Hawkeyes Head To Henley Royal Regatta

IOWA CITY, Iowa — The University of Iowa rowing team is set to travel to England for the Henley Royal Regatta this week. The Hawkeyes will be across the pond for three weeks, exploring, training, and racing against world class competitors.

1500-meter racing begins on Friday with time trials to qualify for head-to-head style through Sunday, if Iowa advances. Iowa’s Varsity Eight is racing in the Ron Needs Challenge Championship and the Varsity Four is in the Borne Cup.

In the second week of the trip, the Hawkeyes will train daily and explore the sightseeing excursion in London, Oxford, and Windsor. In the final week of the trip, Iowa will qualify, if necessary, for the Henley Royal Regatta. Racing will begin July 2-7, in a single elimination format daily. The Varsity Eight will be in the Island Challenge Cup against school or university varsity eights. The Varsity Four will compete in the Princess Grace Challenge Cup in the same format.

First held in 1839, the event has been held annually ever since, with the exception of the years affected by the two World Wars and the COVID-19 pandemic. Originally staged by the mayor and people of Henley as a public attraction with a fair and other amusements, the emphasis rapidly changed so that competitive amateur rowing became its main purpose. The Regatta took place on a single afternoon but proved so popular with oarsmen that the racing lasted for two days from 1840. Today, the regatta is staged for six days, ending on the first Sunday in July.

The Henley Royal Regatta is “the most prestigious regatta in the world,” according to its website. Races are held on the River Thames, one of London’s main attractions.

“Racing at Henley is the equivalent of the Kentucky Derby. It is part of the British Season of events, Wimbledon, The Open and Royal Ascot being the other three big events. Having our team being able to participate is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for our athletes. They will get to represent Iowa against teams from Great Britain, the Netherlands, Australia, New Zealand, and Germany. It is a chance for our current athletes from Great Britain to row in front of family and friends. I am thrilled to be able to bring this group of Hawkeyes to perform on the world stage at the most famous rowing event in the world.”