The Diamond Jubilee Challenge Cup Qualifiers

17 crews for 3 places. Absolutely savage racing so here are my three picks.

Eton Excelsior Rowing Club

Winners at the Fours Head of the River earlier this season before they took an extended break from racing. They don’t appear to have come back quite as sharp although they still made the final of CHG4x at National Schools [4th place] and were WJ4x winners at the Met Regatta. They were a long way behind the leading crews so they’ll have had to put in quite a shift to make up the distance. They’ve got some very talented athletes onboard and I think their class will show; I think they’ll qualify.

Henley Rowing Club ‘A’

This crew is the undefeated WJ16 quad and they’ll be fancying this one on their home river. Looking at the times of CHG4x and WJ164x, Henley’s winning time was very close to that of the top three in CHG4x despite the fact that Henley were not challenged in their final. They are a very well drilled crew and they pretty much have every WJ16 title available to them; they are unbeaten in the quad at their age category and, speaking to Steve Thompson, the girls and coaches are very excited to see how fast this quad can go. They also have GB-France Trials this weekend so good luck to them with that.

Reading Rowing Club

These girls haven’t raced the quad too much this year but, if they’ve put Zoe Taylor in the ranks, they’ll undoubtedly be quick. They won gold and silver in WJ161x at National Schools Regatta and they beat a few decent crews to make the final of Junior Quads at Henley Women’s Regatta. Although their race with Marlow wasn’t rowed out due to a snapped blade, they beat Weybridge who finaled at National Schools in CHG4x. They also made the final of Reading Amateur Regatta and lost out to Marlow RC. I think these girls may just sneak it.

Other crews to look out for include Bedford Girls’ School, who may be putting their winning WJ2x from HWR in the crew, Kingston Grammar School, who have a very talented double in their midst, Latymer Upper School, who won this event last year, Sir William Borlase, who have qualified a boat in this event every year so far and were unfortunate to draw Marlow in the first round of HWR, The Tideway Scullers School, who finaled in CHG4x at National Schools and Weybridge, who have made the final at several high profile events i.e. Wallingford, National schools, Metropolitan Regatta.

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