Reading, England--The Ephs took to the town of Reading for a final tune up race before Henley racing begins on Wednesday. Both the Varsity Eight and the eliminated Varsity Four participated in racing.
The Reading Regatta is held along a short stretch of the River Thames roughly 10 miles upstream of Henley. It is a smaller town regatta mainly targeted at younger crews, but frequented by international crews coming in for Henley. It is an 800 meter sprint race, far shorter than the standard distance of 2000 meters or the Henley distance of 2112 meters. Because of its length, Reading is truly an all out sprint from start to finish.
The Varsity Eight, consisting of rowers Sam Ellison '18, Charlie Sheils '17, Andrew Rondeau '17, Erik Bovino '19, Drew West '19, Alex Ruberto '17, Graham Buchan '17, Michael Polson '17, and coxswain Devin Flynn '18, drew Santa Clara University from California and Riverside Boat Club in Boston for their race. Before leaving for Henley the Ephs scrimmaged against Riverside on Onota. Much like during the Henley qualifier, the Ephs and their opponents battled an exceedingly stiff headwind on the course. The Ephs struggled off the line in the headwind and quickly fell behind, but they pulled together as racing continued to hold the gap between them and leader Santa Clara. The Ephs finished third in their heat behind winner Santa Clara and runner up RIverside. Santa Clara would go on to win in the final as well.
The Varsity Four, consisting of rowers Aaron Finder '17, Jarrett Heflin '20, Jack Ellrodt '20, Charlie Ide '20, and coxswain Jamie Sullivan '18 rowed against New England rivals WPI later in the day. Much like the Varsity Eight, they too struggled in the headwind. Although each rower pulled with great energy, they were unable to bring their energy together to move the boat. After a rocky start the Ephs were able to hold onto WPI, and walk back on them a bit at the end. The Ephs finished behind WPI by roughly a length.
Both crews rowed 10 miles home along a stunning stretch of the River Thames to return to Henley.
While the Ephs were racing in Reading, the draw for the Temple Challenge Cup occurred in Henley Town Hall. Pieces of paper with names of crews are drawn from the Grand Challenge Cup, to be placed onto the bracket. The Ephs drew the University of London 'B' boat for their Wednesday opponent.
Although eliminated, the Varsity Four is still out on the course taking in the action of Henley. On Sunday the crew had the opportunity to practice with US Olympian John Graves. Graves, rowing in a single scull, raced a mile long piece with the Ephs as part of his training leading up to his own race in the Diamond Sculls event. The Ephs wish Graves the best of luck in his pursuit of the Diamonds.
The Ephs will be back in action on Wednesday in the Temple Challenge Cup against the University of London.