Imperial rowers win at Henley Royal Regatta


Team celebrating victory

Imperial crew celebrating their Prince Albert Cup Challenge Victory

Imperial rowers are celebrating winning the Prince Albert Cup Challenge at the Henley Royal Regatta.

The 4th-8th July saw the Imperial College Boat Club descend upon Henley for the Henley Royal Regatta with our students taking home the Prince Albert Challenge Cup, after narrowly missing out on the win in last year’s race.  

Founded in 1839 the Regatta is the highlight of the rowing calendar, with over 23 events across all levels of rowing. The Prince Albert Challenge Cup has been raced since 2004 and is a student coxed fours race. Imperial have previously won the cup on three occasions, in 2004, 2006 and 2013.  

In 2017, the Imperial crew lost the final by 2/3 of a length to Newcastle University despite breaking a course record during the race. However, with the crew having taken gold medals at the BUCS Regatta in May, and the Metropolitan Regatta in June, they were hopeful that this would be their year. 

The Crew

This year’s crew were:

  • Bow:  David Simmonds, 19, second year aeronautical engineering
  • 2:  Oliver Hines, 23, MSc statistics
  • 3: Casper Woods, 19, first year medicine
  • Stroke: Alex Ball, 21, final year mechanical engineering 
  • Cox:  Wilf Le Brocq, 18, first year physics

They were coached by Peter Hardcastle, a former Australian Olympian, who has recently been appointed Head of Rowing at Imperial.

The Prince Albert Cup Challenge

The journey to the final saw the Imperial Crew take a comfortable first-round win over the team from Grand Valley State University, USA. 

The quarter final saw the team compete against Durham University. Despite being over a length down in the early stages, the Imperial crew persevered and went on to win the race by 2 1/4 lengths, whilst setting a new course record of 6 minutes 46 seconds. 

In the semi final, the University of London took an early lead, but couldn’t hold onto it, with Imperial making it to the finals to face Goldie Boat Club (Cambridge University).

In the final, the Imperial crew lead from the start and went on to win by 3/4 length in a time of 6 minutes 51 seconds. 

  • Imperial Rowing Crew
  • Imperial Rowers
  • Winning the cup
  • Rowers relaxing

Other Regatta successes

Also representing the Imperial College Boat Club was Olympic medalist, Zoe Lee, who won Silver in Rio 2016. At Henley, she was part of a Great British composite crew, and won the Princess Grace Challenge Cup for Women’s quadruple sculls.

More victories in sight?

Four members of the victorious crew, David Simmonds, Oliver Hines, Alex Ball and Wilf Le Brocq will be representing Imperial at the European University Games in Coimbra, Portugal from 14-18th July, whilst Casper Woods is undertaking trials with the aim to represent Great Britain at the World Rowing U23 Championships later this year. 


Clare Smith

Clare Smith
Campus Services