Henley Women’s Regatta Finalists: One Year On
One year on from Dundee’s most successful appearance at HWR, our women’s senior squad have followed the countless crews across the country in reflecting on their experience of the event, whilst the COVID-19 pandemic has sadly brought about the cancellation of the 2020 regatta.
“For us, our HWR experience was as much about the journey that we had to undertake as a crew, in order to be ready to compete against some of the best rowing programmes in the country. When we started out, we were all determined that we had something to prove and we understood the responsibility that we had in representing Dundee in this level of competition, of which it had not participated in for over 15 years. Nevertheless, we remained conservative with our expectations and agreed that our success criteria would be proved if we achieved nothing more than simply qualifying for the event.
After familiarising ourselves with the course and our hired shell, the Friday time trials came about faster than we could have ever anticipated. To our relief, we survived the chop and entered the first round of the Frank V Harry Cup alongside 15 other crews. In our first race against Bath University, we were able to put our months of training to the test and prove why Dundee was a force to be reckoned with. We entered the quarter-finals as the fastest crew out of the 8 victors from the first round and took on Edinburgh University to see who would progress through the competition as the stronger Scots. It was a battle right down to the line as we narrowly came out on top by just half a boat length!
Before we knew it we had made it through to the final day of the regatta - already we had gone above and beyond our expectations but we were well aware that the hardest day of the competition was ahead of us. In the morning we took on Agecroft RC for the semi-final and took our chance to demonstrate our determination to make it all the way. This saw us set a course record of 5:27.9 as we walked through Agecroft to bag a spot in the final. In the afternoon we took our place on the start line for our 5th and final venture down the Henley stretch, this time taking on a formidable Tideway Scullers crew. Off the start, Tideway managed to take a lead on us however we stayed hot on their stern and managed to maintain an overlap throughout the race. Despite giving it everything that we had to offer, in the end, we came up half a length short, therefore, ending our campaign as HWR finalists.
However, it could not have been further from a loss for us - to reach the final day of the prestigious weekend against an opponent such as Tideway Scullers is an accomplishment that we are all very proud of. We are so grateful to the countless people that supported us in our journey, especially our coaches Tracey and Olaf, without whom none of this would have been possible. Moreover, we were enamoured and overwhelmed by the support from the banks by our fellow Scottish crews and the
outpouring of celebration from our club and alumni network. We hope that in the future we can cheer on another Dundee women’s crew as they take to the Henley stretch and continue to prove what our club is capable of in this level of rowing performance.”
Today, our 2019 HWR crew continue to represent our club to the highest possible standard despite being off the water and separated by thousands of miles. Cox Isabella has completed her third year of Forensic Anthropology and currently works as a carer in her home town of Elgin. Outgoing Club President Hannah has finished up with her degree in Mechanical Engineering after 4 years of being an integral proponent to the development of Dundee rowing. In closing her year as Women’s Captain, Katie is also set to finish up her degree in Adult Nursing and has been supporting the efforts against COVID-19 in Kirkcaldy. She hands over her role to Fiona who will be leading the women’s squad in her final year of studying Mathematics. Finally, Eleanor has enjoyed an incredible year in Sale, Australia as a rowing coach for Gippsland Grammar.
The whole Boat Club remains extremely proud of these women and look forward to supporting them in their next ventures.