It’s been a while since I’ve posted regularly here. Essentially the run-up to Henley Royal Regatta consumed every scrap of spare time I had. If you haven’t heard of it, Henley is one of the top rowing regattas in the world. It’s held on an absolutely beautiful stretch of the River Thames that has a straight section of just over 2km, the standard of international rowing races. Henley Regatta has existed since 1839 and has had a royal patron since 1851.
More importantly, Henley is known for being one of the most exclusive regattas in regards to talent. Virtually all of the best rowers in the world have raced there, and all of the best UK domestic rowers have. To have won Henley is a BIG feather in your cap; to have raced there means that you were at least a fairly serious rower.
Unfortunately, our crew failed to qualify to race at Henley this year. We’ve had some good races and some poor races, and the Stewards didn’t think we were of the standard to pre-qualify. Twenty-seven crews raced for seventeen places in the regatta, and we were the second-fastest non-qualifier. Though we rowed quite well on the day, if we had been just half a second faster (over a seven-and-a-half minute course) we would have competed this year. What’s even more unfortunate is that the conditions changed while the crews were on the course, and our division experienced significantly more headwind than other crews. This inevitably would have cut our time down enough that we would have qualified (in my opinion).
Since we weren’t of sufficient standard to pre-qualify we were subject to whatever happened on the day of qualifying races; this year simply didn’t work out for us. It’s tremendously disappointing for a whole host of reasons, and I was in a very non-sociable mood for several days afterward.
The one benefit of the experience is that it has completely drilled into me the standard of rowing and fitness I need to be at to achieve what I want to achieve in the sport. (See photo at top.) My focus for the next months and years will be to focus on the fitness and technique I need to reach my goals. It won’t be easy, but at least I know the size of the mountain I need to climb.