Heavy 8 Wins Silver

Tuesday, July 17, 2007 - By: Rebecca Day Reynolds

In a photo finish measured by gasps and millimeters, the boys of the Brentwood Heavy Eight have left the international rowing fraternity officially “gob smacked”. Their razor- close second place finish to England’s largest independent school, Shrewsbury, begs the question:  How did a mid- sized boarding school that offers no sports scholarships end up here, on the River Thames, nearly thrashing the world?

With a long and regal history that reaches back to 1839, the Henley Royal Regatta is the most prestigious rowing event in the world. Competitors glide over a stretch of the River Thames in Oxfordshire that has been the watery battleground over which ancient university rivalries have been fought for nearly two centuries. Top international crews now test their mettle against rival crews over a singularly long and cruel one mile, 550 yard course. It is a ‘privilege’ accorded to few high school teams. This year, the Brentwood Senior Men's Heavy Eight  travelled to this rowing mecca and handily out- rowed such worthies as British national champions, the highly esteemed Eton School, and the US nation champions, Thomas Jefferson.

Participation at Henley is a crowning testament to the vigour and excellence of an enormously triumphant regatta season for the Heavy Eight (44-1) and the Brentwood College School Rowing Club. At the beginning of June, crews arrived home from the 2007 Canadian Secondary Schools Rowing Championships in St. Catharines, Ontario, with three national titles: gold in the Senior Men's Heavy Eight, gold in the Senior Men's Heavy Coxed Four, and gold in the Junior Women's Open Coxed Four.

A coaching staff that includes a three- time Olympian, an indoor rowing tank, an enviably equipped boathouse, an expanse of ocean: is it surprising that Brentwood rowers continue to add hardware and glory to a programme that has produced 69 national championships?

The internationally renowned Brentwood Rowing Club has a distinguished history that has produced many gold medal Olympians. Brentwood rowing attracts enthusiastic athletes who are interested in learning to row, or in further developing their skill, endurance, and performance on the water.

Brentwood rowers enjoy a busy regatta season in the third term. At the end of April, Brentwood hosts its own regatta, the largest of its kind in North America. Each May, select crews also have a chance to travel to the Canadian High School Championships in St. Catharines, Ontario. The entrants for 2007 included the Brentwood Men's "Heavy Eight", an astonishing crew that was undefeated all season. A number of its members have received lucrative scholarships to such post- secondary institutions as the University of California, Berkeley.

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