2017/18 Archive

Molesey Regatta
21st July 2018

The prestigious Molesey Regatta, established in 1867, provided the venue for yet another victory for the women’s coxed four crewed by Steph Couchman, Emilie Cousin, Sophie Young and Marianna Raffaele, with Kate Rennoldson in the coxswain seat. A 2 length win over Vesta setup an all AK final and the more experienced crew took the medal by 4.5 lengths. Club captain Angela Hitchens and men’s captain Mark Mearing-Smith also took to the course in single sculls and both performed admirably, coming through their early rounds before falling to the eventual winners at the Semi Final stage.

W.4+ from l-r: Emilie Cousin, Sophie Young, Kate Rennoldson, Steph Couchman, Marianna Raffaele.
AKRC are Recruiting!
July 2018

Auriol Kensington Rowing Club is now actively recruiting members ahead of a scorching summer of rowing and onward into the new season. We are also offering a special deal to rowers who are graduating from university in 2018.

AK has exciting plans for the summer with plenty of opportunities to row and race, and with a new season only two short months away we are looking to bolster our Men’s and Women’s squads for the challenges that lie ahead.

Please click on the image and links below for more details about the squads and how to get in touch with us.

Men’s Squad Page | Women’s Squad Page

Learn to Row
12th July 2018

There are still a few places left on our upcoming Learn to Row course starting on 12th July. Don’t miss this opportunity to get involved in this fantastic sport while the sun still shines. More details can be below.

Veteran’s Row to Henley
30th June-2nd July 2018

As tradition dictates the AKRC Veteran’s squad joined up to row two eight’s and a quad all the way up to Henley. Over the next 3 days the crews will cover over 60 miles of waterway in blazing sunshine (with the occasional stop for much needed sustenance). Best of luck to our boys on their epic journey.

Auriol Kensington Vets Squad. Photo credit: Tim Koch
Richmond Regatta
30th June 2018

It would seem that confidence breeds confidence. Only a fortnight since their win at Mortlake Regatta ostensibly the same Women’s Intermediate 4+ crew enjoyed another victory on a beautiful day at the Richmond Regatta. As they had done at Mortlake they cruised through their Semi-Final against Putney Town, and then overcame the starting stagger to row through Twickenham and claim another pot by 3 lengths. We will see this crew on the start line a number of times over the summer. How many more pots can they win together?

W.4+ from l-r: Steph Couchman, Isy Marshall, Marianna Raffaele, Emilie Cousin, Sophie Young. Photo credit: Tim Koch
Henley Royal Regatta Qualifiers
29th June 2018

Following on from a season where the club qualified all 3 of it’s entries into the knockout of the stages of the Henley Royal Regatta, it was particularly heart-wrenching to see both of the 2018 AKRC crews fall at the first hurdle – the dread qualifying time-trial.

The Thames Challenge Cup 8+ crew (consisting of cox Kate Rennoldson, Sam Whitehead, Sebastian Frechtling, Mark Mearing-Smith, James Fishlock, Josh Herridge, Juan Aponte, Max Smithwick & Yevgen Fesenko) narrowly missed out on one of the 32 places in a very competitive field, while Hugh Mackworth-Praed was unable to progress through to the Diamond Challenge Sculls heats.

Henley Women’s Regatta
22nd-24th June 2018

Both of the club’s entries into this season’s Henley Women’s Regatta had far from ideal preparation. Injury, illness, and a trailer full of boats marooned in Spain meant that neither crew were able to get as much water time together as they needed to be truly competitive. The Development 4+ (Emilie Cousin, Diana Sargent, Marianna Raffaele & Steph Couchman) lined up against 40 other boats in a ridiculously competitive field and were sadly unable to qualify.

For the top boat, the Aspirational 8+, they qualified in the mid-pack, but a tough draw against Thames ‘A’ meant that they progressed no further than Friday afternoon – some way down on their hopes and expectations. While incredibly disappointing it must be noted that the standard of competition increases year on year. The squad will regroup, reevaluate, learn, grow and keep moving forward.

Aspirational 8+ from l-r: Angela Hitchens, Sophie Lovett, Kate Pankhurst, Amanda Piggot, Costanza Levy, Tamara Zwaagstra, Kate O’Sullivan, Hannah Smith, Joey Innes-Hopkins
Barnes & Mortlake Regatta
16th June 2018

The Women’s Intermediate 4+ will head to Henley following a confidence boosting victory at the Barnes & Mortlake Regatta. A thumping 5 length win over Barnes Bridge Ladies in the Semi-Final was followed up with a much closer 1 length win over the Royal Veterinary College to take the coveted pot.

