TDArt 2021: The winners!

Here at TDR HQ we were literally HOWLING with laughter when we watched this wonderful entry from Jenny and Laurence of Kingston RC in the Performing Arts category, which is the runaway winner of TDArt 2021. Not only are we bowled over by their creativity and skill, we’re hugely touched by the huge vast amount of time and effort they clearly put into making this. We’re sure it will be a boost to the regatta-deprived rowing community everywhere, and suggest you watch it at least 3 times to get all of the clever details.

We’re really looking forward to their race entry at TDR 2022. Well, if Boris says we can start training for it with confidence, that must be true, right?

Entries are open for TDArt 2021

The original Olympic ideals of sport AND art

When Baron Coubertin devised the concept of the modern Olympic Games, his aim was ‘the improvement of the whole man’ (and, yes, competitors were pretty much only men at that time) – who had developed his mind as well as his body through art as well a sport. The first official Olympic Art competition was at the Stockholm Games in 1912, where gold medals were awarded in the five categories of architecture, painting, sculpture, literature and music.

The last Olympic art competition, at the London Games in 1948, didn’t attract many entries – not least because of a shortage of canvas and brushes in the UK after the Second World War.

About TDArt 2021

Thames Ditton Regatta is popular amongst competitors, officials and other volunteers for its riverside charm, friendliness towards less experienced competitors (e.g. the ‘sheepdog’ marshal below the start to help less experienced crews turn, umpires helping directionally-challenged coxless boats avoid crashing into cruisers moored on the island), and minor eccentricities including boating from a beach, free start, unbelievably cramped trailer access, and Maltesers being offered to all coaches who have done their substitutions and scratchings online in advance.

With racing not possible for a second year, we are offering this virtual art competition with the aim of keeping the flame of TDR love burning brightly until we can all meet again opposite Hampton Court. We’re looking primarily for creativity, humour and cuteness. High-quality technical execution is of secondary importance.


Performing Art: A video of a performance of an original dramatic, musical or literary piece (group performances must be from single households, year group bubbles or socially distanced groups observing government guidelines in force at the time) on the theme of ‘Thames Ditton Regatta’. Ideally no longer than 2 minutes.

Sculpture: A photograph of an original 3-D representation on the theme of ‘Thames Ditton Regatta’ in any medium, such as Plasticene (other modelling materials are also available), Lego (other building bricks are available but why bother?), cake or other food, ‘mise-en-scène’ of Sylvanian families, knitting, embroidery, cardboard boxes etc.

‘Fine’ Art: A photograph of an original 2-D drawing, painting, piece of pavement chalk art, crayon, decoupage etc on the theme of ‘Thames Ditton Regatta’.

Plate Competition: A photograph of a piece of sculpture or fine art (meeting the criteria above) on the theme of ‘Thames Ditton Regatta’ and presented on a plate (dinner plate or smaller).

How to enter

Photos of entries in the Sculpture, Fine Art and Plate events should be submitted by email to Performing Art videos can either be uploaded to YouTube, Vimeo or TikTok and the URL emailed to that address, or submitted direct using

For each entry state:

  1. The title of the work.
  2. Category entered (Performing, Fine, Sculpture, Plate).
  3. The first name/s or group name (e.g. Alice and George or ABC Rowing Club J15s) of the artist/s. Adults (aged 18 or over and not at school) may submit their surnames for publication with their entries (see Rule 2 below).
  4. Rowing club (if any – Independent entries also accepted).

Competitors can make any number of entries (including multiple entries in a single event). Each entry should be submitted separately.

Entries close at 10am on Sunday, 9 May 2021.

There are no entry fees.


  1. All entries must have been created in the past year.
  2. Photos and videos will be published on the TDR website and social media channels (and may be used on these again in the future), accompanied by the artist’s first name only (plus surname for adults only, if submitted) or group name.
  3. Anyone can enter (you don’t need to have competed at the regatta).
  4. The Entries Secretary reserves the right to refuse any entry.
  5. The judge’s decision is final.


TDArt 2021 will be judged by Tom Ransley MBE, gold medallist at the 2016 Olympic Games in the men’s eight and art historian, who won his first regatta pot at TDR in 2004.


A first prize will be awarded in all events with 2 or more entries, second prizes in events with 3 or more entries, and third prizes in events with 4 or more entries. Winners will be contacted for their addresses for prizes to be posted to them.

2021 regatta cancelled

Thames Ditton Regatta 2021 has been cancelled due to the Covid-19 situation.

Why in particular? As those who have raced at TDR know well, our site is extremely compact, which means it would be almost impossible to run an adequately socially-distanced event. In addition, as we are not a club event, TDR uses land and facilities which are not our own and to which we do not expect to have access to this year, a situation which we entirely understand.

Why decide so soon? Making this decision now gives local rowing clubs (who rely on income but have had to cancel their winter heads) time to explore options for running some type of head race, time trial or other similar event that day (15 May 2021) instead.

Information about such an event will be publicised by them if this proves possible, which is, of course, subject to Government and British Rowing decisions about the return to affiliated competitions.

We are really, really looking forward to seeing everyone again in 2022.


But… in the spirit of the art competition which formed part of the modern Olympic Games from 1912 to 1948, we will be running a ‘TD Art’ (or is that ‘TDRt?) festival in May 2021. Further details will be published here in due course, but entrants will be invited to submit photos or videos of TDR-themed art in any format. This could be painting, sculpture, a recording of performing art (a TDR song, perhaps, or a short sketch), pavement chalk, baking, knitting, Lego – or anything else. Start working on your inspiration now and watch this space!