Blazers on, Crew team rolls forward

A Fords Four competes against EA on May 14, 2022- Courtesy of @EA1785_ROWING on Twitter

During the fall and spring months, Sixth Formers sporting colorful maroon and gold jackets can be spotted in the hallways of Wilson Hall. These blazers are the property of the crew team and are deemed the Henley Regatta Blazers.

“The blazers all revolve around the Henley Royal Regatta in England,” head crew coach Johnathan Stephanik said. “Each team that goes has almost a branding. Each jacket is a little bit different. The more the jacket stands out and is different, the more you will be remembered over there.” 

The Henley Royal Regatta is one of the largest races in the world. Held on the River Thames, it takes place over five days annually and sees thousands of spectators and both school and professional rowers. The Regatta is also part of something known as the English social season, a tradition that evolved in England during the early eighteenth century. 

The English social season is a posh couple of months in the spring and summer where people hold events like races and dinner parties. A strict dress code is enforced at many of these events, and The Henley Royal Regatta is no exception. 

“There are grounds at the Regatta where you need to make sure that you are dressed appropriately…You can’t wear tennis shoes. You have to be wearing a coat and tie with dress shoes and slacks.”

Coach Sepahnik

“There are grounds at the Regatta where you need to make sure that you are dressed appropriately,” Coach Stephanik said. “You can’t wear tennis shoes. You have to be wearing a coat and tie with dress shoes and slacks. 

“There is one rule about it: if you are wearing the blazer, you cannot wear shorts,” Stephanik stated. 

The blazer uses the traditional Haverford colors, maroon and vegas gold, along with a modified athletics logo. 

“It has a custom rowing logo for the Henley specifically just to differentiate things,” Coach Stephanik said. “The lining is also custom with our oars. There are the original oars from the 50s with a single blade, and the more recent blades with the hatchet shape and the H on it.”

The blazer was first designed in 2017, as this was the first year that Haverford returned to the regatta in over 20 years. 

“The goal is to go back to England every three-to-five years,” Coach Stephanik said. “We were supposed to go last year but the pandemic ruined our plans.” 

In the fall season, Sixth Form rowers had the privilege to wear the blazers, and in the spring season, the two varsity boats—the varsity quad and the varsity four—get to wear the blazers. 

“Instead of guys getting to buy and keep the blazer, we went with the English tradition where the boats would pass down the blazer year to year,” Coach Stephanik said. 

“I hope that there is some sort of pride in wearing the blazers and that it helps our team members stand out,” Stephanik said. 

This attitude towards the blazer is echoed by members of the varsity boats. 

“Personally, wearing the blazer is special because we’re continuing a tradition that’s been around long before our year and will be around long after we graduate,” Sixth Former and varsity quad member Wells Benson said. 

Sixth Former Wyatt Johnson, also a member of the varsity quad, echoed this sentiment. 

“I take tremendous pride in wearing the Henley blazer,” Johnson said. “It’s a unique tradition to be a part of.”

Although the season is coming to a close, there are still a few major races left for the crew team. The Stotesbury Cup Regatta, the rescheduled City Championships, and, for the boats that qualify, Nationals are near. 

“It has been a fun season so far and we look to continue our success in the most important races of the season through the end of spring.”

Wyatt Johnson ’22

“It has been a fun season so far and we look to continue our success in the most important races of the season through the end of Spring,” Johnson said.

 “I’m really looking forward to these upcoming races because it’s everything we’ve worked for the past four years of rowing,” Benson said. “It’s our chance to leave a lasting impact on the team and really become champions.”

Author: Ethan Lee '24

Ethan Lee is a Managing Editor for The Index, a position he took in May 2022. He has previously edited the News section of The Index. When not writing, Ethan can be found on the squash court or in a crew boat, or working on an art project.