A Saga of a Philadelphia Rowing Club
PROLOGUE Situated along the riparian banks of the Schuylkill River below the Art Museum and the Waterworks, and nestled at the foot of Lemon Hill along Kelly Drive, are the Boat Clubs of the Schuylkill Navy, familiarly known as “Boathouse Row”. Philadelphia and rowing have been inextricable linked for over a century and a half. This unique relationship of a city to its river and Boathouse Row has produced a saga of unequaled World and National championships.
THE HISTORICAL BACKGROUND England’s Charles II gave a grant of 45,000 square miles in the new World to William Penn to pay off loans made by Penn’s father to the King. Penn called the grant Pennsylvania which was occupied by the Lenni Lenape Indians, and trading posts run by the Dutch, Swedes and Fins. He sold land parcels to the Quakers and other dissenters in an brilliant marketing plan, promising them religious freedom. In 1681, in an area covered by the “Governor’s Woods.” Penn chartered the “greene Country Towne” and called it Philadelphia. This location was the closest in Pennsylvania to the ocean and had abundant water power at the fall line, a border between the granite hills of the Piedmont plateau and the sandy coastal plains. As shown on the early “Scull and Heap” Map of 1752, a grid plan was adopted between the Delaware and Schuylkill Rivers, with lots sufficiently large to prevent the spread of fire.
THE SCHUYLKILL RIVER’S name is Dutch for hidden river, and is an appropriate description of the river in early times. The Schuylkill River was used as a highway to the interior of the state, and a location to swim, fish, ice skate, and perform occasional Baptisms, singing The Schuylkill Hymn: “Jesus Master O discover, Pleasure in us, now we stand, On the bank of Schuylkill River, to obey thy great command…”
The banks were heavily foliage up to the Laurel Hill and there were no road of any kind along the east shore up to East Falls at Midvale, Promontory Rock at Girard Ave blocking access along the river edge, and only short sections of paths on the west side near Columbia bridge. But for the occasional canal boat drawn by teams of mules with faintly tinkling bells, there was little to break the solitude of the River.
THE REVOLUTION After Washington’s defeat in August 1777 at Brandywine Creek, Anthony Wayne’s encampment was overrun in the “Paole Massacre”. Gen. Washington withdrew to Valley Forge to protect his supplies at Reading and the Colonial government in exile at Lancaster. British General Howe occupied Germantown. The War was bought to the Schuylkill when a failed attempt by the Americans to take Gen. Howe’s headquarters in Germantown resulted in a skirmish at a British outpost near the mouth of the Wissahickon Creek. However, the determination of the American attack impressed Howe to the extent that he withdrew his army to Philadelphia. The British laid siege to Fort Mifflin for over a month to open up the Delaware River, then built a line of ten stone fortresses to protect their northern flank along what is now Fairmount Avenue, from the Delaware River to a redoubt atop Fair Mount. These forts were garrisoned by Hessian mercenary troops.
After the French alliance with the rebels in 1778, the British withdrew to New York. General Benedict Arnold was placed in charge of the City. His Tory sympathy led to a “prosecution” by the Supreme Executive Council, and Arnold withdrew, defected, and made a proposal to the British for the surrender of West Point. While still in town, a engagement party for his fiance Peggy Chippen was held at Mt Pleasant, just north of Fairmount. After the British withdrawal, much physical refurbishing and rebuilding was necessary due to British destruction, such as the burning of “Somerton” mansion, the home of Charles Thomson, Secretary to the Continental Congress. The Federal period ended in Philadelphia with the move of government it Washington in 1800. Philadelphia at this time was the largest city in the US, and considered a pleasant place to live. However, the Government’s embargo against France in 1808 and the British blockade of the war of 1812 crushed commerce in the City, and turned the city’s energy to the industrial revolution.
EARLY INDUSTRY From the city’s infancy there had been ferries across the river. From the time of the Revolution two floating bridges crossed the Schuylkill, and were often swept away in freshets. In 1800, a 552 foot long wood covered bridge crossed at Market St. In 1806 the first suspension bridge in the US was built at the Falls of Schuylkill. In 1810, a 340 foot covered bridge was built at Upper Ferry.
In 1807, Robert Kennedy, a tavern keeper at the Falls of Schuylkill near Midvale Av. bought the waterpower rights, and sold the rights in 1809 to Josiah White who built a rolling mill and wire factory. He later used bituminous coal from Virginia, but became interested in the cheaper anthracite coals from upstate Pennsylvania, which was abundant but no one yet knew how to properly use. After experiments proved fruitless, a large amount were left in a closed furnace to burn off. On returning it was found that the furnace was red hot, and could roll three times the amount of iron than the other coal could. This accidental discovery was the first industrial use of this very efficient fuel. White then formed the Schuylkill Navigation Company to bring the coal from Carbon County down the Schuylkill to Philadelphia. This helped transformed the city from a wood burning commercial center to a industrial center.
When completed in 1825, the canal measured 108 miles from East Falls to Reading, fifty eight miles of canals, fifty miles of pools, 129 locks, thirty four dams, one tunnel, 385 long, and a rise of 610 feet. The Lehigh Canal connected it to the railhead of the nine mile gravity railroad which took the coal from the mine at Summit Hill to Mauch Chunk, now called Jim Thorpe. Single horse barges took four days for a trip down river. The system was later purchased by the Philadelphia and Reading Railroad. A wharf had been constructed along the river front where the boathouses are now located. These fell into decay, and a line of submerged pilings presented a hazard to early boating.
The Schuylkill Canal system caused the river from Fair Mount south to develop into an industrial area with a series of docks and piers, rolling mills, manufacturing plants and taverns, and a solid mass of wharves from which coastal ships distributed the coals along the Alantic seaboard. Robert Morris started a canal along Vine Street to connect the Delaware and Schuylkill Rivers, but never completed it. The Columbia railroad bridge tracks now run in the canal trench under Pennsylvania Av. There were numerous ice houses on both banks up to Columbia bridge. Kern Ice House was located just upriver of the boathouses and Lips Brewery was situated on the west bank across from boathouse row. There was a passenger ferry service in the late 19th century from the Water works area, stopping at the goose pens area, Robin Hood Dell, East Falls and the Wissahickon.
THE WATERWORKS In 1793, a devastating yellow fever epidemic, caused by mosquitoes breeding in rain barrels, motivated the city to develop the first Municipal Water works in the country in 1805. Benjamin Latrobe planned, Nicholas Roosevelt built pumps, and Frederick Graff was chief engineer for this project. Initially water was taken directly from the river and pumped by steam engines housed in the still existent Graff Mansion, to a reservoir atop Fair Mount, the present site of the Art Museum, and gravity fed to a pump station at Center Square, where City Hall is now located. The steam engines proved expensive and dangerous, so in 1822, the City built a dam across the river to power water wheels. The dam was laid out diagonally across the river in order to direct destructive currents away from the waterworks mill house. The five acre site surrounding the waterworks was landscaped as a public garden, making it the earliest municipal park in the US, and the genesis of Fairmount Park.
