|Andover Crew Henley 06|
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All in the golden afternoon
Full leisurely we glide;
For both our oars, with little skill,
By little arms are plied,
While little hands make vain pretence
Our wanderings to guide.
- The gentle afternoon rowing on the Thames of Lewis Carroll:
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Practise For Henley, June 17th, '06
The B1 boat trained every day for several weeks, before travelling to England.
What a day
For more pictures of Henley Training 06, click here
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Summary Henley Trip
Our B1 traveled to the UK to compete at the Henley Royal Regatta. They won the Reading Regatta and were semifinalists in the Princess Elizabeth Challenge Cup at Henley. This combined with every girls' and boys' boat taking medals at Interschols made it a most successful season. We also celebrated 50 years of Crew at Andover and honored Coach Brown, the founder of the passion. The students were excited to see Alumni boats with rowers from '56 onwards joining them on the Merrimack in the worst of conditions. They had heard stories of crew being something that stays with you for a lifetime, the celebration was living proof.
Expedition across the Pond
Winners of the Reading Regatta June 23rd, Reading UK.
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Our Boys' first varsity team will be racing in the Princess Elizabeth Challenge Cup at the Henley Royal Regatta in the UK. Thank you, thank you to everyone who has donated to help send our team to Henley. We are more than three quarters of the way to our goal. We still need more help.
The Henley Royal Regatta, founded in 1839, is the premier rowing event in the world. Our boys' team flew from Boston on June 18th to compete for the Princess Elizabeth Challenge Cup. They made quite a sight at the airport dressed in their crew blazers and recently shaved heads carrying their oars as luggage.
They looked the part of fresh young Americans ready to compete with the best in the world.
They arrived in England on the Monday morning hoping to recover from jetlag and take to the water on Tuesday morning to continue their training. Fate had other ideas. Their boat was delayed in shipping. Quick thinking and fast words from the coxswain and coach resulted in the loan of a boat and a bicycle from Trinity College Dublin.
The bicycle because at Henley, as in much of Europe, rowing is coached by people who cycle along the tow path beside the river rather than from launches following the boats. The Trinity coach also cycled along for the first few outings ostensibly to assist but more probably to ensure the safety of his boat. He was impressed with our crew.
The coaching technique involves mostly watching the boat with occasional glances in front for safety. Sadly Coach Washburn missed spotting an oncoming dog and found himself doing a bad imitation of an astronaut. He did say that remembered thinking that it would be best to land on top of the dog. A couple of bad scrapes dressed, apologies from the owners accepted and he was back on his bike chasing the boat.
Finally on Thursday the boat arrived but the speaker system for the coxswain did not work. Another frantic search and as proof our luck was changing, the parts were found and installed the next day. None of these mini disasters made even the slightest dent in the spirit of the team who seem indefatigable in their determination to enjoy every minute of their adventure. Friday was their first full day of practice in their completely equipped boat.
It was a good day. It had to be, for their first English regatta race was Saturday at Reading.
Reading is a smaller, less formal regatta than Henley and over only 800 meters instead of the Henley 2112 meters. It is a good preparation for the coming week. Arrangements had been made to take our boat to Reading on a trailer. At the appointed time the boys brought their boat to the trailer only to find that the owners had overbooked the space. More negotiations and the Andover boat was assured a place.
On Saturday morning in bright sunshine the team walked to the train station and set off to Reading. Amongst the other US teams competing at Reading were St. John's, Tabor and Kent who traveled to England with 3 coaches and about 14 students as well as a large group of supporters.
The English schools were there with their tents and catering facilities. The overseas teams had to make do with whatever shade they could find.
Our first race was a three way affair with Winchester, an English school, and Kent without their PGs who failed to meet the the age requirements for high school competition in England. As you may see from the photographs our team won with open water.
We then raced against St. Johns and eventually faced Tabor in the final. Tabor raced very well and looked to have a chance to win in the middle stretch but Andover came back strong at the end to clinch the Regatta title. The pictures of the smiling team with their tankards says it all. A hard hot day made wonderful by our success and the kindness of our hosts. More letters from Henley to come....
A good day of rowing - Andover a length ahead of Kent (USA) and Winchester (UK)
For more pictures of Andover Crew boys' team winning Reading Regatta in England, click here
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By Tuesday the festive atmosphere was taking over the little river village of Henley-on-Thames. The tents were up, the boats were here and the strange looking men in multicolored blazers, like the grandfather in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, have started to arrive.
Our boat has been practicing on the river, getting familiar with the 2112 meter course. We have 'brushed' (scrimmaged in American) with several college teams. Our new found friends from Trinity College Dublin raced with us down the whole course. We won. We are now ready for Henley.
It is an awe inspiring event with rules and tradition laid down over many years and aggressively maintained from the dress code in the Steward's enclosure (Blazers for men and skirts below the knee for women) to the river manners for the crews.
The parents are trickling in. We hope to have a parental unit for every rower by Thursday. Although the boat has become such a unified group with a set routine, that the parents are only needed to provide after river recovery food and vocal encouragement from the bank. The bonding that people talk about is visible and protective.
For Day before pictures at Henley Regatta, click here
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PA vs Kingston Grammar School
Our maiden Henley race was against Kingston Grammar School. A coeducational school of about 800 in south London. I joined Peter in the official launch expecting to capture some good photographs.