W.4+ from l-r: Marianna Raffaele, Diana Sargent, Isy Marshall, Sophie Young, Steph Couchman
Simon Bever
7th June 2018

We regret to inform members that Simon Bever, a stalwart member of the club in the early 2000s, has been killed in a motorbike accident.

Simon learned to row at AK. Although older than the rest of the senior men, his strength, fitness, and competitive nature meant that he had no problems in being a successful member of the squad. In 2003, he was in the crew that won Senior II Eights at the Metropolitan Regatta and which won a round of the Thames Cup at Henley.

Simon Bever

While at AK, Simon met his life partner, Annabel Hagon, one of the most successful rowers that the club has produced. Both were very tough endurance athletes who enjoyed all challenging sports, particularly cycling. It was acknowledged by all who knew them that they were ideally suited.

The club flag will fly at half-mast this week.

Metropolitan Regatta
2nd-3rd June 2018

Multi-lane racing at Dorney Lake tends to occupy the senior Men’s and Women’s squad through much of May and early June, with Wallingford and the Metropolitan Regatta’s coming in close succession. Racing at Dorney is always tough and it attracts many of the best club and university crews as they size each other up before Henley.

The highlight of the racing was a 2nd place finish in the top Championship tier for the Women’s 4+. It marked the first time this season that last year’s Henley crew of Joey Innes-Hopkins, Angela Hitchens, Tamara Zwaagstra and Kate Pankhurst had raced together in this combination (coxed by Steph Couchman). With very little preparation they nearly pulled an astonishing win out of the bag – rowing through Thames and just being held off by a Galway University crew in the closing stages. A great performance!

Boat Race Day
24th March 2018

While the weather wasn’t as kind as we hoped it was still a fantastic day as the club hosted a superb event for the 164th running of the Oxford vs. Cambridge Boat Race. Our guests were treated to fantastic hospitality, while the street team helped to create a fantastic atmosphere outside the club. Many thanks, once again, to our sponsors – Motor Village UK, Gin Festival and Fullers.

The flotilla of support vessels pass by the club. Photo credit: Tim Koch.

On the Tideway it was a dominant performance by the light blues as they recorded a clean sweep of victories over Oxford in the Men’s, Women’s and both reserve races.

Boat Race Day – Club Sponsors
24th March 2018

Auriol Kensington Rowing Club is delighted to announce their sponsors for Boat Race Day. For a second consecutive year the club has partnered with Motor Village UK, and we are also excited to be working with Gin Festival and Fullers for what promises to be a spectacular event on Saturday. The club has activities planned throughout the day and with the support of our wonderful sponsors we are confident that this will be our most successful Boat Race day event in the club’s history.

Dewar Shield
11th February 2018

Auriol Kensington Rowing Club won the Dewar Shield for the 3rd successive year. After category wins for both the Men’s and Women’s 1st VIII’s, and top placings among 2nd boats for both the men and women the result was never really in doubt. In the overall time sheet AKRC claimed 4 of the 5 fastest times over the course, with M1 (1st), M2 (3rd), W1 (4th) and M3 (5th). It was great to see AK boat a veritable armada of boats with squad members, vets and returning rowers all contributing to the overall win. Naturally, the celebrations continued long into the evening.

The victorious club! Photo credit: Tim Koch
Upcoming Events
5th January 2018

We are excited to announce two events coming in the next few weeks. The first is the start of a new Get Fit to Row course. This popular course will run for 8 weeks commencing on Monday 22nd January. Click on the flyer below for contact information and click here for more details about the course.

Then on Saturday 27th January is AKRC’s annual Burns Night party – a celebration of fantastic food, drink and music. It really is not to be missed. Again more details below.

British Rowing Indoor Championships
9th December 2017

While the rest of the squad underwent ergo testing back in Hammersmith a handful of members chose to represent the club at BRIC, and came away with a clutch of medals over the 2km distance. Bernard Wills (85-89 Lwt) added another gold medal to his collection, while Kate Pankhurst (silver in the 40-49 age group), Diana Sargent (bronze in 55-59) and David Houston (bronze in 75-79) added to the haul. Colin Burke was a fraction of a second away from making it a medal for all 5 of AK’s competitors with 4th place in the Open 500m race.