THE WEST SIDE ESTATES After the outbreak of the Revolution, William Penn’s son John purchased a estate on the west side of the Schuylkill, and built the “Solitude”, which is now the office for the Zoo. John Bartram, a world renowned botanist, built his home and gardens on the lower Schuylkill in 1758. The grandson of Andrew Hamilton built the Woodlands Mansion in the Federal style near the University of Pennsylvania. Solitude at the Zoo, Beveridge, Egglesfield (both of which no longer exist), Ormiston, Belmont, Greendland, Chamounix and Lansdowne in West park were other prominent estates on the west side of the Schuylkill.
THE EAST SIDE ESTATES Fair Mount was originally proposed as an estate for William Penn, but instead he located his mansion at Pennsgrove, Pennsylvania. The area to the east of Fair Mount was known as Bush Hill, near 18th and Spring Garden St, and Springeles Berry Manor just to the North. Stephen Girard, probably the wealthiest man in the U.S., left his estate to the city of Philadelphia for Girard College. Mount Pleasant, Ormiston, Laurel Hill, Woodford and Strawberry Mansion were later acquired to complete East Park to the Wissahickon.
LEMON HILL By 1770, Robert Morris, a prominent merchant and superintendent of finance to the Colonial Government, acquired parcels of land along the Schuylkill, and started a working farm known as the “Hills”, which includes the grounds now occupied by Boathouse Row. By 1800, Morris and Girard, along with Thomas Fitzsimons, Thomas McKean, Israel Israel, Dr. Benjamin Rush, and others, tried to regain the political power lost by the upper class in 1776. After their political defeat with the adoption of the Constitution, and the financial crises in 1810, and finding himself financially overextended, Morris was forced to sell his holding and was imprisoned for debt. Public outrage over his imprisonment led to the nation’s first bankruptcy laws. Part of Morris’s estate was sold to Henry Pratt, who built the present mansion called “Lemon Hill” in Neoclassical style. The area was developed into attractive gardens, called Pratt Gardens, and open “freely to the public”. Lemon Hill was next owned by Issic Loyd. In 1844 the city purchased Lemon Hill from the Bank of the U.S. for $75,000.
SEDGLEY ESTATE The adjoining upriver Sedgley estate was built in 1799 and was owned first by William Cramond and later by Benjamin Latrobe, the first water works engineer. The city acquired the Sedgley Estate as a gift in 1854. The Sedgley estate was considered the earliest American Home designed in the Gothic style. It was demolished in 1857. For eleven years the Sedgley property was leased to William H. Kern, the sheriff of Philadelphia, who ran a popular beer garden, which probably accounts for the attraction of this site for the boatclubs. Both Pratt and Kern allowed several boathouses to erect small wood boatsheds along the river front.
THE CITY TAKES CONTROL Both estates were acquired by the City to prevent further commercial development and protect the purity of the water used in the waterworks. The outlying neighborhood, called Northern Liberties, was incorporated into the city with the Act of Consolidation adopted in 1854. An City Ordinance of Sept. 15, 1855 set aside 45 acres between Lemon Hill and the water works as a commons to be held in trust for the “Citizens of Philadelphia”. This resulted in the city’s direct management of the site, and the city started landscaping these estates as an extension of Fair Mount. The existing boatsheds were condemned by City Ordinance of 1859, but a subsequent ordinance of 1860 allowed three clubs, Bachelors, Pacific (now Fairmount R.A.) and the Skating and Humane Society (now Philadelphia Girls RC.) to “hold, occupy and enjoy the use of the ground upon which the Clubs stand within the limits of Fairmount Park.” This agreement was later extended to other clubs.
THE FAIRMOUNT PARK COMMISSION When the Fairmount Park Commission was formed in 1867, a committee comprised of Frederick Graff, the waterworks engineer, and Strickland Kness issued a report again calling for the removal of the boatclubs, but pressure bought to bear upon Council by the various boatclubs and the Schuylkill Navy resulted in an Ordinance of 1878 which allowed them to remain, providing they built houses in the approved Victorian Gothic style. In 1898 the Fairmount Park trolley system was established and the Strawberry trolley bridge built across the river race course.
DREDGING THE RIVER The history of the rowing on the Schuylkill River would not be complete without telling the story of the battle with the silt. Upstate hydraulic mining culm washing down along with soil runoff gradually filled the river bottom. The Park Commission maintained a dredge to keep this silting under control. In spite of their efforts, certain areas periodically filled up to the point where boats literally became stuck in the mud. Directly in front of Boathouse Row, the water eddied and flowed upstream, depositing silt until an island built up the full length of Boathouse Row. University of Pennsylvania coach Rusty Callow said the river was “much too thick to drink, much too thin to plow.” Finally in 1953-54, under the State’s Clean Streams program, the river was given a complete dredging from Norristown to the Fairmount Dam. The dredged material was pumped to a southwest Philadelphia landfill for the Eastwick housing area. In 1986, a proposal to obtain Federal funds to have the Army Engineers dredge the basin was started. However changes in Federal recreational dredging regulations put this project on hold until the necessary political support can be mustered. In 1990, a small dredging project was initiated by Jack Galloway for clearing the channel in front of Boathouse Row. In 1996, Bill Mifflin, the Director of Fairmount Park, petitioned Congressman Borski to sponsor a bill making the Army Corps of Engineers responsible for maintaining the river. The bill was passed and signed into law by President Clinton.
ROWING ON THE SCHUYLKILL had historical roots dating back to 1732, when two social clubs called “Colony in Schuylkill” and “Fort St. David” maintained a fleet of boats for fishing and recreation (A monument marks their location at Sweetbrier cutoff and West River Drive). In subsequent years the owners of the large estates along the Schuylkill maintained rowing boats for transportation and amusement. The water works dam dramatically altered the river from a tidal stream to a long fresh water lake which drowned the cataract known as the Falls of Schuylkill near Midvale Av. and Kelly Drive. This new character of the river provided a relative flat calm surface which became one of the finest location available for rowing in the country. Much of the history of U.S. sculling has been established on this ideal stream whose gentle current did not, under ordinary conditions, affect the outcome of the race.
THE BOATS Rowing is one of man’s oldest transportation activities using mechanical devices. By 3,000 B.C., Phoenicians and Egyptians had large trading ships propelled by oars. The ancient Greeks produced triremes war ships with up to 200 oarsmen. Greek oarsmen were freemen, but Romans and other North African nations used chained slaves pulling oars. Rowing got its name from the rows of oars placed one above the other in galleys. The Romans, Carthaginians, Venetian and Knights of Malta all had extensive fleets of rowing galleys. The Vikings were the scourge of Northern Europe with their feared dragon longboats. The first recorded competitive regatta occurred in Venice in 1315. Early racing boats were descended from the English Thames River clinker built boats, and the New York Whitehall skiffs, named for Whitehall St. at the Battery. These boats were often involved in betting races. The first four oared boat race took place in 1811 between the Invincible and Knickerbocker boats in Manhattan.
