turner, Rahma Barclay, Emily Trant and Kitty Lowings coxed by Ross Martin did particularly well, storming through the time trial and all three rounds on the way to the final with some close races on the way (including a canvas win over Putney Town in the second round).

In the final they came up against a very strong York City crew who had posted similar times to Vesta during the regatta. Throughout the race York had to pull out all the stops to repel Vesta pushes again and again, but they just managed to hold on and went on to win by a length.

Coxless four

The Elite coxless four of Anna Storrs, Kat Hedges, Mary Donovan and Becki Helson faced an incredibly tough field but after a determined fight and some interesting steering from both crews they clawed out a lead of a length and a quarter in their semi to become the second Vesta crew this year to make a HWR final. In the final they sadly lost out to a fierce Molesey crew which included some GB triallists.

Freya Johnstone put in a gutsy row down the course up until the halfway point, where she lost her lead on her opponent in the lightweight singles heat.

All in all, although it’s gutting to come so close to a win, reaching two HWR finals is a phenomenal achievement for the squad and congratulations must go to the athletes and especially to the coaches Matt Gilliver, Paul Fitzwilliam, Jessica Essex and the guest coaches such as Rusty Williams.

Marlow Regatta

While the women were busy destroying the opposition in Henley, the men’s squad raced in eights and fours at Dorney. Coming first in their IM2 eights heat, second in the semi and fourth in the final, the Senior Men’s 8+ of Alisdair Anderson, Rob Shaw, Josh McInerney, Mat Jozwiak, Laurence Manning, Alister Campbell, James Watts, Vincent McGovern and cox Liz Head put in a gutsy performance. The coxed four posted some consistent times and the Intermediate squad’s coxless four got in some good multi-lane racing experience. Click here for full results.

IM1 4-

Photo courtesy of Birdman Photography.

Metropolitan Regatta

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Metropolitan, the second multi-lane regatta of the season, was held at Dorney Lake on the weekend of the 30th and 31st May 2009. While we were lucky to get blue skies and sun, there was a brisk wind whipping across the course which would make attaching at the start difficult for some of the less experienced crews.  Lanes one and two were protected by the bank while the higher-numbered lanes bore the full brunt of the gusts and white horses. Let’s hope they sort it out for 2012!

Highlights of the weekend were second place in senior coxed fours from the crew of Josh McInerney, Nick Neveling, Harry Bond and Mark Williams with Michael Wale coxing, and another second place for the Women’s IM1 coxless four of Becki Helson, Kat Hedges, Mary Donovan and Anna Storrs. Check out the results page for a full list of results from the weekend.

IM1 eights Sunday

Photos available from Birdman.

International Gold in Ghent

The women’s squad had a successful weekend’s racing at the International Ghent May Regatta, qualifying for six finals against stiff international and domestic competition. The weekend was topped off by a win for the quad of Charlie Dempster, Kitty Lowings, Anna Barkensjo and Gaby Turner.

The senior women’s squad chunnelled and ferried over to sunny Ghent at the weekend for the 32nd International Belgian Championships for Seniors. Hopes were high after the wins at Wallingford, however the competition would be tougher since races at Ghent are open.

Saturday started well with the eight, quad, pair and double making it to their finals. Unfortunately with most people doubling up and all the finals being close together there were no medals to be had.

However everyone went into Sunday with renewed energy after the hotel’s great breakfast spread. The decision for Sunday was that no one would double up so it was just an eight, a quad and a coxless four racing. Both the quad and the coxless four made it into their finals with the coxless four putting in a strong performance unfortunately being pipped to the post for fourth place.

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The final race of the day was the quad of Charlie Dempster, Kitty Lowings, Anna Barkensjo and Gaby Turner (pictured above) pitted against strong competition from Kingston and Imperial College (who had beaten them the day before). The commentator kept announcing that it was between Kingston and Vesta all the way down the course with Vesta having a half length lead the whole way. The supporters’ club were on the edge of their seats willing them on to stay in the lead. As they came into view they looked strong and maintained their position pushing through to win by a length to Kingston with Imperial College coming in third.

At Ghent the awards ceremony is accompanied by a regal fanfare of trumpets over the sound system, and the winning quad received, along with their medals, an impressive trophy of a blade painted in Sport Ghent colours. It’s now onwards and upwards to Metropolitan Regatta and Women’s Henley.

Two wins at Wallingford regatta

Crowds watching the racing

Vesta’s Senior and Intermediate crews raced at Wallingford regatta this weekend in the first of many multi-lane races this summer. Conditions were less than ideal, with a strong tailwind and white horses. Congratulations to the senior women who put down a marker for the summer by winning both Intermediate 2 and Intermediate 3 eights and gaining some swanky hip flasks instead of the traditional open-top silverware. A great result!

IM3 winners Silverware IM2 winners

Photos available from BigBlade and Birdman.

Tideway Races over the next month

The month of March brings tourists flocking to the Tideway on four separate occasions: the Women’s Head, the Men’s Head, the Veterans’ Head and the Oxford-Cambridge Boat Race. The Embankment traffic police believe all large rowing events are called ‘The Boat Race’ and plaster yellow signs on all lamp posts accordingly, however the natives know better, each having its own distinct identity and excuse for a party.

While the Women’s Head is characterised by bare-footed squealing females unversed in the ways of the tidal Thames, hanging out of boats to pee and at least one capsize while boating, the Men’s Head brings schoolboys, social rowers, triallists and internationals bow to stern in a massive snaking flotilla, with the first crews on their second pint by the time the last crews are marshalling past the bandstand. Everyone thinks the Vet’s head will be a good idea until Barnes Bridge, yet when the time comes to enter the following year, Alzheimer’s and alcohol have done their wicked work and erased all memory of those twenty (thirty?) minutes of pain. For one day a year the media descends on Putney and Chiswick to cover THE Boat Race, with all its glorious hopes and dreams, unbearable tension and vicious coxing.

Best of luck to all crews involved and a hearty welcome to all crews boating from Vesta. Do come up for a well-earned brew in the bar afterwards, enjoy the view from our balcony and stay on into the evening to celebrate or drown your sorrows at one of Vesta’s legendary parties. See you there!

The 55th Scullers’ Head

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A veritable flotilla of Vesta scullers was out representing their club at this year’s Scullers Head.

There were some very positive results from members of all the squads despite many of the participants recovering from the recent illness that had swept through the club.

As per the norm for a Vesta event everything went smoothly and thanks go out to all who helped out with the organisation and running of the event.

Full Results