Diana Sargent & Bernard Wills – BRIC Medalists
AK Annual Dinner
2nd December 2017

Mayfair’s RAF Club served as a superb setting for Auriol Kensington’s Annual Dinner. Fantastic food and great company made for a very enjoyable evening. As ever awards were given for performances during the 2016/17 season and congratulations go to Juan Aponte Dubois (David Icke Prize for Most Improved Oarsman) and Tamara Zwaagstra (John Booker Prize for Most Improved Oarswoman) as they added their names to the honour roll. Marianna Raffaele and Anne Schieck were also awarded with prizes for their outstanding contribution to the club.

From l-r: Juan Aponte-Dubois, Tamara Zwaagstra, Marianna Raffaele
Sculler’s Head
2nd December 2017

Report coming soon.

Rutherford Head
25th November 2017

AK took the long trip up the M1 to Newcastle in order to take part in their first Rutherford Head. As expected cold and challenging conditions greeted them on an unfamiliar stretch of the Tyne river, but the crews acquitted themselves well with the men’s Tier2.4- just missing out a winners medal by the narrowest of margins. This was still a great experience and team building exercise for the whole club and a night on the ‘Toon’ was enjoyed by all.

Tier2.4- from l-r: Yevgen Fesenko, Mark Mearing-Smith, James Kirkbride, Sam Whitehead
Fours Head
12th November 2017

The first major test of the head racing season arrived with the annual Fours Head of the River. The cold and windy weather made for tough conditions, but the 5 AK entries battled the 6.8km course bravely. The men’s squad had 2 coxed fours, and a coxless four and all finished well inside the pack. The women’s squad continued in sculling boats, as they have for much of the season, and their two quads came 9th and 13th respectively in the 18 strong field and closer to their main rivals than at the start of the campaign.

Tier2.4- from l-r: Sam Whitehead, Sebastien Frechtling, Mark Mearing-Smith, Yevgen Fesenko

See the Results page for a full breakdown of recent results.

Pairs Head
14th October 2017

AK has always had a close association with the Pairs Head and this year was no different with a strong entry across the Men’s, Women’s and Vets Squads. Results of the day included a runner-up spot for Alan Saunders & Dave Robertson in the MasH.2x and third place for Angela Hitchens and Tamara Zwagstra in the W.Fresher.2x category.

From l-r: Kate O’Sullivan, Tamara Zwaagstra, Kate Pankhurst, Marianna Raffaele, Angela Hitchens, Jenny Cann
Reading Small Boats Head
7th October 2017

As the women had done at Wallingford the previous week, AK’s Men’s Squad targeted Reading Small Boats Head for their season curtain raiser and came away with 3 great wins. Two single scullers Hugh Mackworth-Praed and Mark Mearing-Smith topped their categories, with the latter then joined by James Kirkbride, Angus Ledgerwood, Juan Aponte-Dubois and Kate Rennoldson to win the Open 4+ race. A great start to the season for the men.

Open.4+ from l-r: Mark Mearing-Smith, Kate Rennoldson (cox), James Kirkbride, Angus Ledgerwood, Juan Aponte-Dubois
Wallingford Long Distance Sculls
30th September 2017

AK’s Women’s Squad started the season with a short trip to Wallingford to compete in their first sculling head race. Up against some experienced scullers wins were always going to be tough to come by, but there were still some noteworthy results, with Angela Hitchens and Tamara Zwaagstra taking the runner up spot in the W.Open.2x, with Kate Pankhurst and Joey Innes-Hopkins a handful of seconds behind in 4th.

New Season – Calling Experienced Rowers
3rd September 2017

With the dust barely settled on a successful 2016/17 season, Auriol Kensington Rowing Club is already putting plans in motion for the new campaign. The club has big ambitions to make the 2017/18 season its most successful yet and have put a new coaching structure in place to reflect this. Newly appointed Head of Rowing, Jamie Smith, will be supported by an enthusiastic team of coaches, driven to make AK the premier club for fostering rowing talent on the Tideway while competing for honours at the highest level.

The club will hold an Open Day to mark the season kick-off on Sunday 3rd September. Experienced rowers are welcome to join established squad members for sessions on the water, followed by a barbecue on our famous riverside balcony.

Friendly, competitive rowing club on the Thames Tideway