21st March 2019 — Shiplake College 1st VIII won the Schools’ Head of the River Race on Friday 13 March 2019 breaking the championship course record in the process. The win means they are the fastest school crew currently in Great Britain over a long course. The crew (Sydney Burnand, Rhys Ash, Dom Brown, Sebastian Hjortland-Marks, Richard Adams, Tom Boret, Ben Brockway and Marcus Brown, with Jacob Kirby as cox) rowed a fantastic race and paced themselves perfectly despite the cox losing connection to the speakers in the boat. A strong following wind helped the VIII row a fast race, breaking the championship course record by 4 seconds in a time of 16:36. Eton College finished 2nd, 0.5 seconds behind with St Paul’s School finishing 3rd, a further 0.4 seconds later.
Not to be overshadowed, the 2nd VIII (Joshua Wombwell, Harry Allan, Joseph Rayner, Bobby Howard-Jones, Haydon Stride, Matthew Waller, Tom Fox, Federico Focosi and cox Cameron Gass) and J16 VIII (Toby Coles, Kesha Sarkytbayev, Rory Cameron-Martin, Ben Acton, Lucas Batty, Angus Wood, Adam Hunt, Robert Humphris and cox Lonnie Lawrence) both finished 4th in the country which is particularly promising going into regatta season. The J15 VIII (Jensen Perry, Billy Fundell, Sam Waller, Johnny Miller, Thomas Houghton, Edward Tayler, Edward Dallas, Dylan Hillier and cox Wallace Fisher) raced hard, finishing a respectable 10th. They will, however, be hungry to train hard and improve on this result for the summer.
There was also great success for Shiplake girls Sophia Hahn and Ella Nolson representing Henley Rowing Club, as they won the Girls' Championship VIIIs. Their boat finished the course in a time of 18:44.
Director of Rowing, Dave Currie said: “I am delighted with the results on Friday and would like to congratulate Mr Mackworth-Praed (1st VIII Coach) and Mr Lee (2nd VIII Coach) for their hard work. These results have been built over a few years of hard work from the staff at the boat club and the support from the school. It really has been a team effort.”
Headmaster Gregg Davies said: “It’s great to see that the passion of the coaches for their crews to succeed has been borne out. I think we can now begin to believe that we are here to stay amongst the elite of schools’ rowing. Our long-awaited Multi-Activity Centre starts construction at Easter, to include boat storage and state-of-the-art facilities for our rowers, and this will provide another step-up in our delivery of a world-class rowing programme."