Aug 16, 2013
WASHINGTON - To compete at Henley Royal Regatta in Henley-On-Thames, England leaves lasting memories of pristine viewing enclosures, hard fought head to head racing and throngs of well-dressed spectators. Georgetown has raced rowing crews there as a university on several occasions. The last for the Hoyas was in July of 2010 when they competed in the Prince Albert Cup, finishing in the top eight crews out of the 40 that had entered.
To win at Henley, however, is something entirely different. More than an experience, those who gain such an accomplishment compare it to a world or Olympic-level achievement. Alumni not yet ready to hang up their unisuits often join boat clubs with the desire to race for this ultimate vindication of their rowing efforts and abilities. And so it was this past July, three alumni of the Georgetown University Crew were able do just that. They finished first together in the Britannia Cup, an event open to coxed fours from any rowing club in the world that qualified.
The journey to this win together was not a direct one. The three graduates from Georgetown, Jack Carlson, C'09; Henry Hoffstot, C'13; and Timothy Broughton, C'13, arrived in the boat together mostly by chance. Carlson had been living in England since graduating from Georgetown. He attended Brasenose College of Oxford University and during his time there had served as a coxswain for the OUBC heavy and lightweight squads and had competed for Taurus at Henley the 2 years prior.
"Since graduating from Georgetown in 2009, I have made three attempts at Henley," Carlson notes. "I made the semi-final in 2011, made the final in 2012 -- where we lost by three painful feet -- and finally got the win this year. Competition for the boat this year was very tough, and it was great that two other Georgetown alums made it."
Henry Hoffstot, who will be attending Cambridge University in the fall, had competed with Georgetown at Henley in 2010 and was coming off a strong season rowing for the Hoyas. He joined Taurus Boat Club to stay in shape for the upcoming rowing season for Cambridge and to have another crack at the HRR.
"Rowing at Henley with Georgetown was a great experience," Hoffstot said. "Ever since that trip, I have had a strong desire not only to return to Henley but to return and win. I am glad I was able to try out for the Taurus crew this summer."
Broughton, who was also in the four that had competed at Henley in 2010 noted, "Having the opportunity to compete against and train with other accomplished rowers from the US and Britain was a special opportunity to test my competitive resolve and fitness."
To win at Henley means sweeping races, and one by one the competitors fell to Taurus. After 3 wins in 3 days on the 2200-meter course, including a win against a favored Molesey Boat Club, the final competition was set. Taurus would face Union Boat Club of the USA on Sunday. In the race for the Britannia Cup, Taurus shot off the line, tying the record to the first time check in 1:57. This gave them an open water advantage early in the race. But to UBC's credit they did not back down and came storming back toward the end of the course. Although they did succeed in making the race very interesting for the crowd at the finish line, their charge fell short and Taurus was able to hold on and finish with a 1-length advantage.
The win marks the first ever victory at Henley Royal Regatta for anyone from Georgetown in the regatta's 174 year history.