Athlete of the Issue: Mike Brown ’16


Sarah Forbes

Mike on defense.

If you’ve spoken to anyone on the boy’s crew team, then you’ve definitely heard about their extended season. One of the most popular regattas in the world, the Henley Royal Regatta pulls competitive rowers from around the world to race at an elite level, and this summer, Groton’s boy’s crew team will be attending.
Located in the town of Henley (on-the-Thames), England, over 200 races will take place. Boats of the high school, college, and even Olympic level will be racing on the Thames River, fighting for a high title. Because of the great level of intensity, it is required that all teams apply to contend. With a strong record of 9-2-1 and good erg scores, the team was gunning for a spot, and, of course, were accepted.
In the past, Groton has been successful in the international regatta, even with high competition. The boys team themselves made it all the way to finals in 2000 and later in 2002 to semi-finals, both times racing as an eight. In addition, the girls crew team has twice won their league as a boat of eight, and once again as a four. Based on their early races and erg scores, attending the regatta came into consideration. Coach Anderson believed in the team’s record and upon asking the boys thoughts, “they were very interested.” His excitement, as with theirs, cannot be contained. Speaking on the annual race, he said, “it’s an incredible experience … and especially exciting if you’re a good team.”
Due to a requirement of all rowers being 18 years of age or younger, and the trouble of having all rowers available at the start of the summer, there is great difficulty surrounding gathering the team for the duration of the race. Coxswain of the first boat, Piper Higgins, said, “We were really lucky that all of us were eligible this year, the stars really aligned for us.”
Arriving on Thursday, June 9, with a quick day of practice upon arrival, the team will have its first race(s) that Saturday. There will be four regattas in all, each over a weekend, and practices planned for every weekday.  Once a week, the team will have a day off for rest and touring the nearby cities in England. In addition to their hotels, for three nights, they will be staying at a close British boarding school as well as practicing with their team.
The Henley Regatta itself is from June 29th to July 3rd, so most of the team will be flying home for the fourth of July, spending almost four weeks across the Atlantic. Dreaming about racing at Henley since her second form year, Piper is ecstatic about the upcoming trip. She has full confidence in the team, saying, “Of all the boats that I’ve seen here since 2014, this group of eight has been the most motivated to have speed, which has really fostered our success this season. That’s what rowing is about—trusting in each other to get across the finish line, and really believing that you can do it.”
This “once in a lifetime” experience that Piper, Coach Anderson, and other members of the team are gleaming about will be another great step forward for the strong program. With NEIRAs, the New England championships, around the corner, the team is in their final push of the season. That final race will begin practicing for Henley, where a high title would be an amazing accomplishment.
Throughout their time in England, the coaches and players plan on writing blurbs about daily practices, reports of the weekend races, and everything in between on an online blog. Be sure to catch up with the team’s hopeful successes! Good luck to everyone on the boy’s crew team, and congratulations on their attendance of Henley!