HENLEY-ON-THAMES, ENGLAND - Ellie Smith '11, a former captain of the Brown women's crew team, achieved something on Sunday that no other member of the women's team has been able to accomplish – she won a title at the prestigious Henley Royal Regatta. Held in Henley-on-Tames, England for the 164th year, the competition began on Wednesday, July 3 and concluded on Sunday, July 7. Some of the most competitive international crews travel to England for the one-mile, head-to-head knockout regatta, making the storied event one of the most competitive and exciting on the rowing calendar.
Representing the Imperial College London Boat Club, where she just finished her first year of medical school, Smith competed in the Prince Albert Challenge Cup, a coxed-four event that is limited to students. Smith coxed Benjamin Spencer-Jones, Henry Goodier, Timothy Richards and Jonathan Rankin to wins over Bath, a second team from Imperial and Durham, battling against some of the best boats in the country to earn a spot in the final. Racing against a squad from Oxford, the Imperial crew won by three boat lengths to earn the school's first cup since 2006.
"It was incredible to win," Smith told Imperial's Lucy Handford. "I've heard about Henley for so long and having raced for ten years, to finally compete and win here is a dream come true."
Smith is the true embodiment of a Brown student-athlete, as she furthers her education while continuing an accomplished rowing career. While with the Bears, she helped the team to NCAA championship titles in 2008 and 2011 and the Ivy League/Eastern Sprints title in 2008. An excellent coxswain, she won the gold medal in the Second Varsity Eight at the NCAA Championships in 2010, as well as Ivy League/Eastern Sprints titles in the Freshmen Eight (2008) and Second Varsity Eight (2010). She also led her crew to a second place finish in the Varsity Eight at the 2011 National Championships, helping Brown clinch its seventh team title.