Henley Masters Regatta
12th & 13th July 2019
Three boats entered Henley Masters to take on the famous 1000m course – a Women’s MasC coxed 4, a Women’s MasC double scull and a MasH single scull. AK has a rich tradition of single sculling at this regatta with Frank Raschke winning 7 times between 2003 and 2011, but it’s been a while since the club has entered multiple crew boats.
The coxed four easily beat a San Diego Rowing Club in the first round to setup a final with Milton Keynes. The crew consisted of Jo McDiarmid, Susie Lane, Kate Cyr and Nadia Fontaine, and coxed by Grace Lane. A good start in the final gave them an early lead, and they used all their strength to hold off a determined fightback by the Milton Keynes crew to take the win by 1 length – the first win for an AK crew boat at Henley Masters since 2009.
The Women’s double with Kate Pankhurst and Marianna Raffaele sadly had to surrender to a stronger crew from Eaton Excelsior in the first round while Alan Saunders, racing Henley Masters in a single for the first time, lost to a Dart Totnes sculler by 5 lengths.
Henley Royal Regatta
3rd – 7th July 2019
Having missed out on qualification in 2018 the club sent two crews to the time trial for the Thames Challenge Cup. The ability to send two strong 8’s to Henley speaks volumes about the current strength in depth of the Men’s Squad, the commitment of the rowers, and the coaching talent of Head of Rowing, Jamie Smith, and his team.
While the second eight missed out on qualification they gained valuable experience of racing the course for the first time. For the first eight it was a different story putting in an immense effort to secure one of the 7 places in the regatta.
The draw for the first round pitted AK against local rivals, Vesta Rowing Club, and despite another strong row they came home 3.5 lengths down on their opponents. Any disappointment from the defeat was quickly assuaged with the knowledge that this is just the start for this group of rowers. They will return in 2020 stronger than ever.
Henley Women’s Regatta
21st – 23rd June 2019
AK’s Senior Women squad embarked on the Henley Women Regatta’s campaign with three crews: two Aspirational coxless fours and one Development coxed four.
The top coxless four (Nicola Griffin, Joey Innes-Hopkins, Hannah Smith and Kate O’Sullivan) stormed through qualification, but were drawn against the top seeds and eventual event winners, Tideway Scullers School, in the first round. That race saw much drama with the TSS crew hitting the booms off the start, but showing immense strength to fight back through AK by the finish line.
The second coxless four (Jo McDiarmid, Elinor George, Marianna Raffaele and Kate Pankhurst), which came together only a few weeks before the regatta, narrowly missed out on qualification, but take solace from being the fastest non-qualifier and fastest ‘B’ boat despite their lack of preparation time.
Qualification was an even tougher prospect for the Development coxed 4 (Jess Hardwick, Sophie Young, Emily Ford and Katherine Couper) with 39 club and university crews vying for 16 places in the draw. Unfortunately they were unable to progress but still secured a very respectable place in the ranking.
There are many positives to take away from HWR 2019, but introspection can wait. Now it’s time for the squad to recharge their batteries and enjoy the summer regattas!
2nd & 3rd June 2019
AK spent the weekend racing at Dorney Lake at Met Regatta. After setting crews at training camp in Spain, the Senior Women entered 3 crews to test their pre-Henley speed. Unfortunately the W1x and W4+ where unable to progress to Saturday’s finals, while the W4- battled to 4th in their straight final.
On Sunday the same 4+ secured a solid 2nd place in their straight final, while the W4- narrowly missed out in their heat, finishing 4th against some very tough opposition.
The Senior Men came to Met with the intent to learn how to race against top competition and consolidate all of the work put in at training camp. On Saturday the 4- finished a respectable 4th place in their only heat of the day. The 4+ was through to a straight final and obtained 5th place, and the same crew followed that with another 5th place racing coxless in the afternoon. The 1x battled through the wind to finish 6th in their heat.
On Sunday the Men raced only the 4+ and 4-. The 4+ arrived early and finished 2nd in their heat, dropping to 5th in the final in the afternoon. Again the story was of a fast start and then losing control as the race continued. The 4- came 4th in their heat through a strong crosswind and missed out on qualifying for the final of their event.
Lots of learning from the weekend, taking note of what to continue and what to develop over the coming weeks and months.
Peterborough Spring Regatta
2nd June 2019
While the top men’s boats were racing at Met, the Development and remaining Senior Men were competing at Peterborough Spring Regatta. Providing essential practice for the summer season ahead, the 1000m sprint course tested the crews’ ability to start strong and keep the intensity up.
