Girls Quad victorious at Henley Royal Regatta
Senior Rowing

Henley Royal Regatta this year was an outstanding success for Claires Court with seventeen students racing in the finals, the most in our school’s history. 

Three boats qualified to race with the boys quad competing in the Fawley Challenge Cup, the boys eight in the Princess Elizabeth Challenge Cup and the girls quad in the Diamond Jubilee Challenge Cup. 

The highlight of the weekend went to the girls quad who won the Diamond Jubilee Cup on the final day, poignant in the fact the school is also celebrating our Diamond Jubilee this year.  

Described as ‘supreme’ by the commentators, they gained the nickname ‘giant killers’ during their exploits which is fitting given this is only the second year that Claires Court have ever had a girls crew in the regatta, qualifying last year for the first time.

The girls quad is made up of Rebecca (17), Jemima (15), Hannah (18) and Nuala (17). Hanna and Nuala have just completed their Sixth Form studies and have been awarded rowing scholarships at Brown and Minnesota Universities respectively.  Jemima aged 15 only took up rowing in September and is the youngest person to have ever won the event.  She was inspired to take up the sport due to her sister Rebecca competing and the pair made a formidable presence in the quad.

The weekend was intense and exciting with the quad beating York City in the first round on Thursday, Trentham on Friday, last year's winners and holders of the event Shiplake College in the semi-final on Saturday and then faced the American National Champions Redwood, USA in Sunday’s memorable final.  Redwood’s crew hasn't lost a race in 12 months and has been the fastest crew in both the US and Canada.  

Such impressive victories do not happen by chance.  Claires Court Boat Club plans ahead and builds the programme in cycles, so Year 10 and 11 rowers experience a comprehensive training and competition programme with the intention of preparing to win trophies at J18 level. Sunday’s result was the culmination of this plan which required commitment, dedication and desire from the crew and their coaches, not just on the bright, sunny days but through the dark, wet, winter training sessions too. 

It’s almost unbelievable to think that in only 12 months when we first entered a girls’ crew into the regatta, we would be coming away with the win! It’s a credit to the girls rowing program, run by Coach Jack Jesseman, which is going from strength to strength.

Coach Tom Jost, Claires Court 

The Princess Elizabeth 8 which qualified, raced against Kings School Chester and narrowly missed out on progressing further. The boys, plus the school's first ever female cox, Ellen Hunt, performed fantastically well and did the school and themselves proud. The Fawley Challenge Cup crew of Harry Ruinet, Matthew Creaser, Max Pianta and Jonny Nagele also had a very successful week, making it through to the Saturday, beating National Schools silver medalists Leander Club, on Friday but were beaten by Windsor Boys in the semi-finals.

Alumni featured well in the races and three past students also won this year; Jake Wincomb, winning in the Temple Challenge Cup for Oxford Brookes Uni; Ollie Costley, winning in the Prince of Wales Challenge Cup for Leander Club; Tom Ballinger, winning in the Ladies Plate Challenge Cup for Leander Club

Our close proximity to the River Thames, our use of local lakes for winter training and our base at Maidenhead Rowing Club means we can offer high level sports training as part of the school day to our students.  Our Sports Development Programmes are valued highly amongst the sporting community and this year’s rowing prowess has proved just how high the standard of training is that we offer here at Claires Court. 

James Wilding, Academic Principal


You may also be interested in...