Noel Casey is a figure who features prominently in the history of both Vesta and Thames Rowing Clubs. Originally Noel was a rower with Vesta, joining in 1964. He became involved with Thames when his daughters wanted to learn to scull, but unfortunately, at the time Vesta did not allow female members. Noel went on to be involved at Thames for many years, coaching many international athletes in the 80’s and 90’s. There was a brief interlude during this time, returning to coach a Vesta men’s boat to a 5th place finish at the Head of the River.
Following a further period coaching at Thames, Noel returned to coach the Vesta Women. During this remarkable period he coached the women to their first ever win at Women’s Henley in 2004. This was just 10 years after female rowing members were admitted to the club. Below he remembers his time coaching the Vesta women.
“I wasn’t involved in coaching for much of the 90’s, but this changed late on the Saturday Afternoon on the Remenham Mound. I can’t remember too much of the discussion with Pete Williams and David White but I woke up the next morning realizing that I had agreed to go back and coach some Vesta Women.
A meeting was arranged their goals were discussed and when told the preparation required nobody blinked and I thought s#*t I’m hooked again. A very strict program was put in place and they carried it out to the letter, I arranged an outing with AK who were looking down on us, so it didn’t go down very well as we took the first two pieces really easily. Then some of the AK crew complained of injury and the rest of the outing was scrapped. This improved confidence so I contacted Rodger Silk and arranged an outing with Cambridge. Again we came out on top with some to spare, confidence kept on improving and a good result in the head was welcome.
Now the thoughts returned to Henley preparation went really well and the result speaks for itself. I suggested that we have ago at the Nat Champs but the desire to continue was fading as one of the crew could not make it. I bumped into Guin Batten at HRR and she agreed to fill the vacant seat no matter which one. When I informed the remaining seven who was filling in the desire to continue was instant, Now to the Champs we won the heat with Thames winning the other so now we are going head to head in lane 3 and 4 The commentary something like this, Vesta by one foot, then they are level, then Thames by one foot this continued all the way until the last few strokes brilliant race very disappointing at only getting the silver.
My biggest problem was remaining a silent neutral throughout the race in between TRC and VRC fans.”
Here are some of the biggest wins of Noels coaching career spanning 5 decades:
1977 TRC: Scullers Head Junior 1x, 1st
TRC: Nat Champs Junior 1x, 1st
1979 TRC: Nat Champs Junior 2x, 1st
1980 TRC: Nat Champs Senior 4+, 1st
1981 TRC: Nat Champs Senior 4+ and 4x, 1st
1983 GB National Squad: World Champs, Not Placed
1984 GB National Squad:
WeHoRR 1st & 2nd
Nat Champs 1st
Olympic Games 5th
1985 GB National Squad: World Champs, Not Placed
1986 VRC: HoRR, 1st (Vernon Trophy)
1988 TRC: WeHoRR, 2nd
TRC: Nat Champs, 2nd
1989 TRC: HWR, 8+ 1st
1990 TRC: WeHoRR, 1st
TRC: HWR 8+, 1st
1991 TRC: HWR 8+, 1st
1992 TRC: HWR 8+, 1st
Nat Champs 8+, 1st
Gent 8+ & 4-, 1st
Docklands 4-, 4+, 8+, 1st
1993 TRC: Nat Champs 4x 1st, 2nd, 3rd
2004 VRC: Henley 8+, 1st
VRC: Nat Champs, 2nd
2007 – 2011 Muckross RC, Ireland:
Won Eight Senior National Titles
2017 Kenmare BC: Coup de la Jeunesse 1x, 1st