Video Of The Week: Kent School Boat Club Gears up for Henley 2015

Kent School Boat Club at Dorney Lake (Photo courtesy of KSBC)

This week's featured video comes to us thanks to Sam Haack of Kent School Boat Club, as KSBC prepares to take on the competition in the Temple Challenge Cup at Henley Royal Regatta, starting tomorrow!

The video below is a montage from a very successful season for Kent, and, in addition to the video, Sam has included a rundown of how Kent's trip to England—which has seen KSBC post some very strong results at Marlow Regatta—is playing out so far.

From Sam:

Kent School at Henley Royal Regatta

Hello from Henley! This year, we earned the privilege of racing overseas at the Henley Royal Regatta. Kent has a long lasting relationship with the historic regatta, as we were the first American schoolboy crew to race at Henley back in 1927. A trip to Henley is always an aspiration of Kent rowers and this year we were able to make it a reality. Each rower earned their ticket with very successful regular seasons and wins from our first and second varsity eights at the New England Interscholastic championships.

We spent the two weeks after graduation training for the regatta, and captured some pretty fun moments in picture and video form. You can see our latest video recapping our season below:

Let us catch you up to where we are now: On June 16th, we landed at London-Heathrow Airport, where we hitched a ride with the Headmaster of Shiplake College, a fellow Kent alumnus, back to Henley-on-Thames. After double sessions and plenty of Nutella sandwiches, we finally got our first taste of international racing.

The venue was Dorney Lake for the Marlow Regatta, the location for the 2012 Summer Olympics and the home course of Eton College. To recap the day of racing, our eight rowed a time trial to see which final we would be seeded into later in the day. Our time trial yielded the third fastest of the day in our event of around thirty boats, placing us in the top final. We were the only U.S. crew in the A final. We started off the block quickly and established a lead in the field of seven boats by the end of our start sequence. By the 500 meter mark we had three seats on the field and by the halfway mark we increased our lead to 3/4 of a length. With 500 to go, Oxford Brookes and Imperial College, two university crews, had moved back on us by a couple of seats, but Eton, Leander, Agecroft, and Tideway Scullers trailed behind. In the last 250 meters, Imperial College dropped off the front and we were left with Brookes battling for first place. When we crossed the line, Oxford Brookes edged their bow deck in front of us for the win. It was in this moment we knew we would able to hang with the big boys in the Temple.

After the weekend of racing we set up camp in the blue-and-white-striped tents of Henley and began practicing on the course, testing our prowess in brushes with crews such as Leander and our good friends from the States, BC High.

In addition to our eight, KSBC also fielded a coxed four to race for the Prince Albert event at Henley. This boat is made up of members of our undefeated second varsity eight who are here to gain additional racing experience and to test themselves against some university crews as well. In their time trial for the IM2 event at Marlow, they also finished with the third fastest time, earning themselves a spot in the A final. In a long race from behind, they moved back within striking distance of second place, but were edged out at the line to finish in fourth.

On to their Henley Qualifier race one week later, our boys performed with strong form, finishing fourteenth out of thirty-eight crews attempting to qualify for the remaining slots in the event. Unfortunately, they finished two spots out of qualifying position, but achieved their goal of being the fastest schoolboy crew to race for the event. In their final bit of racing of the trip, the coxed four raced in the two events at the Reading Town Regatta. Only losing to the thirteenth place finisher from the previous day’s qualifier, our boat showed their speed as the next fastest coxed four on the river. Unable to race in the last final, our crew left the regatta feeling confident in their speed and satisfied with their performance across the pond.

The eight will be racing in the first round of the Temple Challenge Cup against Newcastle University at 2:20pm BST or 9:20am EST on July 1st. To keep up with our racing and the rest of the Henley Royal Regatta, check the racing schedule that will be posted soon. -SH

Thanks very much to Sam and Kent School for sharing this with us! We're looking forward to a historic Henley this year, and will post a preview shortly—in the meantime, we hope you're busily dusting off your best blazers and chopping fruit to go into Pimm's Cups.

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