St. Joseph's Prep won its opening race Wednesday at the Henley Royal Regatta in Henley-on-Thames, England, defeating Canford School, of Oxford, England, by 13/4 lengths.

The Hawks' eight with coxswain rowed the 2,112-meter course in 7 minutes, 2 seconds. The Prep will face Hampton School, of Middlesex, England, on Thursday in the second round of the Princess Elizabeth Challenge Cup.

St. Joseph's Prep is the only Philadelphia-area school competing in the famed regatta.

Dan Kilpatrick, Prep assistant coach, said that the Hawks encountered "some unexpected chatter" from Canford fans at the starting line.

"Unfazed, the boys got off to a relaxed start and settled in to a relatively comfortable rating of 331/2 strokes per minute," Kilpatrick said.

The Prep team includes seniors Brendan Courtney, Colin Kane, Steve Lezynski, and Pat McGlone; and juniors Dean Hill, Carter Law, John McGrorty, Zac Munsell, and Lou Lombardi, the coxswain.

All 32 boats in the Princess Elizabeth Challenge Cup rowed Wednesday, and the bracket is run in a one-and-done style similar to the NCAA basketball tournament. To win the Cup, a crew must win five races on consecutive days, ending with the final on Sunday.

St. Joseph's Prep is one of three U.S. teams in the Princess Elizabeth, joining Kent and Salisbury, both from Connecticut. All three advanced to the round of 16.

The Hawks' eight with coxswain is competing at Henley for the 10th time since 1980. If they win Thursday, the Hawks would reach the quarterfinals for the 10th time. They won the championship in 2000.