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Huskies at Henley

Washington Men Shatter Temple Cup Record on Way to Henley Victory

Washington Rowing and the Henley Royal Regatta each boast a proud tradition together, one that dates back 60 years. While the regatta itself is much older – the event was first held in 1839 – the UW has made history on the Thames more than once. Sixty years ago, Washington’s ‘58 men’s crew lost in the final of the Grand Challenge Cup in the UW’s first appearance at Henley, but the Huskies gained their revenge over the Trud Leningrad Club later that summer in the historic rematch in the Soviet Union, one of the marquee events in the history of UW athletics.

In 1977, Washington’s men won the Grand Challenge Cup, the top prize at Henley, beating the British National Team. That year also featured the only time in Husky history that Washington won two Henley events, also taking the Visitors’ Cup for straight fours.

In 2000, Washington won the first open women’s eight race (then called the Henley Prize) beating the University of Victoria by a half-length.

This year, Washington’s men’s eight won the Temple Challenge Cup beating a crew from Oxford Brookes University and breaking the event record by five seconds. On the same day, UW’s Anna Thornton, ‘19, won the Stonor Challenge Trophy for women’s double sculls along with her partner, Charlotte Hodgkins-Byrne. This year also marks the first time Husky men’s and women’s crews have gone to Henley together.

“Every rower, at some point in their life wants to row at Henley,” said UW men’s head coach Michael Callahan. “We are so grateful to our alumni, donors and the University for making this dream a reality for our student-athletes. It is a very special experience.”

The Husky men won five match races over the five-day regatta (beating Yale in the semis in the M8+) in a field of 32 entries, including nine from American colleges. Washington’s time of 5:58 broke the old Temple Challenge Cup record by five seconds.

The winning Washington crew, comprised mostly of members of second and third varsity eights from this past season, included coxswain Kimmons Wilson, ‘19, and rowers Sean Kelly, ‘18, George Esau, ‘20, Peter Lancashire, ‘21, Steve Rosts, ’21, David Bridges, ‘20, Robert Karlen, ‘18, Philipp Nonnast, ‘19, and Alexander Vollmer, ‘20.

Washington men’s crew was led by UW assistant coach and former Olympian Sam Dommer, ‘14. Dommer was also a member of the Washington crew that won the Temple Challenge Cup at Henley in 2012.

“Sam did an incredible job coaching at Henley,” said Callahan who stayed back in Seattle to perform his duties as the U.S. under-23 head coach. “It’s part of the ‘Washington Way’ to not only develop our student-athletes but also our coaches. Sam handled all of the coaching duties extremely well and the results speak for themselves.”

Additionally, former UW captain Jacob Dawson, ‘16, won the Stewards’ Challenge Cup with the Great Britain coxless four, rowing for Leander Club.

Coach Yaz Farooq is looking to start a new Henley tradition on the women’s side as well. Prior to this year, the Washington women hadn’t been to Henley since 2000. It is Farooq’s goal to take crews every four years. (Due to NCAA foreign tour rules, teams may participate in foreign competitions out of season a maximum of once every four years.)

“It’s the experience of a lifetime, and competing at Henley every four years means that every Husky rower can earn this opportunity during her career here,” said Farooq. “Hopefully, next time when we go, now that they’ve added additional women’s events, we can take Husky rowers in every one of those events.”

This year, Washington’s women fielded three boats, thanks primarily to the generous support of the 101 Club, a Seattle organization devoted to the promotion of amateur sports.

For the first time, women raced on the opening day of Henley, thanks to the expansion of the field for the Remenham Cup. Washington’s women’s eight of Phoebe Marks-Nicholes, ‘18, Brooke Pierson, ‘18, Elise Beuke, ‘19, Marlee Blue, ‘19, Tabea Schendekehl, ‘20, Brooke Mooney, ‘18, Karle Pittsinger, ‘18, Jess Thoennes, ’18, and Katy Gillingham, ’19, dominated the opening two rounds, but ultimately fell to the British National Team in the semifinal in a thrilling sprint to the line.

UW’s double sculls combination of Kenzie Waltar, ‘18, and Klara Grube, ’21, also made it to the semifinal, where they lost to the duo from Exeter College in the Stonor Cup. Chiara Ondoli, ‘18, Carmela Pappalardo, ‘20, Sara Clark, ’18, and Julia Paulsen, ’18, raced in the quad sculls, falling to a combined crew from Sydney University (Australia) and Edinburgh University (Scotland) in the Princess Grace Challenge Cup.

“I am extremely proud of all of our boats,” said Farooq. “Racing against national teams and national team hopefuls was a tall order and we knew it would take our best effort physically, technically and mentally. I think everyone found a new level of focus and concentration. It was teamwork at its finest.”

Well rowed Washington!

UW Victories at the Henley Royal Regatta

1977 – Grand Challenge Cup (men’s eight)
1977 – Visitors’ Challenge Cup (men’s coxless four)
1981 – Ladies Challenge Plate (men’s eight)
2000 – Henley Prize (women’s eight)
2003 – Ladies Challenge Plate (men’s eight)
2010 – Temple Challenge Cup (men’s eight)
2012 – Temple Challenge Cup (men’s eight)
2015 – Prince Albert Challenge Cup (men’s coxed four)
2018 – Temple Challenge Cup (men’s eight)
Other appearances: 1958, 1973, 1984, 1995, 1997, 2013