Kingston Royals ladies paddle to victory in Great River Race


The team were crowned the fastest women’s crew, regaining the coveted Chas Newens Trophy, which they last won in 1997.


By Cyrus Engineer

The ladies of Kingston Royals Dragon Boating Club powered to victory last Saturday in The Great River Race.

London’s River Marathon is an annual event, a spectacular 21 mile boat race up the Thames that attracts crews from all over the world.

The team were crowned the fastest women’s crew, regaining the coveted Chas Newens Trophy, which they last won in 1997.

Having successfully put 4½ minutes of clear water between them and three time champions Outrigger Club UK, the Kingston Royals never looked back, finishing the race in an impressive 2 hours 30 minutes.

The ladies were competing in the club’s newest boat, Olympia, bought in spring and named in honour of the London 2012 Games.

Meanwhile the Kingston Royals Men’s crew finished third with an excellent time of 2 hours 19 minutes.

The men competed in the Griffin, which was the same boat the club used when participating in the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Pageant earlier in the summer.

Harriet Lambert, one of two strokes for the Kingston Royals Ladies crew and an experienced paddler, said: “This was the first time most of us had competed in this incredible race and we’re over the moon that our months of training have paid off.

“To say this challenge made quite a change to dragon boating’s usual sprint distances of 200m and 500m is an understatement but racing along the Thames through the heart of London was an amazing experience.”

Suzanne Seyghal, another member of the team and the club’s press officer, said: “The atmosphere was great.

“I was lucky in that I was also in the Jubilee Pageant earlier in the year.

“Obviously this time it was quite different as we were racing so there was less time to look around.

“We were really lucky we had some brilliant support.”

This included a partner of one of the team members cycling from bridge to bridge along the route so that he could shout encouragement.

When asked if the post-Olympic buzz and Team GB’s rowing successes added to the atmosphere, Ms Seyghal said: “everyone’s got excited about sport this year, it’s been an amazing summer of sport and with so much focused on London we’ve been really lucky.”

The Kingston Royals are always looking for new members so if you fancy trying out a new sport, get yourself down to the club for the next beginner session on Saturday 29 September at 8.30am.

Register your interest at, cost £3 per person.

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