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Women’s double triumphs at Henley Masters Regatta 2019

Bridget Snaith and Nicole Cooke staged a ‘return of the Lea weasels’ at Henley Masters Regatta, and achieved something remarkable, in their first outing together since August 2018. Their Lea weasels team raced the 2018 summer season over 2k, aiming for, and achieving Gold, and the fastest time for their Masters C category, at the European Masters Championships in Munich over 1000m in 3.57.

At Henley Masters, racing Masters B, the double won by 2 lengths in a challenging first round against the well respected Quintin Masters B double, pleased with posting 3.54. In the other side of the draw, Sarasota from Florida posted 3.57 for their easily verdict win. Game on. After semi-final wins on both sides, Sarasota and Lea/Uster Weasels met in Saturdays final. The Weasels made the most of the slight stream advantage on the Berkshire station, taking an early lead from a blistering start at over rate 40, settling to 34 and stretching out to perhaps a length by the barrier, but Sarasota pushed back, and never lost touch. Planned pushes from the Lea saw them retaining their lead, through the 500m mark but as they reached the end of the enclosures with Sarasota closing to half a length, Bridget asked for and got, an unplanned ‘up two’ raising the rate to 36 with around 350 m to go, and pulling out to a length lead again at a crucial moment. As the stream advantage changed to Bucks in the last 250, Bridget and Nicole continued to raise the rate to 37, then to 38. Sarasota closed down, but ultimately didn’t have enough a win, and the Weasels crossed ahead by a canvas, the winning time a record equalling 3.45.

But this huge step up in performance from last year isn’t all. As it turns out while the Weasels were winning in Munich, Sarasota were winning the US Masters, and then the World Masters (held in the US in 2018) in their 2x in both Masters B and Masters C. With the winning Masters C 2x time at Henley Masters being 3.48, it’s possible that Bridget and Nicole are currently the fastest W Masters C 2x in the world!

Bridget Snaith

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