And the Remenham Challenge Cup goes to….. United States of America!
Yesterday, we battled the British National Team W8+ for the title of Henley Royal Regatta champions, and we prevailed! From the very first stroke of our warm-up, you could sense the energy and drive in our boat. As we prepared to race, the cheers of the thousands of spectators lining the course only stoked our competitive engine. Forty minutes later, as we lined up at the starting blocks, we knew we were ready for the full 2,112 meter effort.
The British rowers definitely gave us a run for our money– they were extremely strong in the first half, and it was looking to be a close race to the Barrier landmark (about 600m). However, as we neared the halfway mark, our boat found a long, *strong* rhythm, we started moving, and we never looked back! Victory for the Americans, to the tune of 1 3/4 lengths! (At Henley, only the winner recieves an official finish time. The defeated crew’s time is represented by the margin of victory. In our case, 1 3/4 lengths is about 6 seconds).
A special shout-out to Esther Lofgren, who hopped into bow seat to fill in for Erin (who was temporarily side-lined for the weekend), then two hours later, went back into the quad to race, and WIN, the Princess Grace Challenge Cup over the Australian National Team! Two Henley victories in one afternoon! Esther is a champ.
We had a few hours to recover and shower before heading back to the Stewards’ Enclosure to receive our medals. Sir Chris Hoy, multiple Olympic gold medalist and the “most successful male cyclist of all time” (according to Wikipedia!) presented us with our trophy, and Sir Matthew Pinsent (winner of four Olympic rowing gold medals!) served as the official Remenham Trophy Steward as we posed for photos and toasted our success.
Our host family moored their pleasure boat at the finish line, and captured some great footage of our victory. Check out the youtube video here!
Now it’s back to business for Team USA– we’re flying to Switzerland this afternoon for the third World Cup Regatta. More updates to come as we prepare for next weekend’s racing!
UPDATE: I just posted some more pictures in a public facebook album. Check them out here.