Riggers, first used at bow and stern to compensate for the narrowing of the boats and to increase leverage were developed by Anthony Brown in England around 1828. This allowed the boats to be narrow, the rowers placed directly over the keel, and the boat weight decreased. The first keelless boats and spoon shaped oars were built by Henry Clasper of Oxford in 1848.
The swivel oarlock was invented by Mitchel Davis of Yale, and the slide with wheels have been variously attributed to Dr. Schiller of Berlin, the Canadian Ed Hanlin, and Capt. John Babcock, the first President of the NAAO. They were first used in a crew boat in 1870. Walter Brown of England first raced a sliding seat single in 1861. Before that time the same effect was accomplished by sluicing the seat with grease and sliding on leather bottom trousers. Some early Schuylkill boats had staggered rowing seats with wicker ladies seats alongside the rowers. Up to this time the largest sweep racing shell were six men boats without coxswains (although there were 10 and 12 person shells built in England.) The last six oared barge race recorded in Philadelphia was in 1884.
Wood boats were the norm, although pressed paper boats were made in the 1870′s, and aluminum boats in the 1920′s. George Pocock, the son of the Eton School boatbuilder, immigrated to Seattle and produced the state of the art wood shells from 1920 to 1960, and became known as the father of American rowing. Graeme King, Hugh Hudson, and Ron Owen still carry on the tradition of building wood singles.
In the Scientific American magazine for Sept. 1927, a U.S. Naval Academy test tank study of shell hull speeds that was published, basically determined resistance increases four times as speed doubles and the power required increases eight time. Compost carbon fiber, Kevlar and epoxy resins boats developed rapidly in the 1970′s, and minimum weight requirements were introduced by FISA to control the spiraling cost of the lightweight shells. The new Resolute Shells can cost in excess of $30,000. FISA will require all 8s to be sectional starting in the 2000 Olympics in order to reduce cost of shipping.
TRAINING Among the factors which determine the rate which allows a crew to go at the fastest speed possible, physical conditioning appears to be the most important. One of the first scientific studies of rowers training and equipment was made by Prof. Yendall Henderson at Yale and published in the “American Journal of Physiology”. A British study of oarsmen published by the University of Durham Philosophical Society in 1926, they found oxygen consumption increased with an increasing stroke rate, and power increased at a decreasing rate because of the buildup of lactic acid, causing fatigue. Therefore if the rower is sufficiently conditioned, the higher stroke rate will correspond to a increase in power, and a higher speed realized. Also, Prof. Coleman Griffith of the University of Illinois published “the Psychology of Athletes and of Coaching” that reinforced the dictum “We learn by doing, and we set habit by repetition”.
TECHNIQUE By the turn of the century, rowing style became a center of great controversy. The traditional English orthodox style featured a long straight-backed body swing. In this conventional theory, a boat pulling together and recovering uniformly, the shell moves faster and farther between strokes than it does while the oars are in the water, thus a crew which can control its movement has a good chance of winning. George Pocock’s adage that “oarsmen must row with the boat” meaning they must not row faster than the boat is going otherwise they will rush their slides to attain a higher stroke, and therefore checking and reducing the run of the boat.
In the U.S. the American Conibear style stroke was developed. This required a hard quick catch, with shoulders and body vertical within 2 to 3 inches after the catch, a quick zip out of the bow with the arms at the finish, fast first part of the slide slowing at the last moment the recovery. This style was promoted by Ulbrickson at Washington, Ky Ebright at California, James Ten Eyck at Syracuse, Norm Sonju at Wisconsin, Pop Courtney and Stork Sanford at Cornell, Joe Burke at Penn, Ed Leader and Rusty Callow at Washington,Penn, and Navy, all of whom learned from Conibear at the University of Washington. Steve Fairbairn’s adage that mileage wins races was a precursor of year-round on water training.
Beginnings of the Clubs return to top
THE RACE Rowing is considered the oldest organized sport in the world. The Egyptian Pharaoh Amenophis II tomb’s inscription shows him rowing circa 1430 B.C. Oared barges raced on the Nile as early as 2500 B.C.. In the 5th book of Annelid, the Roman author Vigil described a rowing race. Greek and Roman warships had over 50 oars. Rowing competition in England dates from the reign of Henry VII (1509-1547). The Thames professional watermen were licensed by the Crown in 1555 and regulated by the Weatherman’s Hall at Billingsgate fish market. Apprentices assigned to master waterman could take a exam after two years, and become a Freeman of the Thames after seven years. In 1714, Thomas Doggett, a famous Irish actor, founded the Doggett Coat and Badge boatrace for professional bargemen held over 4 miles on the Thames.
From the professional ranks, racing spread to the universities and clubs. Eton School began rowing in 1793. In 1778 the first 8 race took place in London. Naval officers returning to college from the Nepolianic war continued races as they did in the Brest Blockade fleet in ship boats called “coques”. Oxford established rowing in 1822, Cambridge in 1827, and first raced each other in 1829. The English Henley Royal Regatta started in 1839. The first International Regatta took place in 1825 between England’s Thames watermen and the New York rowers in the American Star. The first International Amateur race took place in 1858 between England and France. The first keelless outrigger eights were raced in 1852.
The first organized boat races in the U.S. took place in New York in the mid 1700s by professional bargemen. Amateur boatclubs were formed in Boston, New York, and Philadelphia in the 1830s. University of Pennsylvania (then known as The College, Academy and Educational Trust) rowing history dates back to 1760, when a challenge was issued to New York to a 6 mile race. The first organized regatta sponsored by the Amateur Boatclub was held on the Schuylkill Nov 12, 1835, in which the Blue Devil club rowed its boat of that name, and seven eight oared barges took part. Another race took place between Devil and the Imp Barge club in 1839. The same year, two four withs rowed from New York to race on the Schuylkill. Some sources indicate that earlier contests had taken place between the University of Pennsylvania and the Atlanta Boat Club of New York City. Rowing started at Harvard and Yale in 1843 and 1844 respectively, they raced each other in 1852.
In 1859, the first Schuylkill Navy Regatta was held, and continued every year except during the Civil War Era. The first National Regatta was held in Philadelphia in Oct 9, 1873, with three events; single, double and fours. (It is believed to be the first U.S. Regatta where heats were required, and also the first time locally where an eight race was held, between Undine, Crescent, and West Philadelphia Boatclubs.)
The first international race was held in Philadelphia in conjunction with the Centennial Exhibition of 1876, when the Beaverwycks B.C. of N.Y. beat Yale and London B.C. in the fours. In 1877 the first student only race was held between University and College B.C. In 1879 the first Child’s Cup between Columbia, Princeton and the University of Pennsylvania was held. In 1859, a three day regatta featured the first single championship and was won by Max Schmitt, a friend of the painter Thomas Eakins. In 1872, the first pair race in the U.S. for a $2,000 purse, was rowed over a 5 mile course from the Columbia to Girard Av. Bridges and back. The famed professional oarsmen, John and Barney Biglin beat the challengers Coulter and Cavitt by nearly one minute, and were proclaimed World Champions. The first Dad Vail regatta was held in Philadelphia in 1934, and was won by Rutgers.
