Schools Head of the River 2014- Junior Women’s Quads [J18 and J17]

A strong standard of entry despite the absence of both Eton Excelsior and Marlow. Eton Excelsior chose not to race at the Scullery too and I’m not sure why this was as it would have been good to see their speed after a long Christmas period. Nonetheless, we finally see the introduction of Gloucester Hartpury to the junior women’s fraternity. The preview of the J18 contenders…

Latymer Upper School

Leading the category out and they’ll be looking to retain the SHORR title for the second successive year. Can they do it? As ever, they’ve been pumping out some decent results through the winter including a good 2nd place in WJ184x at the Scullery. I think that they were stronger last year and, having lost both Hugo Gulliver and some of their best athletes, I’d be surprised if they took any major honours this year. Obviously, they’re still a tidy unit and I can see them putting up a good challenge but Gloucester Hartpury look like they will be a strong crew. A top 3 finish is my prediction but it’ll take a great row from these girls to clinch the title.

Gloucester Hartpury

The reigning WCH4x champions at NSR and they look, arguably, even stronger this year. They had three athletes in the top 15 at Feb GB Trials and recorded some good results at Gloucester Head including a win in WIM2 4X. Their time was only 36 seconds slower than the time of the winning J184x from Walton so they look seriously quick coming into this event. Hartpury have some real talent in the ranks this year and I think they’ll challenge for this title as well as the male equivalent. Can they win? I think they can actually. Looking at their crew, of which at least one is a returner from last year, there is good speed and top quality coaching and top 3 is a target which I expect these girls to surpass.

Tideway Scullers School

A mature performance from their J18’s and J17’s at the Scullery led to top 5 finishes for both and, remarkably, both boats clocked the same time over the course. I have the feeling TSS could build a ‘super’ boat by amalgamating the two age groups and I’ll be interested to see what they can do here. The fact that they haven’t entered a Wj174x makes me want to think that they’ve acted upon my impulses but my rational side tells me, for now at least, they they’ve just entered an ‘age’ crew. I think a top 5 finish for these girls is very much achievable and I’ll be interested to see if they can put the pressure on Latymer, who beat them by 22 seconds at the Scullery.

And the J17 counterparts…


Despite only being J16, these girls look like one of the favourites here. They dominated, again, at the Scullery, winning their event by a tidy 18 seconds. They lost out to Latymer, who they beat at the HOR4, and so I expect a reaction from these girls. I’m told they took their spot in the JIRR line up after a successful trial at the NWSC so congratulations to them for that. They are incredibly talented for a J16 crew and already have a multitude of titles to their name, including the WJ154X+ at NSR. I think they’ll be top 3 but they are not my favourites. Do read on…

Surbiton High School Boat Club A

I’ve given these girls a lot of inches recently but they justified this attention at the weekend, winning their category at Kingston Head by 35 seconds. They have three crews entered which shows a real depth to their squad and there is a good quality right through. This is demonstrated by the fact that they had two quads qualify for WJ164x at Henley Women’s Regatta last year. I think they could challenge Henley but I still fancy the latter to take this. A top 3 finish is certainly achievable and I’ll be watching this result with interest. They didn’t race at the Scullery, which makes comparisons tough. However, they beat two Kingston Grammar School crews by over a minute at the weekend which certainly shows their speed.

Walton Rowing Club

A crew comprising Alice Jefferies, Nina Giambrone, Tilly Catlin and Katie Giambrone were the only crew to get close to Marlow last year, finishing 5 seconds behind them at the British Championships in July in WJ164x. This was a remarkable achievement as three of these girls were 14 at the time. Walton have had some decent results in smaller boats this season, including high finishes at events such as Hampton SBH and Walton SBH. This crew will be looking to stake a claim at SHORR having not raced a quad much so far. They are all J16’s so are racing up a year. They did win at Gloucester Head but were a lot way behind the winning WIM24x from Gloucester Hartpury so they’ll be looking to make this time up. I am told however that this boat had Sophie Thean subbing in for Katie Giambrone and was a scratch crew. I don’t think Sophie Thean is eligible for WJ17 but the Giambrone twins, who are a very accomplished pair, will be racing. Top 5 in WJ17 for these girls.

Kings School Worcester Boat Club

I’m not particularly familiar with this crew but they raced well at the Scullery, finishing fourth in WJ174x. They’ll be looking to close down the gap between themselves and boats such as Henley but they are the highest placed crew from WJ17 at the Scullery that are racing on Wednesday. A WJ16 crew finished 7th in the time trials at NSR before losing out in a tough semi-final of which two of the top three crews in the event raced. I am presuming this is the same crew and I look forward to seeing what they can produce. They are being chased down by Henley and if they can stay ahead of those girls then they have done a good job! Top 8 for these girls.

Nottingham Rowing Club

At last, we see a quad from these girls! The talent at WJ17 level in this squad is quite astonishing. Allow me to paint a picture for you. At NSR last year, they had three entries to WJ161x. Only two started, in the form of Kyra Edwards and Olivia Kay. They both won their semi-finals and recorded a 1-2 in the final, with Kyra some 7 seconds ahead of 3rd place. That, in itself, sounds remarkable but the most astonishing fact is yet to come. Anna Thornton was their third entry who did not race. Anna Thornton has won both GB Trials so far this year by comfortable margins while Kyra [The girl who WON WJ161x last year? Remember her?] was back in 15th and 10th place respectively. You may understand now why I’m pretty excited to see what these girls can do. Kyra and Anna both raced in the Nottingham WIM1 VIII which finished 16th overall and won the Provincial Pennant at the WEHORR. These two also raced a WIM1 quad at HOR4, winning that too. Favourites for the WJ17? I would think so, yes. Favourites for both categories? Hmm….

Notable mentions go to Reading Rowing Club [J18], who had a decent crew last year which qualified for HRR, Kingston Grammar School, who came sixth in WJ184x at the Scullery and Star Club, who came second at the Head of the Trent behind a talented York City crew.

Have I missed anyone? Do let me know by leaving a comment or dropping me an email at

Good luck to all competitors!

This photo was taken from-