Henley on Thames, England--The fourteen rowers of Williams Men's Crew participated in the qualification round of the Henley Royal Regatta, with the Varsity Eight moving onto the knockout round beginning next Wednesday.
In the qualification round, crews race a time trial down the Henley course with the top finishing times earning qualifications to their respective event, however some crews are prequalified by the regatta stewards and do not need to race the qualifier.
Crews battled a stiff headwind that consistently blew at 15 mph during racing.
The Ephs were cheered on by numerous alumni from the class of '68, who are currently in Oxford before their 50th reunion next summer. The crews were incredibly grateful to receive support from their purple and gold clad fellow Ephs.
The Varsity Eight was one of nine crews to qualify for the Temple Challenge Cup, against a massive field of 51 crews vying for those spots. The Ephs now await their first round opponent, which will be drawn Saturday afternoon at city hall. The Temple Challenge Cup, featuring a field of 32 crews. The Ephs New England rival WPI also managed to qualify today.
Senior captain and six seat Andrew Rondeau had this to say about the Ephs race: "Incredible support from reunion alumni lining the shore encouraged the crew to stay consistent and persistent against a challenging head wind. The boat has come so far since arriving in Henley two weeks ago and can't wait to continue to improve as we prepare to attack the first dual race on Wednesday."
The Ephs young Varsity Four also raced in the qualification round, but failed to make the cut. The Ephs four raced against a field of 29 crews for 8 qualifying spots. Although making great strides together as a crew over the past six weeks together, the Ephs failed to make the cut. Eph competitors Bowdoin and WPI had two boats each in the event, but none of them managed to qualify either.
Coach Edward Slater was pleased with the team's performance and is looking forward to the first round: "Today was a success for all of Williams Rowing. By placing in the top 9 of 51 crews, the Eight earned their spot in the Henley Royal Regatta. They did so through the support of of their teammates, not only those in the Four who raced their hearts out and produced their best performance, but those back at home. A special thank you to the Class of 1968 who came to watch and cheer us on! The focus is now on Wednesday, the round of 32, and who Saturday's draw gives us to race."
Both Eph crews will be back in action tomorrow for the Reading Regatta.