THE DISTANCE for boat races in Philadelphia from 1859 to 1869 was three miles, from Turtle Rock near the present lighthouse to the lower end of Peter’s Island and back. The course was later shortened to turn below the Columbia Railroad bridge. In 1866 the course was from William Tell Rock below Falls Bridge to Rockland at Columbia Bridge and back. In 1872 the course was reversed. In 1874 to 1895 the distance was 1 1/2 mile from Falls Bridge to Columbia. In 1896 the distance was 1 mile. From 1899-1910 the distance was again a mile and a half. In 1911 the National Course was established as one and a quarter mile. In 1937 the distance was 1 mile, after which it was maintained as a mile and 5/16. In 1964, 2000 meters became the standard distance.
THE PROFESSIONALS Early rowing races were often accompanied by heavy betting, and professional rowers began to dominate rowing much as they do today in other sports. (A 1874 poster in #4 boathouse Row advertised a first place prize of $4,000!) Rowing was threatened by gamblers who saw a rowing race as a sure bet if a little bribery was used to fix the outcome. For example, some Philadelphia amateur crews were reinforced by hiring shad-boat fishermen from the Kensington neighborhood known as Fishtown. By the 1890′s, professional rowing began to be eclipsed because of the introduction of bicycles and the growing popularity of baseball, football, and horse racing as spectator sports. Some of the professional rowers took to full time coaching of college crews, and was a significant factor in the development of American collegiate rowing. Some prominent professional rowers were James Hamill of Pittsburgh, the brothers Joshua, Henry, Gilbert and Ellis Ward, from Newborn N.Y., Fred Plastid, John and Bernard Biglin, Charles Courtney, Edward Hanlan, and Frenchy Johnson, an early black professional sculler.
THE AMATEURS Bill Curtis, considered the father of American athletics, and James Watson issued a booklet “What is an Amateur?” The success of this book laid the base for the acceptance of amateurism in sports. The Schuylkill Navy was organized in 1858 to eliminate gambling and its abuses and to promote amateurism on the river. The rules of the Schuylkill Navy expressly prohibited rowers from accepting any wagered money.
THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF AMATEUR OARSMEN In the first National Regatta in 1873 in Philadelphia, rejection of entries because of the Schuylkill Navy’s amateur rules underscored the necessity for a national organization to regulate the status of oarsmen. The Schuylkill Navy sent invitations to 350 boatclubs to attend a meeting to regulate the status of oarsmen. 100 replies were received and 22 clubs attended the meeting in New York, where the National Association of Amateur Oarsmen (NAAO) was formed, and the Schuylkill Navy’s amateur rules of rowing were adopted. The West Phila Boat Club’s delegate to the Convention presented the following resolution which was adopted August 28, 1872:
“That they will be considered professionals who, shall openly and publicly row any match race for money or who shall be announced as open to row any such match race with designated organizations, crews, or individuals in general terms waterman who have rowed for hire trainers, employees of boat builders, or in any way has ever at any period of his life taught or assisted in the formation of athletes exercises as a means of livelihood”.
Non-adherence led to expulsion from the NAAO and contributed to the extinction of professional rowing. In 1887, the Secretary of the Schuylkill Navy, W. T. Wallace, and the president of the New York Athletic Club met to adapt amateur rules of rowing to track and field. The Schuylkill Navy Commodore, Harry McMillan, was elected the first President of the Amatuer Athletic Association (AAU). Although amateur regattas had been held since 1837 in England, the Schuylkill Navy amateur rules spread worldwide and led to the renewal of the Olympic Games in 1896. England’s A.R.C. was founded in 1882. FISA was founded in 1893.
THE SCHUYLKILL NAVY was founded in 1858 by nine Philadelphia boatclubs. It is the oldest sports governing body in the US. The Navy’s restriction of contestants from remuneration contributed directly to clarifying the distinction between amateur and professional sports.
The Navy had participated in a number of municipal functions of outstanding importance. On November 11, 1872, fourteen boats from the Schuylkill Navy formed a rowing escort for the funeral solemnities of General George Mead, the victor at the battle of Gettysburg, to his burial site in Laurel Hill Cemetery. In 1876, in conjunction with the Centennial Exposition in West Park, the NAAO held the first International Regatta on the Schuylkill, and it was the largest regatta in the country up to that time. On April 27, 1878, at the request of the Commissioners of Fairmount Park, the Schuylkill Navy staged a rowing demonstration in honor of the President of the United States, Rutherford. B. Hayes. An open Regatta was held in 1882 in conjunction with the Bi-Centennial Celebration. An inter-city regatta was a feature of Founders Week Celebration in October 1908. A demonstration “The Schuylkill Navy on Parade” was held in conjunction with the Democratic National Convention in 1936. Early in the history of the Schuylkill Navy it was customary to hold in connection with the annual Regatta a rowing review. On these occasions all the clubs turned out in holiday attire, each club having their own distinctive uniforms, and executed complicated fleet maneuvers below Girard Avenue
THE PHILADELPHIA BOATCLUBS did not tolerate the elitism of their English counterparts, and artisans, laborers and gentlemen rowed together. The Club’s membership made expensive equipment available to those who could not afford them. Pleasure boating was a prominent feature of early Philadelphia boatclub activities, a favorite pastime being a leisurely row up the river, pausing for a refreshing plunge in the cool uncontaminated waters above Columbia, and then proceeding to Peters Island, or the mouth of the Wissahickon, or stopping at the Falls of Schuylkill near Midvale to patronize the well known resorts such as Bobby Arnold’s, Tissots, Smith’s Falls Hotel, Riverside, Strawberry, or Rialto House Tavern owned by Chris Dusch, for a dinner of fried catfish, waffles and mint juleps, with a romantic moonlight journey home. Bachelors and Undine had their own upriver clubs, to overcome the problem of lack space and privacy at the taverns.
The old Robert Morris hotel at Landing and Fairmount Av. was often used by the Boatclubs for their meetings. There was a short canal south of the Morris estate which led eastward to the Morris and Tasker Iron Foundry. In the shelter of this canal an old English sailor by the name of Charlie, had a boathouse and kept a score of row boats for hire, and a medium size sail boat. In 1881, George Popp’s maintained a floating boathouse. Mr. Thomas Willing maintained pleasure barges for recreation.
All the present boathouses were built to replace the original ramshackle boatsheds. The Philadelphia Girls Rowing Club is the oldest building, built as a Skating Club in Italianate style in 1860. Next, four early houses replaced structures with stone Victorian Gothic style buildings required by the Park Commission: Quaker City (#2), Bachelors (#6), (now replaced by a Mediterranean style building), College (#10), and Penn AC (#12). After this point the Park allowed other than Victorian style architecture.
The founding member clubs of the Schuylkill Navy were Chebutco, Camilla, Falcon, Independent, Keystone (all of who dissolved during the Civil War), Bachelors and Undine. Later to join were Union, American, Neptune, Nautilus (all which also dissolved during the war), Quaker City (absorbed by Fairmount in 1932), Amateurs (later absorbed by Bachelors), Pennsylvania (becoming the United Sates Rowing Society), Philadelphia (later absorbed by University). After the Civil War, Pacific, Washington, Iona, Alantic (all which later dissolved), Crescent and Malta joined. Keystone joined in 1870 and dissolved the next year. West Philadelphia Boat Club joined in 1875, their name changed to Penn AC in 1924.
