A lightning fast flood of entries saw an arguably record-breaking uptake for the Fuller’s Head of River Fours 2019, with it taking only 15 days for the race to reach full capacity. With such a high interest for participating in this years’ event, competition looks set to be fierce across the board for all 33 categories.
In the Quad events, all eyes will be on the former U23 international crews participating in both the Open and Women’s events, with star-studded line-ups making an appearance. The Open 4x of Sam Meijer, Josh Armstrong, Matt Heywood and George Bourne racing as TSS/EHU/NRC/DUB are the reigning U23 World Champions, having picked up the gold medal in Sarasota over the summer of this year. The Women’s crew representing Molesey BC/Edinburgh University contains three athletes who also took home gold from the same event, in Lucy Glover, Molly Harding and Lola Anderson, but are joined by one new face in Lucy Primmer of Molesey Boat Club.
Both of these crews are sure to face fierce competition from the Swiss National Team who travel to London to compete in both Quad events and also bring with them competition in the Open Coxless Fours.
The Fours events, Coxless and Coxed, will see returning blues from Oxford and Cambridge competing for the first time on the Tideway this season, with their eyes already firmly set on the University Boat Race in March 2020. They will prove tough to topple in the academic categories offered within each of these events. Goldie, Isis, CUWBC and OUWBC have 22 crews entered across the categories. Both Isis and Goldie have loaded up the Coxed Four, where Isis have five athletes from last year’s Blue Boat; Felix Drinkall, Tobias Schröder, Charlie Buchanan, Augustin Wambersie and Toby De Mendonça. Whilst Goldie field Freddie Davidson and Callum Sullivan from last years crew, they will be joined by last year’s Goldie cox Charlie Marcus, and two new recruits in Arthur Doyle and Ben Freeman.
OUWBC also look to prioritize the Coxed Fours in the Women’s Academic event, with Tina Christmann, Renée Koolschijn and Amelia Standing, racing together again following their selection in the Blue Boat last season, alongside Katherine Maitland and Costanza Levy. Meanwhile CUWBC look to be placing their strengths into the Coxless event, fielding a boat of three returners from the winning 2019 Boat Race crew; Tricia Smith, Laura Foster and Larkin Sayre. Their new recruit, Sophie Paine who won a silver medal at this year’s U23 World Championships for Great Britain, will complete the line-up.
From the Open Club Fours categories, a stand-out pick looks to be Molesey Boat Club’s Coxless crew of George Stewart, Will Stewart, Oscar Lindsay and Ollie Salonna most of whom host pedigree at U23 level. The Women’s Club events see another dominant entry from Tideway Scullers School, who won the Club Coxless Fours last year, but will be challenged by their local rivals Thames Rowing Club who seek to defend the Club Coxed Fours title.
An elite combination from Oxford Brookes look set to tear down the course in the Open Coxed event, fielding an all-international line-up. The crew of Rory Gibbs, Matthew Tarrant, Josh Bugajski, Morgan Bolding and Harry Brightmore have all represented Great Britain at the World Championships in recent years, with Gibbs, Tarrant and Bugajski all coming away from this year’s event in Linz, Austria with medals.
Reading University are back again with a large entry, attempting to repeat their success in the sculling events from 2018 in the academic Open and Women’s Quad categories.
In the absence of last year’s winners, the School/Junior Open Quads title will certainly change hands. The School/Junior Women’s Quads, however, have a solo entry from Henley Rowing Club, who will be flying the flag to reclaim the win in this event. The School/Junior Fours events will also see last year’s returning winners Westminster and St Paul’s School in the Coxless and Coxed crews respectively. The School/Junior Women’s Fours will see returning winners Kingston Rowing Club in the Coxed event, though we will see a new champion in the Coxless event as last year’s winners, Lea Rowing Club, field no entry into the category.
The Fuller’s Head of the River Fours race will take place on Saturday, 23rd November 2019, starting at 12:45.
The start order is available at https://hor4s.com/startorder/