Henley Regatta boss expects special atmosphere for 2011

The Henley Royal Regatta 2010
More than 500 rowing crews from 20 countries compete in the regatta

Henley Royal Regatta chairman Mike Sweeney says there will be a special atmosphere at this year's event.

The regatta takes place from 29 June to 3 July and will be the last domestic competition before London 2012.

"Henley is so special and the great thing about here is the atmosphere," Sweeney told BBC Berkshire.

"It's almost like rowing inside a stadium, where the crowd are almost on the ends of their blades, it's just a tunnel of noise, it's amazing."

The Great British rowing squad will aim to qualify for London 2012 at the World Championships in Bled, Slovenia, on 28 August, and Sweeney is delighted that Henley will help Team GB prepare for the event.

"It is Olympic qualifying year so it's an incredibly important year for these rowers and they can secure their Olympic place when they race at the World Championships," he said.

"So getting planning right for this year is so important and it's so great they are making Henley part of that plan."