Fairmount Rowing Association (#2 Boathouse Row) was organized in 1870, and procured the boathouse and equipment of the Pacific Boat Club in 1916. They later absorbed the Quaker Boat Club (#3) which was originally know as the Camilla Boat Club. The present Georgian Revival building was built in 1904, and is now connected to the Victorian Gothic Quaker house.
Fairmount had more entries in the Schuylkill Navy Regatta than any other clubs, with a total of 343 entries and 103 victories. They won the Caldwell trophy three times, 1940 to 43. Tom McDonough won the Championship Single belt in 1957-58. They also have over 50 National Championships . They won the cross country trophy 15 times, and the basketball championship 3 times. Teresa Bell was 2nd in the lightweight double in the 1996 Olympics.
Pennsylvania Barge Club (#4) was founded in 1861 and joined the Schuylkill Navy in 1865. The present building is modified Eastlake style architecture. Penn Barge had the four with in the 1920-24-28 (both fours) and the pair with in the 1932 Olympics. They won the Cross Country Run in 1901-02-09-14-15-19-21-24, and had 5 first places. Penn Barge had 359 entries and 106 victories in the Schuylkill Navy races. Hugh Sharp won the cross country race in 1946, and Penn Barge won the Basketball league in 1926. After WW II, the club was not able to rebuild its membership lost to the service. The building became United States Rowing Society headquarters in 1955.
Crescent Boat Club (#5) was organized in 1867, combining members of the Pickwick and Iona BC and occupied space in the Camilla BC. They joined the Schuylkill Navy in 1916. Crescent had 257 entries and 62 victories in the Schuylkill navy races. Mike McCreeshwon the Championship single belt in 1942. They won the Cross Country Run in 1900-04-05, and 1941-42-47-48. Crescent won 3 team prizes and 5 individual prizes in the Cross Country Run. In basketball Crescent won 4 league championships. From 1951 to 1960 the club was known as the LaSalle Rowing Association.
Bachelor’s Barge Club (#6) founded in 1853 and joined the Schuylkill Navy in 1859. It is the oldest club in the US in existence today. Bachelors founders belonged to the Phoenix Fire Co. and carried over the fireman’s tradition of giving nick names to their members. They kept a four oared barge “Hesperus” at Charlie’s, until a lean-to boat shed was constructed in 1854 on a dock opposite the Fairmount Rolling Mills owned by Charles Smith. Their first boat was the six oared Tholepin barge named “Linda” built by Albertson & Sons for $175. A stone building was constructed in 1860, and the present Mediterranean style building in 1893. The upriver Buttons Club was built in 1882. In 1866, in a tragic collision with a canal barge, the Bachelor’s four “Echo” was sunk with the loss of Fred Goodwin. Bachelor’s first recorded race was in 1859 against Quaker City and Independence Barge, Bachelors won the 3 mile race with a turn in 22 minutes. Also this same year Bachelors rowed the ‘Linda” through the locks to the Delaware River to Trenton, through the Riratan canals to New York and raced the Atlanta Club of New York and returned by steamer. Bachelors had 283 entries and 78 victories in the Schuylkill Navy races. Bachelors also had the four with in the 1924 Olympics, the single in 1924-28 Olympics, and won the double in 1932 Olympics.
University Barge Club (#8) was founded in 1854 as a club for undergraduate Penn students, and is considered the earliest organized athletics program at Penn. It joined the Schuylkill Navy in 1858 as a founding member. Their first boat was the ‘Hesperus’ purchased from Bachelors, and housed at Sailor Charlie’s boathouse. This boat was lost during a dramatic rescue effort of Sailor Charlie’s sailboat which was swept over the dam. The stern post and rudder of “Hesperus” were preserved at the club. Their second boat was the “Lucifer”. Along with Undine Barge Club, University rented space from the Skaters and Humane Society, now the Philadelphia Girls Rowing Club. They built a semi-attached ‘Second Empire’ style boathouse in 1870 with the Philadelphia Boat Club (founded in 1862, formally the Panola Boat Club, and built on the former site of the Washington Boat Club). Almost all of the racing crew’s members entered the service during the Civil War, two falling in action, three wounded, and one held prisoner. University holds two Schuylkill Navy rowing records, and had141 entries and 47 victories in Schuylkill Navy races.
Malta Boat Club (#9) was formed in 1860 and was first housed on a barge on the Delaware River at Smith’s Island, before purchasing the Excelsior Club on boathouse row in 1863. They joined the Schuylkill Navy in 1865 In 1873 they erected a semi-attached ornamental Victorian Gothic house with Vesper BC. Later additions were in modified Eastlake style. Malta won the Cross Country Run in 1931-32, and had 12 first places. Malta had 431 entries and 107 victories in the Schuylkill Navy races. Harold Finigan Sr won the Championship single belt in 1943-46, and Frank Sheperdson in 1942-50. Malta holds 7 Schuylkill Navyrecords. Malta won the Cross Country race 20 times, and won the basketball league in 1927. Fred Duling Jr was in the lightweight pair at the worlds in 1996.
Vesper Boat Club (#10) was founded in 1865 and joined the Schuylkill Navy in 1870. Originally named the Washington Boat Club until 1870, and shared a house with the Philadelphia Barge Club. With Malta, they built a semi attached ornamental Victorian Gothic building. Vesper holds the record of 580 entries and 296 Schuylkill Navy Victories, and 8 rowing records, and won the Caldwell Trophy from 1946 to 1958. They have had four championship single belt winners, Jack Kelly, Jr. 9 times, Joe McIntyre twice, Charles McIntyre in 1949, and Bill Knecht in 1951. They won the eight in the 1900-04-64 Olympics, and the double and single in 1920, they had the single in three Olympics, 1948-52-56, and the pair with in 1948. They were second in the 1905 Royal Henley. Vespeer won the single and 8 in the 1955 Pan Am games. Vesper won 93 National Championships, and the Barnes trophy 7 times. In 1958 the Vesper 8 won the Nationals, Canadian and European Championships. Vesper won the basketball championship 11 times, 1945 to 51.
College Boat Club (#11) Penn students at University Barge founded College BC in 1872 shortly after Penn moved from center city to West Philadelphia. They joined the Schuylkill Navy in 1875. The original ornamental Victorian Gothic section was built in 1874 by unknown architects (although almost a duplicate of #12, West Phila BC which was designed by the Wilson Bros.), with utilitarian additions added in 1969, and 1980. College BC had 58 entries and 32 victories in the Schuylkill Navy races. In 1951 Penn won the Thames Cup at the Henley, and was undefeated and again won the Henley in 52. In 53 they were only defeated by Princeton, ending a streak of 23 consecutive victories. In 1955 Penn won the Grand Chalange Cup at Henley, and went on to win five races in Europe. Penn won the IRA in 1963.
