Posted: July 3, 2016
Edinburgh University Boat Club today became the first Scottish University, and only the second crew from Scotland, to win an event in the 177 year history of the prestigious Henley Royal Regatta.
Timing the Prince Albert Challenge Cup Men’s Coxed Fours final to perfection, the Edinburgh crew of James Temple, Kieran Tierney, Calum Irvine, Rufus Scholefield and Rosie Margolis (cox) came through from a length down to beat Newcastle University by a length.
Edinburgh had expected two-times winners, Newcastle to go out hard but they kept composed and by the halfway mark had reeled them in before extending an unassailable lead on the way to finish.
“I told our crew to expect Newcastle to go off extremely hard in the first half,” said University of Edinburgh Head of Rowing, Colin Williamson.
“Newcastle knew that we were probably a little bit quicker than them so they would have to do something a little bit different to try and shake us.
“So we needed to be calm and trust the boat. Fair play to them, they were really cool and calm, never panicked and they came through in the end. It was really impressive mature rowing.”
Edinburgh, who had beaten international crews from Holland and USA on the way to today’s final, was the first Scottish university to make a Henley final in the regatta's 177 year history. Aberdeen Boat Club had won the Wyfold Challenge Cup back in 2002.
Today’s win marks the latest milestone for Edinburgh and the partnership with Scottish Rowing and the sportscotland institute of sport which began investing in the university’s programme in 2010.
“When I started the job just under three years ago, I said we would win Henley in five years,” continued Williamson.
“I think I was a little bit bullish at the time because back then we were absolutely nowhere.
“So, to have won a final within three years is just beyond what I thought we could do. But it’s testament to all the athletes buying in what I’ve asked them to do.
“You do not win at Henley without going through tough times and working really hard. But I would not want it any other way; it’s not worth doing unless it’s hard.”
Paying tribute to Edinburgh, Scottish Rowing’s High Performance Manager, Lee Boucher said:
“Winning at Henley Royal Regatta is always special but to come from behind to make history for your university is something that will live with these young athletes for the rest of their lives.”
The university has invested heavily in the Edinburgh programme through coaches, more boats and better facilities including a performance gym. This has clearly paid off with a big uptake in numbers, and improved performances each year.
“Whilst today's performance was outstanding, the platform for this result was the hours of hard work and graft in the gym and on the water day in, day out, overseen by a passionate and committed coaching team,” continued Boucher.
“Scottish Rowing is proud to have been on this exciting journey with the University of Edinburgh since 2010.
“The investment in professional coaching and support services in partnership with the university sector and the sportscotland institute of sport has been a real success story in Scotland and has put rowing on the sporting map.”