Henley Royal Victory

The banks of the River Thames were filled with roars of excitement as Headington’s rowers crossed the line, winning one of the most esteemed trophies in the sport.

For the second time since the event began in 2021, and after a campaign that saw them competing against the national champions from the USA and Australia, the Headington 1st Eight emerged as the winners of the Prince Philip Challenge Trophy.

Headington is the only British team to hold this trophy, with strong American and Australian teams winning the event in 2022 and 2023.

After automatically qualifying by winning the Henley Women’s Regatta two weeks earlier, the girls competed against Groton School USA, St Catherine’s School Australia, and Newport Aquatic Center USA, before facing RowAmerica Rye, USA, in the final on Sunday 7th July.

Alumnae, fellow pupils, staff, and parents crowded the riverbanks to cheer the girls on as they rowed to victory, finishing two clear lengths ahead of their competitors.

Headmistress Caroline Jordan remarked: “It was absolutely amazing to see our Championship Eight winning at Henley Royal, beating the Australian and US champions along the way. The support from the wider HSOBC family was truly humbling. Well done, Headington!”

For seven of the crew, this victory marks the beginning of a summer of celebration, with three rowers awaiting GCSE results and four awaiting A Level results in August. Two girls will go onto Great Britain trials while another two will trial for the England team.

This is the youngest boat Headington has ever entered in the event, with the majority of the rowers having learned their skills at the School’s boat club – one of whom started rowing in May 2023.

Headington Performance Director and Head Coach Mr. Ryan Demaine described the girls’ achievement as ‘monumental’.

He said: “Our advantage truly shines with the full support of a school like Headington: the Senior Leadership Team, the governors, and the teaching and boarding staff, all of whom create the best possible Athlete-Scholar environment for these girls to excel both academically and in sport.”