Our men’s senior eight was unable to progress past their heat, but they had another opportunity later in the day racing in a coxed four and coxless four. While the coxless four was unsuccessful in their straight final, the coxed four finished second in their heat progressing to the final. In the final the coxed four finished fourth, but they weren’t too downbeat – it was a good row for their second outing as a crew.
After a narrow loss two weeks before at Putney Town Regatta, the men’s development eight were primed for a win. However, it wasn’t to be their day: not progressing past their heat and crashing the bow of their boat into the end of the course! While not the most graceful finish they felt they had lots to build on and take forward into the summer.
5th May 2019
AKRC’s regatta season started with Wallingford Regatta at Dorney Lake – venue for the 2012 Olympic regatta. The 2000 metre course provided the first test to see where our top crews sat in relation to our main rivals.
Our women’s 1st eight was unable to progress past the heat, but had some stiff competition from the likes of Agecroft, Thames and Vesta. However, they can take solace from the fact that they were the fastest non-qualifier for the final. Our women’s coxless four fared better, securing a berth in the final after a solid heat, and outpaced all but the top two crews to claim a well deserved bronze medal.
2nd March 2019
With only two weeks until WEHoRR and less than a month to HORR, Hammersmith Head is one of the most popular head races on the Tideway. It’s also one of the key opportunities for clubs to make final decisions on crew selection for the upcoming big races!
This year the event was oversubscribed and 290 crews took to the start line. As a host club, AK recruited numerous volunteers to help run the event smoothly. As a result, the Club strategically decided to enter only 3 crews: M1 (7th in the Open Intermediate), W2 (8th in the Club category) and the Novice Men (8th in the Development category).
AK Retains Dewar Shield
17th February 2019
Auriol Kensington have won the Dewar Shield for the 4th straight year with a convincing victory in the annual head race competition against local rivals Furnivall Sculling Club and Sons of the Thames. AK boated 10 crews on the day drawn from the senior, development and Vets squads, along with two crews of returning rowers from season’s past.
The Men’s first eight set the fastest time of the day over the 4.4km course from Chiswick Bridge to the AK flag pole, while the Women’s first eight, and Men’s novice eight also won in their respective categories. Celebrations from a very successful day continued long into the evening back at the club.
Henley Fours and Eights Head
16th February 2019
AK moved from the Tideway to the much calmer waters of Henley Upon Thames on Saturday. AK crews competed over a 3000m course incorporating the famous stretch of river that makes up Henley Royal Regatta.
The Men’s eight came 5th while the Men’s coxless four finished 4th, in the intermediate Band 2 category. The Senior women entered a coxless four into Band 1, positioning themselves 4th whilst the coxed four ended 3rd in the Band 2 category. Finally, the Senior Women’s eight came home in 6th place.
27th January 2019
The Tideway Head Season kicked off with Quintin Head on a cold winter morning. Over 250 crews were entered for the race between Chiswick Bridge and the Harrods Wall. AK squads, just back from 3-day training camp in Reading, entered 6 crews.
M1, racing in the Intermediate category, came home in a respectable 7th place out of 23 (39th overall) followed by M2, who achieved 18th place in the same category (67th overall). W1, racing in the Senior category managed to secure a 145th position overall.
Our novice men’s crew, on their very first race on the Tideway, ended 18th out of 24 while W2, racing in the Development category, achieved a decent position in the of 14th out of 23, immediately followed by our Masters E mixed crew.
The race has undoubtedly been a good marker from where to build for the rest of the winter season.
Star Club Head
18th November 2018
Over 50 club rowers made the trip from Hammersmith to Bedford for the Star Club Head. Crews made up from the Senior Men’s and Women’s squads, Development rowers and Veterans tackled the 2km course on a crisp and sunny winter’s day. With such a large contingent AK was looking to take home a decent haul of pots and were not to be disappointed taking 11 wins and setting the fastest times for both men’s and women’s competition.
AK has made this event something of a tradition and this proved to be a great, morale-boosting day out for the whole squad. We’ll certainly be back next year.
15th September 2018
Auriol Kensington RC is gearing up for the start of the 2018/19 season. Our first water sessions will take place on Saturday 15th September with the club welcoming new and returning members alike. A senior/intermediate session will be followed by an outing for novices, and we’ll then have a social in the bar to get everyone together and informally discus plans for the season ahead. More details are in the poster below.
New Captain Elected
21st August 2018
At an Extraordinary General Meeting on Tuesday night the club elected a new captain. After two years at the helm Angela Hitchens has stepped down, and James Fishlock was unanimously voted in as her replacement. We thank Angela for her dedicated service to the club and wish James all the best for the coming season.