Holly Norton looking forward to Remenham challenge at Henley Royal Regatta

The quarterfinals of the open women’s eights event, The Remenham Cup get underway tomorrow at Henley Royal Regatta. For the first time, the opening rounds were held on Wednesday and all the races were won by overseas entries. Oxford Brookes, Tideway Scullers, Newcastle University and Molesey/University of Edinburgh made it through qualification only to be dispatched on day one, with Yale putting up the fastest time in this event of 7.06 against Brookes.

There is only one domestic crew left, racing as Leander & University of London, which was recently formed from the GB senior squad. The crew will no doubt form the basis of the eight that will compete at the European Championships in Glasgow this August and having been in small boats all season and this will be our first opportunity to see a potential GB women’s eight in action.

The GB women's eight on the dock at Leander Club, Henley on Thames on the eve of their Remenham Cup race

Anastasia Chitty, Katherine Douglas, Holly Hill, Rebecca Girling, Fiona Gammond, Holly Norton, Karen Bennett, Rebecca Shorten & Matilda Horn

The Remenham crew comprises members of the eight that raced at the World Rowing Championships in Sarasota last year: Mathilda Horn (University of London) at cox, Rebecca Shorten (Imperial College), Karen Bennett (Leander), Holly Norton (Leander), Fiona Gammond (Leander), Katherine Douglas (Leander) & Anastasia Chitty (Leander). Additionally, Rebecca Girling (Molesey) & Holly Hill (CUWBC), both very strong athletes, have been slotted in at 3 & 4 and will bring some essential firepower to the middle of the boat.

Holly Norton at 6 has competed in both World Cups this year in the four, winning silver in Linz where Australia took the gold. That crew makes up half of the National Training Centre, Australia crew who will be facing the University of Iowa in the top half of the draw tomorrow.

“My time in the four was really good and it was great to get out there and have some experience racing in a small boat,” Norton told WEROW. “I raced the eight for four years at Ohio and then last year with GB and obviously next year there will be an emphasis on qualifying the eight for Tokyo.”

The GB women's eight on the dock at Leander Club, Henley on Thames on the eve of their Remenham Cup race

The GB Remenham Cup eight practicing on the Henley Royal Regatta course this morning

The Leander/London crew are in the bottom half of the draw and will face Roeivereniging SilVia, the Dutch national eight, tomorrow. “I haven’t looked too much at the draw but I treat all opposition with the same amount of respect,” said Norton. “Our first race together will be tomorrow and we just want to make sure that we lay down a good performance in this new lineup.”

“I am enjoying life in the eight now, more people to play with, more opinions of course so there are pros and cons! It’s good fun being back in the eight and when it gets up and running and the boat’s barrelling down the course it’s a great boat to be in.”

Norton and her crew will be looking to step on from their experience in Sarasota where they came fifth as they head to Tokyo. Norton missed Henley last year owing to a rib injury but is now back to full health. “I am really excited to get back out to Henley and excited for the rest of the summer and the racing to come.”

The timetable for tomorrow’s racing will be fixed later this evening and we will be updated here.