To Henley in Regatta Style

URI women's rowing team


In June, the URI women’s rowing team is making history by competing in England’s famed Henley Women’s Regatta. This is the first time a URI team will be part of the historic Henley tradition, and for the 20 team members and four coaches making the trip, it will be an experience of a lifetime.

“A trip like this showcases the opportunities rowing can bring to the kids on the team,” said URI Women’s Rowing Coach Shelagh Donohoe, who is a silver medal Olympian and her team’s inspiration. “This will be a worldly experience, both in terms of competition and culture.”

While the women’s rowing team trained hard for the race, URI’s Textile, Fashion Merchandising and Design students made sure the team would be dressed in proper Henley style.

Part of the culture at Henley revolves around fashion. So, while the women’s rowing team trained hard for the race, URI’s Textile, Fashion Merchandising and Design (TMD) students made sure the team would be dressed in proper Henley style. After researching the history, culture, and fashion of the regatta, students in Karl Aspelund’s Apparel Design class created blazers, shirts, skirts, and accessories—more than 17 outfits in all—for the team to choose from.

For the Henley, the team blazer is a focal point and the student designers recommended a navy “boyfriend” blazer style. The designs have been produced by fashion giant Jones of New York, thanks to alumnus Wes Card ’70, CEO and Director of The Jones Group, Inc.

“There will be teams at the Henley that have had their outfits designed by large companies,” Donohoe said. “We’re proud that we’ll be wearing the designs of our own URI students. They did an outstanding job, and knowing Jones of New York is producing the clothing says a lot about the work of the students.”

Depending on how the rowing team performs, it will either advance to compete at the world-famous Royal Henley Regatta, which has been held annually since 1839 (except during World War I and II), or it will go on to compete at the Marlow Regatta at Eton Dorney. The Marlow will be held on the same course as this year’s Summer Olympics.

Either way, for the team, the coaches, the student designers, and a proud URI community back home, it will be an event to celebrate and a race to remember.