Undine Barge Club (#13) was formed in 1856 and joined the Schuylkill Navy in 1858 as a founding member. Frank Furness and Evans designed the Club in 1882 which started a movement away from Gothic into more eclectic styles. Undine is named after the “Story of Undine” by Friedrich Baron de la Motte Fouque’ book about the spirit of the babbling brook . They first rented ground from William Kern, and erected a wood boathouse near a cove with good depth of water a few hundred feet down river from their present location. Their first boat was the four oared barge, ‘Fawn’, They sold this boatshed in 1860 for $10, and rented the Keystone Boat Club. Later they rented space in the Skating Club until 1882. The upriver “Castle Ringstetten” was built in 1876. Undine had the pair without in the 1932 Olympics, and the double in 1936. Undine had over 588 entries and 254 victories in the SN Regatta, Al Vogt won the championship belt in 1938-40, and Jim Barker in 1951.Undine holds 13 Schuylkill navy rowing records, won the Cross Country From in 1912-13-16-20-22-23-25-26-27-28-29-30-33, and finished first 4 times. Undine won over 91 National Championships, and won the Barnes Trophy 6 times.
Philadelphia Girls Rowing Club (#14) was organized in 1938 by Ernestine Bayer, and other rowing “widows”. The present stone Italianate building was constructed in 1860 as house for the combined Skating and Humane Societies which merged in 1861. The National Women’s Rowing Association (NWRA) was organized in 1966, and the first women’s Olympic rowing took place in 1976. PGRC has won many local and national titles.
The Sedgley Club (#15) was first organized as the Zlac Club, the first Womens rowing club. The present building was designed by Arthur H. Brockie using both elements of Colonial and Georgian revival, and was built around a decorative light house erected when the Park was formed in 1867.
The West Philadelphia Boat Club (#12), the predecessor of Penn AC, was founded in 1871 and incorporated in 1873. The first boat “Intrepid” was purchased from Crescent BC for $60. The second boat was purchased new and named “Minstrel”. The third boat was a 4 oared gig, and was ordered with sliding seats for an additional $10.
The original 60 by 16 foot boathouse was built for $290 on the west bank of the lower Schuylkill River between Grays Ferry and the Willows, near the Bergen phosphate factory. Swimming in the Schuylkill was an important activity to the early members. Minstrel plays and Drawing Room entertainment were sponsored by the Club.
In 1873, the University of Pennsylvania indicated their intention of building at the site of the West Philadelphia Boat Club, and the club appointed a committee to confer with the University (Rowing) Club to choose a new site for a building. The Club solicitor, Mr. Stuart, reported on the difficulty of obtaining loans or mortgages from building associations. A proposal to consolidate with the Woodland Boat Club was initially defeated because it entailed assuming all debts of the Woodland Club. At this time the West Philadelphia Boat Club prepared a charter of incorporation in the state of Pennsylvania, and they also joined the Schuylkill Navy. In a meeting of March 18, 1873 the consolidation with the Woodland BC was approved and their property purchased for $200, and their members joined West Philadelphia Boat Club. Mr. Julius Barnes, who later donated the Barnes Cup that is awarded to this day to the club accumulating the highest number of points at the national rowing championships, guaranteed the mortgage on the house.
A proposal was made to purchase ground from the Reading Canal Co. across from Boathouse Row, however this would have required a bridge over the canal and tow path. An alternative proposal to merge with the Pacific Boat Club fell through. In 1873 a subscription was raised with the help of the Richarson family, to build a handsome stone building at a cost of $12,000. This ornamental Victorian Gothic 1 1/2 story building built was built in 1878 and designed by the architectural firm of the Wilson Brothers, who also designed the Drexel Building and the Reading Terminal. (They also probably designed the neighboring College BC,) In 1873, the West Philadelphia Boat Club joined the Schuylkill Navy. In 1883 alterations were made to the boathouse to extend the river end to accommodate the new 8 oared shells. In 1968, a modern unsympathetic utilitarian ground level boat bay was added, and a second story locker room was added in 1981.
In the first recorded race, West Philadelphia Boat Club placed third in a four oared gig race in 1872. The first recorded victory was in the Schuylkill Navy Regatta of 1882, in the pair oared cup race. West Philadelphia Boat Club again won this cup in 1883-84-85 and 91 and also won the Double Shell race in a time of 10:28. West Phila BC had 127 entries and 26 Schuylkill Navy rowing victories. West Phila BC was 2nd in a 8 race in 1879. Bill Benerman won the Jr single in 1882. West Phila BC was 2nd in the pair without in 1882-83, and Bill Benerman and L. Cottingham were 3rd in the double. In 1884 J. Campbell won the Jr single, and Benerman and Carrigan won the pair without. In 1885 they again won the pair without and the Jr four was 4th. In 1886, Tom and Harry Hurley were 2nd in the double. In 1887 Cottingham and Adam were 2nd in the pair without, and Bill Benerman were 2nd in the Sr single. In 1890, West Phila was 2nd in the Jr four. In 1891 Fred Troy and Bill Meyers won the pair without. Bill Myers was 3rd in the Jr single in 1892, the Jr four was 3rd, and 5th in 1893, 4th in 1894, 2nd in 1895, 2nd in 1896, and A.C. Kapella was 3rd in the Jr single. W. Myers and Bill Blackburn won the doubles and 3rd in the Jr four in 1897. R. Lockwood and W. Purvivance won the Int double in 1899.
In 1900 the West Phila. Jr double was 3rd and the Jr 8 was 5th. In 1902 W. West won the Jr dash, and was 3rd in the Jr 4. In 1903 West Phila won the Jr 4, and Bill West was 2nd in the Sr four, and 4th in the Sr single. In 1904 R. Dooner was 3rd in the dash, and 2nd in the Jr 8. In 1905 E. Kieffer was 4th in the Jr dash, J. Doyle 4th in the Sr single. The West Phila Jr 8 won, Walter George, E. Harris, W. Crouse, C. Parker, H. Brodhead, C. Williams, S. Wragg, and L. Gorman cox. n 1906 E. Kiefeer won the Jr single, and the pair without J. Doyle and W. George were 2nd. The Jr 8 was 2nd. In 1907 W. George was 2nd in the dash. The Jr double J. Fleith and Yates Hickey won. The Sr double and Jr quad were 2nd. The Jr 8 won, G. Brownell, C. Doan, W. Hall, P. Ford, J. Trimble, L. Campbell, E. Doering, H. Mishenheim, and G. Flood cox. In 1908, G. Brownwell was 2nd in the Jr single. The Jr 8 and Jr quad were 3rd. In 1909, the Sr pair won, J. Doyle and G. Allison, the Jr quad was 3rd. The Jr 8 won, C. Brey, L. Hubbs, F. Williams, F. DeVoll, W. Fulmer, T. Thomsom, W. Simons H. Lizenberg, and C. Flood cox.
