Monday, July 8, 2013

Video Of The Week: Henley Royal Regatta 2013—The Final Day



The final day of this year's Henley Royal Regatta featured some outstanding match-ups, as well as blistering times, as some of the best crews in the world laid it all on the line for those coveted little red boxes. And, as is the case every year at Henley-on-Thames, there were a number of extremely close contests—tremendous battles that saw crews hang on to narrow margins, or walk through early leaders to edge opponents at the line. Let's take a look, shall we?

As we expected, the final of the women's single pitted defending Olympic champion Mirka Knapkova against standout Kiwi sculler Emma Twigg. This time, Knapkova, who finished fourth just back of Twigg at the Holland Beker Regatta the previous weekend, walked away to victory—the Czech sculler equaled the course record for the event, despite winning by the verdict, 'Easily.' Quite an impressive result for Knapkova, and one that will no doubt get the attention of Holland Beker champion Kim Crow of Australia as Lucerne looms.

The Diamond Challenge Sculls saw hometown favorite Alan Campbell take on young phenom Aleksandar Aleksandrov—this time, it was the Azerbaijani's turn in the limelight, as Aleksandrov led throughout to record the victory by two lengths.

The final of the Visitors saw two Harvard crews line up against one another—one being made up of athletes from Harry Parker's last Crimson varsity eight, and the other made up of athletes from Charley Butt's undefeated lightweight varsity eight. As it turned out, it was the heavyweights' time to shine, winning what was no doubt an emotional victory, and setting a new course record along the way (crossing in 6:33).

In the final of the Temple Challenge Cup saw a European crew outpace the Harvard frosh to take the event—the win for DSR Laga, Holland marked the fist time that a non-North American crew has won the event since Oxford Brookes edged the Cornell lightweights by half a length in 2006.

The race of the day was the Ladies' Challenge Plate final, which saw a gallant effort from the Northeastern Huskies fall just short of knocking off a GB national team crew, fresh from racing at the Eton World Cup. The Huskies, who finished a tantalizingly close fourth at the 2013 IRA Regatta in June, built a substantial early lead, but were ultimately unable to hold off a perfectly timed charge from the GB crew—when the dust had settled, the verdict saw Leander Club and Molesey Boat Club (GB2) edging Northeastern by a canvas, setting a new course record of 5:58 to record the victory.

Similarly, in the Grand Challenge Cup, the Washington Huskies took on the top GB crew so far in 2013, stroked by back-to-back Olympic gold medalist Andrew Triggs Hodge, and featuring the top talent in the GB squad. This race, however, was less a back-and-forth affair—while Washington battled very well, GB controlled the race from the early stages, and finished in another course record—5:54—while holding off the Huskies by one length. Despite the losses, both the Ladies' and the Grand made quite an impression on an international audience, with respect to just how high the standard of U.S. intercollegiate rowing his risen.

Last, but certainly not least, is Abingdon School's tremendous accomplishment—the victory in the Princess Elizabeth marked their third in as many years, while their alumni crew, rowing as Griffen B.C., took the Thames Challenge Cup as well. Lots of candy-striped blazers on the podium this year!

Oh yeah, and some guys named Bond and Murray won. Again.

For complete results, please visit the official website of Henley Royal Regatta. Thanks to Henley and to Regatta Radio for another tremendous year of coverage! Good racing all crews!

-RR

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