Excellence within Sport- Henley College

There is no finer example of athlete development within the rowing world than Leander Club. Purpose built to supply the next generation of international oarsmen, the historic boat club, tucked away on the banks of the River Thames, is a centre of excellence for junior rowing. Despite the impressive resources, equipment and experience that the club can call upon, there are other factors that make the junior squad successful on the national and international stage.

The Henley College is a sixth form centre which offers over 50 A-Level courses and vocational qualifications. They play a crucial role in the local community and, more relevantly, in offering young athletes the chance to excel in their respective sport. The college has excellent links with several of the top rowing clubs in the region, including Marlow Rowing Club and Leander Club, whilst it also provides students with the chance to study on the AASE scheme. I recently wrote a piece on Chris Lawrie of Sir William Borlase School for Rowing & Regatta, who also studies for the AASE qualification. Chris, a junior international oarsman, was full of praise for the opportunities afforded to him through the scheme, calling the scheme ‘a huge part of what he hoped to achieve’.

This promotion of excellence within sport has not gone unrewarded. Athletes from the college have represented Great Britain and many have gone onto achieve great things in the sport. Seb Devereux, who studied at the college, now competes for the University of Washington- arguably the strongest college rowing program on the planet.

2015 has seen the college achieve great success on the national stage albeit through a range of different clubs. Leander’s junior squad have set about bettering the achievements of previous years- they’ve recorded good results at the National Sculling Head, the National Schools’ Regatta and the Metropolitan Regatta. All eyes will now turn to the Fawley Challenge Cup, where their top quad will be hoping to improve upon last year’s quarter final finish.

Livinia Cowell-Sherriff, head coach of Leander’s junior squad, was keen to highlight the importance of Henley College in the mental and physical betterment of her athletes. “The link we have between Henley College and Leander is vital for the development of the students” she said. “The AASE scheme gives them the time to train within school and teaches them the expectations of a high performance athlete”.

“It also helps the students learn how to balance the needs of academic, sporting and social commitments so they can achieve and enjoy all aspects of life”.

Molly Harding of Marlow Rowing Club is also a student at the college, and a stalwart of the junior rowing circuit. She is a junior international medallist, having won a silver medal at the Munich International Regatta in May. She’s also had a superb season in the quad under Bret King, winning a silver medal at the National School’s Regatta and a pennant at the Schools’ Head.

There can be no doubt then that the Henley College is an important coordinator within one of the country’s most prominent rowing areas. Jayne Davis, principal of the College, pointed out that the facilitation and achievement of excellence within sport was one of the key goals of her institution. “The Rowing Academy is a very important part of our elite sports programme here at The Henley College” commented Davis. “We are very proud of the success our students continue to have whilst we also enjoy the fantastic benefits of links with top regional rowing clubs.  The students have a unique opportunity to excel in their specialist sport as well as achieve academic success.  Achieving excellence is very much the goal for our students and staff and the Rowing Academy here is the epitome of that”.

For Great Britain to maintain its spot as the most successful rowing nation on the planet, the system below the senior squad must continue to produce athletes of an international calibre. The work of the Henley College in facilitating these aims is critical to the development of our national program.

Photo courtesy of Robert Treharne Jones


I am the editor of a rapidly growing blog based around the junior rowing circuit within the UK. From launch in June 2013, the website has experienced vast growth in both its reader count and view count while the article range has expanded. I currently work with a team of 10 people, all of whom voluntarily write articles for the blog. In our first year, I looked to expand from the standard previews and reviews that had gained initial success to building relationships with clubs and conducting interviews. This move proved successful and we are currently exploring new routes to further improve our platform. The blog has led to involvement with Regatta Radio, Rowing & Regatta, Row 360 and British Rowing.