Thursday, 24 August 2017 13:07

Henley Regatta

[Photos provided by Gloria Griskowitz]

SARATOGA SPRINGS — On Aug. 6 through 13 the Royal Canadian Henley Regatta (RCHR) took place in Ontario, Canada.

The Saratoga Rowing Association (SRA) traveled to Ontario to participate with both women and men athletes, ranging in age from 14 to 23 years old.

“The RCHR is hailed as a top amateur rowing event in North America. Each year they welcome international competitors and visitors from across Canada, the US, Europe, Africa, Australia and Latin America. This year, the 135th Annual RCHR event brought in over 2800 participants,” according to the SRA press release.

Of 32 events entered by SRA, they won 12 heats, won three semi-finals, seven boats were in the top three finishers in the finals, and two boats won their finals earning a coveted RCHR Gold Medal.

“While the team performed well from top to bottom, and we placed many crews into the finals of many events, the big win for 2017 was the fact that the boat team won their first gold medal at this prestigious event. They raced against 63 crews from places as far away as Florida, California, Calgary, and China,” said SRA Executive Director Eric Catalano.

The Regatta only hands out gold medals, which is different from many other Regattas.

When asked why this Regatta only hands out gold medals, Catalano said: “They believe that every boat that makes it to a final is worthy of a medal, so they feel that gold is the only medal to be awarded. There is also uniqueness about the RCHR and the fact that you need to actually win to take home a Henley medal. This year’s medals were also a one-off unique, made for the 135th anniversary of the RCHR.”

“Winning a Henley gold medal is incredibly prestigious and difficult. It is cause for big celebration at SRA every time one of our boats ends up on the podium,” Catalano explained.

As with all team travel, the athletes were self-funded.

“SRA hires buses or vans and books hotel rooms for the entire team and then divides the costs amongst all the attendees. We only fundraise for extreme events like our trip to Australia in 2013,” said Catalano.

The Royal Canadian Henley is an annual event for the Saratoga Rowing Association and is the highlight Regatta of their summer season. 

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