In 1910, Doyle and H. Litzenberg were 2nd in the Sr pair without. The Jr quad was 3rd. In 1911, J. Doyle and Harry Weaver were 2nd in the Sr double. The Jr quad was 4th. In 1913 the Jr double was 6th. In 1914, Bill McCormick was 4th in the dash. The Jr 8 was 5th, and the Jr double 3rd, and Jr four 5th. In 1915 McCormick and McInerney were 4th in the Jr double. In 1916, the Jr quad was 2nd, L. Whitby, H. Spuhmer, W. McInerney and F. Williams. The Jr double was 4th. In 1918. Comber was 4th in the Jr single. The quad was 2nd, j. Doyle, G. Darrow, W. McCormick, and W. McInerney. In 1919 the Jr quad was 2nd. In 1921, the Jr four was 2nd, W. Wood, J. Walsh, J. McNichols, Ray Comber, and Merkhoffer cox. The Int four won, L. Barry, J. Kelly, R. Regon, A. Cunningham, and, A. Fitzpatrick cox, and the Jr quad also won, L. Barry, J. Kelly, R. Regan, and A. Cunningham. The Jr 8 was 4th. In 1923 the Jr four was 4th, and the Sr four was 2nd. J. Kelley, John McNicholas, John Walsh, and Bob Regan. The Int four won, W. Wood, W. McCormick, Ed Hefferman, Ed Deff, and George Fitzpatrick cox. In 1924 Bill McCormick won the dash, and John McNicholas was 2nd in the Sr single, and won the Int double in the Nationals of 1908. This was the last recorded race for the West Philadelphia BC. They had over 361 entries and 176 victories in Schuylkill Navy Regattas. From 1895 to 1899, Gordon S. Carigan served as the first Commodore from the West Philadelphia Boatclub. Robert C. White was President of West Philadelphia Boatclub from 1920-25.
Penn AC is formedreturn to top
PENN AC was a downtown men’s social club, and wanted to promote athletics. In order to sponsor a boatclub, they asked West Philadelphia BC, who agreed to change their name to Penn AC Rowing Association. Jack Kelly Sr., who was associated with the Penn AC downtown club, left Vesper BC when a faction tried to oust his cousin Paul Costello. He changed clubs to Penn AC, bringing the great coach Frank Muller and the best rowers with him, and started a rowing program at West Catholic high School as a feeder for junior oarsmen to the Club. Penn AC had 398 entries and 159 victories and holds 9 Schuylkill Navy rowing records, the highest winning rate of any club. They have won the Barnes National team trophy 8 times. Joe Burke won the Championship single belt 4 years, and Art Gallagher won it in 1941. They had the following boats in the Olympics. The winning double in the 1924-28, the pair with in 1928-32, the four with in 1932-36, and the four without in 1932-36, and the two pairs and single in 1936, all boats except the straight four in the 1940 trials, the double in 1948, and the straight four in 1988-92, and women’s double in 1996. Penn AC won the World Championship in the 8 in 1930, which is listed as the fastest 8 by the Guinness Record book, the Silver Medal straight four in 1986, and the Gold Medal Women’s straight Four in 1996. Joe Burke, Dan Barrow, and Bill Miller all won the prestigious Schuylkill Navy Championship (single) belt. In cross country Penn AC won in 1950-51, and had 5 individual wins. In Basketball they won the league in 1940-57.
Many prominent Penn AC members served the rowing community with distinction. The Hon. Frank Smith was the first president of Penn AC. In 1946 Fred Plaisted died at the age of 96, after a lifetime as oarsmen, coach, and rowing philosopher, who rowed until the age of 91. Another outstanding Penn AC member was Henry Penn Burke, who served as steward and chairman from 1925 to 1945. He also was president of the NAAO for 13 years. He managed and helped raise funds the Olympic teams from 1920 to 1936. A monument to his memory stands between Plaisted Hall and Fairmount Boatclub. George Malloy and William Harmon were responsible for funding many Penn A.C. activities during this era. finally, the great Big Eight coach, Frank Muller, who died in 1948, had coached Olympic teams from 1920- 32. For over 30 years, Leo Keller served as chairman of the board of stewards. George Darrow was secretary during this period. Many prominent Penn AC members served as Commodore of the Schuylkill Navy; Dr. Robert C. White from 1930 to 34, John B. Kelly Sr. from 1935 to 41, James J. Beckett, Penn A.C. from 1952 to 1955, Jack Bratten 1950, Joe Sweeney 1985-86, and Vince Dougherty 1987. In 1982 Jack Bratten, Coach for Penn A.C. St. Joe Prep and LaSalle College died at 62. John B. Kelly Sr. died in 1960 at the age of 70. Jack Kelly had his start as a coxswain at Penn AC in 1937-38. And finally, the incredible list of winning coaches including Frank Muller 1924-38, Tom Mack 1939-41, Joe Dougherty 1943-50, Tom Curran 1951-54, Jack Bratten 1955-59, Jack Galloway 1960-66, Vince Simkowski 1968-70, Ted Nash 1983 to present. While we point with pride to the record of our athletes, it is also the men behind the scene who deserve our recognition. The advice and help of these “clubies” was an intrinsic part of the Penn A.C. winning formula.
THE 1900-1904 OLYMPICS Paris, The first Olympic with rowing had five rowing events. The Vesper B.C. won the 8, Roscoe Lockood, Ed Marsh, Ed Hedley, Bill Carr, John Geiger, James Juvenal, Harry DeBaecke, John Exley and Lou Abell, in 6:09 over Belgium 6:13 and Netherland 6:23. This outstanding achievement by our local athletes is something every Philadelphia can be proud. In 1901 the U. Of Penn eight, coached by Ellis Ward, was second at the Royal Henley. The 1904 Olympics in St. Louis, the US took first, second, and third in all rowing events except the eight which only had US and Canada competing. Vesper won the 8; Fred Cresser, W. G. Gleason, Frank Schell, James Flannigan, Charles Armstrong, Harry Lott, Dr. Joe Dempsey, John Exley, and Lou Abell cox, in 7:50 over Canada. Frank Greer won the single in 10:08, with James Juvenal 2nd, and Constance Titus third, all from the US. All three medal winners were U.S. single scullers. William Varley and John Mulcahy won the double in 10:03, James McLoughlin and John Hoben were 2nd, and Joe Ravanack and John Wells were 3rd. Again all three double medal winners were from the U.S. The US straight four, George Diets, August Erker, Albert Basse, and Arthur Stockhoff won in 9:53, and the U.S. was second with Charles Amman, Michael Begley, Martin Fromanack, and Frederick Suerig. Because of their two Olympic Victories, The Vesper 8 was invited in 1905 to row in the Royal Henley, and came in 2nd to the Leander BC, considered the best 8 England ever had. The US Olympic authorities offered no opportunity for rowing entries in the 1908-12 Olympiad in London and Stockholm. Great Briton won the 8 both times. England won all four rowing events in the 1908 Olympics at Henley, and won the eight in 1912 at Stockholm. There were no Nationals in 1918.