The start setup involved the boats backing into starting blocks where people hold the stern of the boat until the Umpire starts the race. On the start command Andover powered away and were quickly up several seats on Kingston. I took a few quick shots of our boat not knowing that would be the last I would see of them. I turned to take a few shots of Kingston at the request of their coach and when I turned back to Andover, they were almost out of good photograph range.
They raced ahead oblivious to the necessity for good photo opportunities and to the sadness they were causing to our companions on the Umpire's launch. At the Barrier (1/4 mile) they looked good, at Fawley (3/4 mile), they looked unbeatable. At the end the announcer declared that Andover had won 'easily'. This sounds a little blunt and maybe even cruel but it translates into a win by more than 4 lengths. The British never did sugar coat anything.
Our team were smiling from ear to ear. Their first Henley race was over and they were still undefeated internationally. It was a huge tension reliever. Our launch companions congratulated our team and wished us well for future. We topped off the day with a dinner for the team and parents at a local establishment hosted by the Morgans. We had almost 30 people including the team, parents and the couple who own the farm where the team is staying. As happens on these occasions there were a few speeches. The Morgans welcomed everyone and thanked everyone who had contributed to a fantastic season and the trip to Henley. We especially thank the Washburns for everything they bring to the program. Scott Morgan gave his person thanks and presented Mr. Washburn a Leander shirt now that he has been honored with membership of THE most respected rowing club in the world. Mr Dawes our team's residence host said that the team was the most wonderful, well behaved group they ever had on thier farm and he if they won the cup he would 'sit on the coach' to ensure that the team could enjoy their celebration.
And then to bed... tomorrow is just another day at Henley and another race for survival.
For Day 1 pictures at Henley Regatta, click here
Photo from row2k
Video PA vs Kingston Grammar
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PA vs St. Edwards
We had hoped for another morning race time but were given 6.35 PM. This meant a slight sleep-in, a short row over lunch and a quiet afternoon. The Yis had rented a small house in the town for their visitors and the team used this as a place of prerace relaxation. At 5 PM they walked to the boathouse. Just another race against just another team but each time the hurdle rising a little higher. The opposition were St. Edwards. An English school that had beaten our friends from Tabor by a 1.25 lengths.
Again Peter Washburn sent the crew off with his usual quiet encouragement. They rowed their way down to the start past a history of boating building that lines the river during Henley. At the start they had to manoeuver carefully to the starting blocks.
They were up off the start when a St Edwards rower had his seat jump out. He quickly recovered and returned to row. They lost some more ground and tried hard to pull back on Andover. It was not to be. Once again Andover rowed well and yard by yard pulled further ahead as they past the famous Henley milestones of the Barrier and Fawley. The team that had made short work of Tabor, was not going to stop Andover. As they crossed the line Andover was leading by 2.75 lengths over St. Edwards. Our boat stopped just over the line and cheered St. Edwards as they crossed the finnish as is the custom for Henley.
When the St Edward's crew landed their boat, Peter Washburn personally shook hands with each team member and the Andover crew repeated the ritual once they too had landed. Several of the St. Edwards boys had tears on their faces. They congratulated our team and wished them well against Abingdon.
A quick dinner and off to bed to rest for tomorrow's challenge....just another day and another race.
At this stage the team has won the Reading Regatta and the first two days of Henley to make it into the quarter finals of the Princess Elizabeth Challenge Cup. They have already exceeded our most optimistic expectations. They have done us more than proud!
For Day 2 pictures at Henley Regatta, click here
Video PA vs St.Edward's School
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PA vs Abingdon
This is quarterfinals and a match up with Abingdon, one of the best English schools. The expectation on the banks of the Thames was that the Abingdon race would be the last for Andover.
Abingdon took off from the start with amazing speed and quickly jumped to a full boat length lead over Andover. It looked as though the race was over. As the two boats drove down the middle of the course Abingdon tried to increase their lead. Andover hung on to the stern of the Abingdon boat. The Abingdon coxswain kept looking back at the Andover boat obviously hoping to see them slip further behind. At the 600-meter to go mark the hopes of the Andover supporters started to fade. At the 500 meters to go the Andover coxswain increased the rowing rate and the Andover boat started to move up on Abingdon. Abingdon responded hoping to keep Andover in place. Andover stepped up the rowing rate again and continued to moved forward, coming even with Abingdon with 300 meters to go. The Abingdon coxswain was screaming at his crew. The Andover coxswain again stepped up the rate and Andover crossed the line with a 20-foot margin. The Umpire said it was the best race his had seen at Henley so far.Video with the coxswain's call
Video PA vs Abingdon School
Click here for coxswain's call
Andover rowing on the Thames during the Henley Regatta
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PA vs King's School
This was a difficult day as the previous gay race was late in the day and the team did really well to come back and win the race. One team member had strain his back the previous day too. All in all they did their best. The best team wins.
Video PA vs King's School, Chester
Photos from row2k
Going To Henley Tips
Information for Parents Going to Henley
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For pass year results: you can try finding the results on row2k: at drop down menu, select the year.
For Past Year's Results on row2kGO BLUE!!
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