The weather in London has been "un-Henley," Malvern Prep coach Craig Hoffman said. It was 74 degrees and sunny Tuesday, a welcome respite from what Hoffman had experienced before.
With the change in weather comes a change in Malvern Prep's team. The Friars enter the Henley Royal Regatta, which begins Wednesday, with a new varsity quad. The four senior rowers, all scholastic national champions, have never rowed as a unit.
The team was assembled after last month's U.S. Rowing Youth National Championships in California.
Jim Sincavage, the stroke, and Chris Frey, the third seat, won first place in the varsity heavyweight quad at the Scholastic National Championships in May. Sincavage is bound for Princeton, and Frey will go to Dartmouth. Jimmy McManus, the second seat, and J.P. Clark, the bow, paired to win the varsity heavyweight double at the scholastic championships. McManus is going to Cornell, and Clark is headed to Drexel.
"It's exciting," Hoffman said by phone from London. "We don't know how we'll do, but we're excited for that first boat race."
The team arrived in London on June 22 and rowed over the weekend in the Reading Town Regatta. It was a much shorter course than Henley, but it allowed Malvern to row in the head-to-head format it will compete in this week. The 2,112-meter Henley course is longer than any Malvern has rowed this spring.
The Friars race at 10:20 a.m. Wednesday in the first round of the Fawley Challenge Cup against the Windsor Boys' School. The winner advances to meet Northwich Rowing Club on Thursday. Hoffman said his team has blinders on and is focused just on Windsor.
"The advice I gave them is to take one part of the race at a time," said Hoffman. "There are lots of markers, and just take it one race at a time. When you're rowing down and there's hundreds of thousands of people down there, you have to focus between the boons and go fast."