United States rowing crews took a firm grasp in three events when the four-day Royal Henley Rowing Regatta opened today (Wednesday) at Henley-on-Thames, on the fringe of London.
United States rowing crews took a firm grasp in three events when the four-day Royal Henley Rowing Regatta opened today (Wednesday) at Henley-on-Thames, on the fringe of London. The American challenge was spearheaded by the Cornell University Eight, who cruised to a relaxed six-lengths win in their first-round clash with Britain's Kingston Rowing Club to confirm their position as one of the favourites for the Thames Cup. An American crew, Groton School, also won their heat in the Princess Elizabeth Challenge Cup.
In the Thames Cup heat, Cornell - the United States National sprint champions - covered the traditional one mile 550 yards (2,112 metres) course in seven minutes 16 seconds - three seconds slower than the fastest time of the day set by London Rowing Club. Groton School won their heat of the Princess Elizabeth Challenge Cup by beating Beaumont College of Britain. However, the strongest American challenge in the Princess Elizabeth event has been forecast to come from the Kent Schools crew.
There are several international crews taking part at Henley this year, including the crack Leipzig eight from East Germany - the favourites to win the main event of the regatta, the Grand Challenge Cup. While the carsmen are battling on the Thames in the next three days, many spectators will be more concerned with the social aspect of the regatta. Henley is as much a matter of showing off colourful summer outfits as of watching some of the world's best carsmen competing on a picturesque stretch of the Thames.
The Henley Royal Regatta was established in 1839, and has been held every year since except for the gaps created by the two world wars. There are 10 cups to be won. Of these, the Thames Challenge Cup was instituted for eight oars in 1868. The Princess Elizabeth Challenge Cup is a relative newcomer, having been established in 1946.