Deerfield Excels at the Henley Royal Regatta

For the second time in school history and the first time for the girls’ team, Deerfield participated in the Henley Royal Regatta, one of the most exciting rowing events of the year! An incredible celebration of the sport with amazing history and tradition, Henley draws crews from all over the world and across all age categories (there are events for high school, university, and elite rowers). This year, Deerfield entered crews into three different events: the Princess Elizabeth Challenge Trophy (Boys 8), the Prince Philip Challenge Trophy (Girls 8), and the Prince Albert Challenge Trophy (University Men’s 4+).  

On Friday, June 23, the Prince Albert 4+, comprised of Ginger Bernstein ’25 (coxswain), Oscar Patton ’23 (stroke), Jamie Weymouth ’23 (3), Johnnie Moriarty ’23 (2), and Ben Sackrey ’25 (bow), raced in the Henley Qualifier–a time trial used to determine the last few crews to complete the regatta field (the Henley Stewards, who oversee the event, pre-select a number of crews who have demonstrated speed throughout the season and then fill the rest of the field through the Qualifying Race). As only one of two high school entries in this event (this is primarily a university field), the Deerfield boat raced well and, out of 21 crews vying for three qualifying spots, finished 6th, just 3 seconds behind a crew from Princeton, the first of the non-qualifying boats. While disappointing not to make it into the Henley field, this boat raced hard and beat out many strong university crews. Additionally, the entry from Salisbury, the only other high school in the event, finished 13 seconds behind the Deerfield entry.  

The crew wrapped up their season by competing at the Reading Town Regatta on Saturday, June 24. The boat from Deerfield finished second overall, just behind a strong crew from Colgate University but ahead of a good boat from Worchester Polytechnic Institute, a crew pre-selected for the Prince Albert field.

Based on the strength of their spring seasons, both the boys and girls 8s were pre-selected for their respective events. Racing for the boys in the Princess Elizabeth Challenge Trophy began on Tuesday, June 27, when they lined up with a strong crew from Latymer Upper School, the 7th-place finisher at the British National Schools Regatta (their national championship). Initially down, the boys from Deerfield pushed through in the middle of the race to win by just over one length. This result set up a second-round match-up with an exceptional crew from Shiplake College, the School’s Head of the River Regatta winners, and the 6th-place finishes at the national championship. Deerfield jumped to an early lead, but a strong move in the middle of the race saw Shiplake move through and secure the win by just over a length. Shiplake would beat Marin, a top US club program from California (and 4th place finisher at the US National Championships) in the third round of racing, further confirming their speed. While it wasn’t the result the boys had hoped for, they raced hard and showed great speed and toughness against incredibly strong competition. There is plenty to be proud of with this group!

The Princess Elizabeth lineup was Darien Chiang ’23 (coxswain), John Patton ’23 (stroke), Morgan Haisman ’23 (7), Theo Deinard ’23 (6), Pierce Lapham ’25 (5), Charles Richards ’23 (4), Teddy Pappas ’24 (3), Fred Chrysler ’24 (2), Zander Auth ’26 (bow).

Racing for the Prince Philip Challenge Trophy (this is just the second year of this event) began on Wednesday, June 28, but with Deerfield earning a bye, their first race came on Thursday, June 29, against St. Paul’s Girls’ School. A strong start saw Deerfield quickly take the lead, and they consistently rowed away from St. Paul’s. Video from this race can be seen here. This victory earned them a match-up with a strong crew from St. Catherine’s, the silver medalists from the Australian National Championships. The girls from St. Catherine’s burst off the line and took a lead of nearly a length. However, the Deerfield crew stayed composed and focused, slowly working their way back to level and eventually into the lead. They crossed the line over a length in front, securing an incredible victory. A video of the race is available here.

On Saturday, July 1, the girls from Deerfield matched up with a talented crew from Winter Park, FL. This crew won the scholastic national championships in the US this spring and were the Henley runner-ups in the Prince Philip last year. After the opening strokes of the race, the two crews were even. Over the first several minutes, Winter Park and Deerfield continued to match each other stroke-for-stroke. Both boats remained composed and patient. Around halfway, Deerfield began to inch away from Winter Park, eventually establishing a lead of half a boat-length. They carried this margin into the race’s closing stages and were even able to extend it in the final minute, crossing the line a little more than a length ahead of Winter Park. You can re-watch the race here. Their win in the semi-final set-up a meeting with Greenwich Crew in Sunday’s final.  

On Sunday, July 2, Deerfield raced against Greenwich Crew in the final of the Prince Philip Challenge Trophy. Greenwich had placed 2nd at the USRowing Nationals in mid-June, but the girls from Deerfield were eager for another chance to race them. Following a great start, Deerfield established an advantage of several seats in the early going. They maintained this lead for the first couple of minutes, holding off several strong pushes from Greenwich. Crossing the halfway point in the race, Greenwich worked very hard to pull even with Deerfield. In the race’s second half, both teams pushed each other, neither conceding much. But Greenwich, with a strong closing 500m, pulled ahead from Deerfield, pushing out to a half-length lead by the finish. It was a commendable effort and race from both crews. Congratulations to Greenwich on winning the event and to the girls from Deerfield for bravely racing. A replay of the final is available here.

Prince Philip lineup was Emi Takegami ’25 (coxswain), Margot McAuliffe ’24 (stroke), Georgia Sackrey ’23 (7), Rachel Mark ’23 (6), Teagan Farley ’26 (5), Natalie Meyer ’23 (4), Jenny Jin ’24 (3), Tatum Lowe ’25 (2), Lillian Auth ’24 (bow).

The trip to Henley Royal Regatta for the boys and girls from Deerfield was memorable for everyone involved. The Academy is thankful to all those who supported this trip, including members of the school’s leadership and athletic department, the parents of the students involved, and the rowers and coxswains in the rowing program at Deerfield.