Local girl, Brittany Cooper, recently travelled to London, England for two weeks to take part in the King’s Cup at the Henley Royal Regatta.

The Henley Royal Regatta is an international rowing competition that has been held annually since 1839. In 1919, after the First World War, the King’s Cup was introduced in the Regatta. The King’s Cup was a rowing race between military crews waiting to return home from war from the countries Australia, Canada, France, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Now, 100 years later, they have held the second ever King’s Cup involving the original six countries along with the Netherlands and Germany. Our very own prairie girl was given the chance of a lifetime to take part in this special event.

Brittany Cooper grew up on a farm outside of Major, Saskatchewan. After attending Lakeland College in Vermilion, Brittany moved to Kingston, Ontario to pursue her history degree at the Royal Military College of Canada. Throughout her high school years Brittany was involved in cadets, it was there she fell in love with the organization, discipline and drill of the military.

At the R.M.C. of Canada last summer, Brittany had gone to rowing tryouts after disliking other sports the college had offered. Rowing practices were early in the morning for two hours starting at 5 am, since she was used to early mornings as a farm kid Brittany thought she’d give rowing a shot.

Although she enjoyed the sport, it took her some convincing to join the team in competing at the King’s Cup. Due to conflict with her military training and schooling, Brittany’s coach had to push hard for her to get in the boat, and it was a good thing she did.

Brittany Cooper had a once in a lifetime experience as she travelled to England for two weeks to take part in the King's Cup Regatta.

Majority of the team had only been rowing since September, and although Canada put up a good fight in the competition, they ultimately lost out first round to the United States who ultimately won the competition.

Brittany said that although they lost it was still an experience of a lifetime, “It was fantastic, the commonwealth as a whole is a great place to be apart of. Germany, the Netherlands, and France, were amazing. Everybody was friends by then end of it. On the second night all the teams got together for a little party and everyone was so nice, it was great!”

She added that for the first time male and female military athletes rowed in the same boat at competition, “This year at the King’s Cup Regatta was the first time on an international scale men and women raced in the same boat. The King’s Cup pitch was that if females can fight on the front lines with our men why can’t they be in a boat with our men. We did just that, so every boat needed to have at least two females. It was fantastic!” Brittany also said that following the success of having mixed rowing teams that maybe more will be introduced in the future with college competitions and possibly the Olympics too.

Brittany said that racing in the King’s Cup Regatta was a once in a lifetime opportunity for herself and her team.