This Friday, 3 Cantabs crews will be racing at Henley Women’s Regatta.
Georgie Plunkett will be racing in the senior single sculls event. Georgie joined Cantabs in 2011 after graduating, having been in the winning Cambridge lightweight women’s blue boat that year. She has been racing the 1x all season, most notably winning the women’s club singles at Wallingford Regatta in May. She was the 2nd fastest ‘non-Tideway’ woman at Scullers Head back in November and at the British Rowing Masters Championships last weekend, Georgie won gold in W.MasA.1x, finishing 25 seconds ahead of the silver medallist.
As last year, Cantabs are entering a club 8+ to the event. This crew, in various guises, has been resilient to a number of crew line-up changes due to illness, injury and exams and recent weeks, managing to break 2 course records on the Cam this season. The crew will be coxed by Esther Momcilovic, who steered Georgie in the lightweight women’s boat race. Esther went on to cox the openweight boat races in 2013 and 2014, when she was CUWBC president. As well as Esther, the crew features 5 of the rowers who were in the Cantabs crew which finished 14th overall and won the Provincial Pennant at WEHoRR this year, including stroke Millie Perrin. Millie learned to row at Cantabs as a junior in 2010, and went on to win silvers in the W.J18.2- at Nat Schools and Nat Champs in 2014. She was also successful in the 2- earlier this season when she won W.IM1.2- at Pairs Head and was 2nd fastest women’s 2- overall. Bailee Stratton was in the Cantabs HWR 8+ last year. Bailee is the strongest ergo in the crew, and won silver at British Rowing Indoors in 2015, and holds junior indoor rowing records in her home country of New Zealand.
Jordan Bruce, who also has a British Indoors medal to her name, is arguably the most committed member of the crew, commuting to training from Bedford, where she is head coach at Bedford Modern School. Harriet Cross joined Cantabs last summer, after taking a few years off rowing since being women’s captain at Imperial College BC, when she was winner of various BUCS medals. Alice Brownjohn and Emma Dalrymple both learned to row at Cantabs in 2015, and have been climbing the ranks through the women’s squads ever since. They were in the Cantabs B crew which finished 59th at WEHoRR, making them the 11th fastest B crew in the event. Merodie Rose raced in the HWR 8+ last year and is looking to end her rowing season on a high before she relocates back home to New Zealand at the end of the summer. Georgia Vann completes the line-up, one of three lightweights in the crew, and races in the same seat as she did in last year’s 8+.
This year will see a return to Women’s Henley for the Cantabs junior girls for the first time since 2014 with an entry in J4x- and will be the first time racing at HWR for the girls in the crew. The 4x has been the main focus of the year for the squad, who won the Champion of the Thames Junior Sculling Head as the fastest girls crew before competing at SHoRR and Nat Schools where they made the C-final. With the majority of the crew being J17 and having only stepped up to this level this year, it has been a promising year with some good results and bodes well for even more progress next year.
At stroke, Eva Hill, 17, has been rowing for 3 years at Cantabs and competed in Cantabs 1st ever J16 entry to SHoRR last year. Behind her sits Izzy Ritchie, 17, who learnt to scull with The Leys School, competing in both local races on the Cam and at Eton Dorney. She has now been sculling for 3 years, primarily competing in doubles and quads and recently transitioning to coxless quads in order to compete at J18 level. At two, Franky Bailey-Tait, 18, learnt to row at Kings School Ely and competed at a range of events before coming to Hills Road and joining Cantabs. Franky competed in the 4x last year for Cantabs and has had good success racing in a 2x at Nat Schools putting in some competitive times. She is off to Reading University next year and hopes to join their rowing programme. Finally, at bow is Tabitha Thornton-Swan, 17, who has been rowing for 3 years with Cantabs, having been a part of the same squad as Eva, competing at SHoRR for the last two years. For HRR, Emily May, 18, will come into the 2 seat. Emily learned to row with Isle of Ely rowing club and has now been rowing for 4 years. She started rowing with Cantabs last year and has since competed for the club at many competitions including Nat Schools, SHoRR, Fours Head and the British Rowing Junior Championships.
Henley Royal Regatta
As well as racing at HWR, the J4x will also be going to the Henley Royal qualifiers next week to race for a place in the Diamond Jubilee Challenge Cup.
The 8+ will be doing the Qualifying Races for the Remenham Challenge Cup. The crew will be slightly different to the Henley Women’s crew, and will see a crew line-up change and Merodie Rose being replaced by Ellie Darlington. Ellie was ineligible to race in the club eights event at Henley Women’s because she has previously represented England in the W2- at Home International Regatta. Ellie was in the Oxford Blue Boat in 2012, and was in the Cantabs pennant-winning WEHoRR and Pairs Head crews this season.
Two men’s crews from Cantabs will also race at Henley Royal. Crew announcements for those will appear soon.