Head of the River Race 2009

The week past saw Queen’s men prepare to take part in the Head of the River Race 2009. Two Queens eights competed in this, the most prestigious head race in the rowing calendar. Queens entered the event with hopes of finishing their head season with strong results, off the back of their recent success in Erne HOR. The race was an exceptional one, seeing crews consisting of Olympic champions competing. The TSS ‘Great Eight' (consisting of all the Beijing Olympic single sculls finalists - stroked by multiple Olympic and World Championship medallist, Iztok Cop), won the event by 4 seconds over Leander I despite hitting the mile-post buoy!

On the day of the event, one couldn’t have wished for better racing conditions. The sun was out and a gentle tailwind looked set to produce some fantastic race times. Out of 420 crews to enter, a total of 409 participated in the event. Queens launched both boats around 10 AM, as racing was due to commence at 11:15AM sharp, with Leander I leading the pack. Crews were set off at 10 to 15 second intervals with Queens I placed 86th in the start order. Queens I took off aggressively after crew 85 (London RC VII) and 84 (Quintin RC I) managing to overtake both crews by the bend at Chiswick reach. The crew continued its form right to the finish at Putney, finishing in a time of 18:22.16. This placed Queens 17th overall and made them the fastest overseas university on the day. This is the highest Queens have placed since 1951, when the senior VIII finished 13th. UCD senior eight also put in an impressive performance posting a time of 18:26.40, which earned them 24th place just 4 seconds behind Queens. Queens II also put in an extraordinary performance, considering their starting position (182nd). The crew managed to overtake three crews by Hammersmith Bridge and continued their flying form through to the finish in a time of 18:59.29. This placed them in 8Oth position overall, 0.1 seconds ahead of 81st placed Trinity College Dublin I and just 10 seconds behind Commercial, who finished 64th in a time of 18:49.38. The weekend was proof that Irish rowing continues to strengthen, with two universities finishing in the top 25. The aftermath of the race was blessed with Ireland’s success in the Six Nations, which served as the perfect ending to a great sporting day.

On Sunday, Queens were privileged to train alongside Cambridge’s ‘Goldie’ crew a week ahead of the Boat Race. This provided a once in a lifetime opportunity for the nine-strong crew, who enjoyed the experience immensely. Queens rowing would like to extend our thanks to Cambridge Boat Club for the training session on Sunday, and wish both Goldie and the Light Blues the best of luck in Sunday’s 155th Boat Race. Queens would also like to thank Thames Tradesmen Rowing Club and St Paul’s School for use of their facilities during our stay in London.

Next stop for Queens Rowing is Neptune Regatta on Saturday 4th April, to sample the first taste of the short course this season.

H.O.R.R Results


Queen's senior VIII mid-race passing under Barnes Bridge


Queen's intermediate VIII passing under Barnes Bridge