Metropolitan Regatta to move to Eton

The Rowing Service

Press release January 2001

MET moves to Eton

The first major open regatta at the new Eton College Rowing Course will be the 134-year old Metropolitan Amateur Regatta (the MET to all rowers). The Dorney Lake Trust, which runs the newly constructed course near Eton, has accepted a proposal from the MET organisers, London Rowing Club, to hold a two-day regatta with a packed programme of events for all categories of men's, women's and junior rowing on 26 and 27 May, 2001.

The new multi-lane rowing course - created from gravel excavations - in a pleasant Thames-side setting at Dorney has already been christened in a spectacular manner with the Super Sprint Regatta organised by Steve Redgrave for top internationals in pairs and sculls. But the returning Olympians would be the first to acknowledge that their recent successes owe much to many years of lively grass-roots competition in weekly regattas up and down the country. At Dorney, the MET will be offering racing for a vast number of up-and-coming athletes in the full range of boats from eights to sculls. An eight-lane course will provide exciting racing over 1000 metres while the top class crews in championship events will row over a longer, four-lane course.

The MET, which was founded in 1866 by the eldest son of Charles Dickens and other prominent oarsmen at the home of rowing in Putney, has always made a point of trying to provide the best possible venue for competitors in the sport. Demand for multi-lane racing on a straight, still-water course led the Regatta to move from the Tideway at Putney to the first multi-lane course in southern England at Thorpe Park in 1980. In 1988 the Regatta moved to the more extensive course in the London Docklands. Now it is felt that the purpose-built and easily accessible course at Dorney, together with its splendid new boathouse, will be seen as an attractive venue both by competitors and spectators.

By progressive moves to provide the best possible racing conditions, the MET has been rewarded by a steady growth in the numbers taking part. In recent years entries rose from 300 to a peak of 645 crews with some 2000 individual competitors. The MET's specially developed computer program will be working hard at Dorney to schedule races at seven-minute intervals over two full days.

Rowing excellence and the historical traditions of the Metropolitan Amateur Regatta have found a worthy new setting against the backdrop of Windsor Castle.

Simon Rippon, (020) 8789 2159 or Nigel Smith, (020) 8870 1287.