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Charlotte’s Final at Henley Women’s Regatta 2012

Charlotte Taylor at Henley Women's Regatta

Charlotte Taylor at Henley Women's Regatta

Charlotte Taylor showed that she is among the top lightweight female scullers in the country by reaching the final of Senior Lightweight Single Sculls, braving some horrible weather conditions at Henley Women’s Regatta.

Having impressed in a hastily arranged time trial, she dominated the quarter-final on Friday afternoon, then won a thrilling semi-final against regular rival Kate Evans of Llandaff before being unable to overcome Elizabeth Polgreen from Isle of Ely in the final.

Because of results earlier in the season, Charlotte had been seeded through the original draw but that was torn up when organisers decided a fast-flowing stream and strong headwind demanded a revised timetable, with a time trial to reduce the field to eight before head-to-head racing.

On informal timing, she was second-fastest in the 16-boat field, three seconds behind Polgreen, who was slower over the first half of the course.

All of the quarter-finals were won with an easily verdict, Charlotte beating Hannah Addley of Queen’s University, Belfast in 8’36. The wind was so strong on Friday afternoon that several singles races took over nine-and-a-half minutes to complete.

With the rearranged timetable, the scullers were given Saturday off, while larger boats raced in winds of up to 40mph.

On Sunday morning  Charlotte and Kate Evans met on a start line for the fifth time this season, with the scores level at 2-2 up to that point, and the two were level through the first 500m until Charlotte – who had endured some early wobbles in rough water – moved away through the enclosures to win by three-and-a-half lengths in 7’30.

The duo were watched at the finish by Sir Steve Redgrave and John Inverdale, anchoring the BBC’s World Cup coverage from the garden of Remenham Club.

The umpire’s launch was unable to keep pace with the finalists later in the day: a replacement had to be found and a re-start ordered after the propeller on the original broke and the umpire veered into Temple Island.

Elizabeth Polgreen, who finished fifth in Great Britain Under-23 trials in April, had the better of the start but Charlotte held her to a length until the enclosures, when she pushed on. Polgreen doubled her lead to four-and-a-half lengths in the final 500m, winning in 6’53.

Charlotte’s next event is the British Rowing Championships in Nottingham on 14 and 15 July.

Words by Martin Gough