Last weekend saw MAA club member and women’s squad captain Jen Bailey make the final of Henley Women’s Regatta in her 1x . To understand quite what an impressive feat this was, below is a brief outline of Jen’s rowing career.

Jen came to MAA from Westminster University, where she had learned to row next door to us. As a former gymnast (she represented GB in a demonstration event in the Rio Olympics) she had many of the attributes that make for a very good rower, including strength, focus, determination and competitiveness.  She immediately set an example to the other squad girls of how to train and of the importance of core strength. She was also a great team player.

Jen raced in the club 8 in Val’s squad and then last year under James she raced in a 4x at Henley Women’s and the 8 at Henley Royal and then won England trials for Home Countries with Katy Brooks in a 2-. This year, with Katy having left for a career in the RAF, she decided to give single sculling a go.

Henley Women’s Regatta was only Jen’s fourth regatta in a single scull. She raced for Westminster Uni at the BUCS Regatta in 2021 (coming 5th in the B final) and then this year she raced the 1x at Poplar (where she won) and Metropolitan before finally confirming she would have a crack at Henley.

At Henley Women’s, after the qualifying time trail, Jen very comfortably beat scullers from Queen’s University Belfast in round one, CUWBC in the quarter finals and then Galway in the semi finals. All three of the quarters, semis and finals were raced on the same day this year – making for a tough assignment for Jen going into the final. This was against a sculler from City of Oxford who had twice raced in the finals of this event – and who held Jen off after taking her off the start on the favoured Berkshire station.

Jen subsequently learned that she had been the fastest qualifier in her event (they don’t release this until some days afterwards) – so she did have the boat speed to win the race, just not the experience of how to win a side by side race in a single scull.

Jen is such a great crew member that the next stage of her rowing career may lie in finding similar calibre crew mate(s). But if not that, or as well as, then a successful future surely awaits in the 1x.

We are very proud of all that Jen has achieved throughout her membership of MAABC and look forward to supporting her ongoing rowing career.