In the 1920-24-28 and 32 Olympiad, all the oarsman on the US rowing team were from the Schuylkill Navy except the eight, and they all won their right to be on the Olympic team by the winning the trials. A superstition arose that a war followed each time Harvard won the Grand Challenge, which they did in 1914, 1939, and 1950. Jack Kelly Sr started rowing at Vesper in 1908, and won 126 consecutive races and six first Nationals by 1920. He won two Olympic gold medals in the double and one in the single. He was the Commodore of the Schuylkill Navy from 1935-40, and President of the NAAO 1954-55. He married Margaret Major, who worked at the U of Penn Phys Ed Dept.
IN THE 1920 OLYMPICS in Antwerp Belgium, the U.S. won three of the six events, John B. Kelly Sr won the single in 7:35, defeating Jack Beresford of England 7:36, who was a 4 time Diamond Sculls winner, by one second, and with his cousin Paul Costello from Vesper, they won the Double Sculls in 7:09 over Italy 7:19 and France 7:21. The four with from Pennsylvania BC, Ken Myers, Carl Klose, Franz, Erich and Erich Federschmidt, Sam Hunter cox, was 2nd in the semi-finals behind Switzerland who won in 6:54. The Naval Academy won the eight by beating UK by 10 feet in 6:06. Our team was supported and fed by a US Navy cruiser in the harbor. Kell was denied entry in the 1920 Royal Henley. He vowed to beat the winner in other events, and he vowed to have his son win the Diamond Sculls. Kell later beat the English Henley champion Jack Beresford and Kell sent his green rowing cap to King George of England.
There were no entries for the West Phila BC in the 1919 and 1920 Nationals at Worcester Mass., 1921 Nationals in Buffalo. In the 1922 Nationals in Phila., West Phila BC was 3rd in the Sr quad, and 2nd in the Sr 8, was 4th in the Int 4. Walter Hoover of Undine won the Diamond Sculls.
THE PHILADELPHIA CHALLENGE CUP In 1922, Walter Hoover of Duluth BC won the Diamond Sculls. John B. Kelly Sr. entry was refused by the Henley Stewards because he “worked with his hands” (in effect intimating he was not a gentleman). In response, Elliot Newlin, Commodore of the Schuylkill Navy raised $2,000 by popular subscription for a 18″ high gold challenge cup, emblematic of the World Single Championship, and awarded it to Jack Kelly Sr. In 1922 Walter Hoover of Duluth BC won the first challenge race defeating Paul Costello of Vesper. In 1924 Costello defeated Gillmore and later that year Jack Beresford of England won the cup when he defeated Gillmore in the Olympics in Paris, and later that year retained the cup by defeating Hoover in Putney England. The first non-bump head race was held in 1926 at Putney England.
In the 1923 Nationals in Baltimore Penn AC won the Sr 4 and Sr Double, Paul Costello was 3rd in the Champ single, and 2nd in the Sr quad. Jim Regan was 4th in the Sr single dash, and the Sr 4 and Sr Quad were 2nd, and the Sr 8 was 3rd. (rowing as West Phila B.C.) James Regan was 4th in the 1/4 dash and 5th in the Assoc single. In the 1923 Sesquicentennial Regatta, Penn AC won the 8. In the Middle States Regatta Paul Costello beat Gillmore in the single.
IN THE 1924 OLYMPICS in Paris, “Jack” Kelly Sr. and Paul Costello, now rowing for Penn AC repeated their achievements in the previous Olympics by winning in 6:34 over France 6:38 and Switzerland. Bachelor Barge Club four, Henry Welsford, Ed Mitchell, Bob Gerhardt, Sydney Jellinek, and Jack Kennedy cox, won the bronze. Pennsylvania B.C. pair with, Leon Butler, Harold Wilson, and Ed Jennings cox, won the bronze behind Switzerland and Italy. In the single W.Garrett Gilmore of Bachelors finished second in 7:54 to Jack Beresford of England in 7:49. Yale won the eight by 6:33 over Canada and Italy. The renowned physician Dr. Spock was bow. In the 1924 Nationals in Springfield Mass. Penn AC won the Sr LW double and the Sr 4- (rowing as West Phila BC). In the Olympic trials in Philadelphia, the Penn AC four was 4th, and the single and double first.
In the 1925 Nationals in Phila Penn AC won the Barnes point trophy by winning the LW double, LW 4, Sr Quad, Sr double, and Paul Costello won the Champ single. Penn AC took 2nd in the Sr quad and Sr double, and 3rd and fourth in the senior 4, fourth in the LW Sr double. In the 1926 Nationals in Phila Penn AC the Sr quad, Sr 8, and LW four won the gold. Joe Wright was 2nd in the Assoc Single, the Sr LW double was 2nd, and the Sr single and Sr LW single Paul Costello was 2nd and third.
In the 1927 Nationals at Wyandott Mich., Penn AC won the Sr LW 4, John McNicholas was 2nd in the Assoc single, and Penn AC took 2nd in the SR LW 8 and Sr double, and was 3rd in the Sr 8. Teams from Boathouse Row won 17 of the 22 events.
IN THE 1928 OLYMPICS in Amsterdam was the first time the US sent a full rowing team. 20 nations with 67 entries competed on a 2 lane course over 8 days. Philadelphia represented the US in five events. Penn AC was 1st in the double, Paul Costello and Charles McIlvaine 6:14 over Switzerland 6:51, and Austria 6:48. Paul became the first athlete to be victorious in the same event in three consecutive Olympics. The Pennsylvania BC straight pair, Paul McDowell, John Schmitt was 3rd in the semi-finals in 7:20 behind Germany 7:06, and England 7:08. Ken Myers of Bachelors was second in the single in 7:20 to the great Australian Single sculler, Henry Pearce 7:11. Penn Bargeªs Straight Four, Ernest Bayer, George Healis, Bill Miller and Charles Karle, came in 2nd in the finals in 6:37 behind England who won in 6:36. The Penn AC pair with, Joe Dougherty, Aug. Goetz, and Thomas Mack, cox were beat by Italy and France, their borrowed boat practically disintegrated in the race. The eight from the U. of California took the gold in 6:03.2 over England 6:03.8 and Canada in 6:05. Jim Beckett was the spare for the 28 Olympic team and 5 time National Champion. Penn AC’s Coach Frank Muller was also the coach in this Olympics. Also in 1928, Penn AC took 16 medals in the Nationals in Phila, including a gold for the Jr quad. Chet Turner won the Senior and Championship single, C. Moore was 2nd in the Jr single, as was the Jr double. A.E. Fitzpatrick was 2nd in the 1/4 dash and third in the Sr single, as was the Sr four with and four without and Int four. The Penn AC Int 8, and Sr 8 was 4th. C. Dietrich was 5th in the Int single. In 1928 West Catholic started rowing from Penn AC and many West oarsmen were to become champion oarsmen at Penn AC 2, 4, and 7 seat in the big eight were West Catholic oarsmen.
In 1929 the US joined FISA. In the Nationals at Springfield, Penn AC won the SR LW 4, Sr 4, and SR 8, beating NYAC by 5 lengths, and was 2nd in the Sr Quad, 3rd in the LW 4. Philadelphia became known as the home of sculling and amateur rowing in the US. For example in a Regatta in Virginia, Phila boats took 13 of the 15 races.
In the 1930 Nationals in Boston, A.E. Fitzpatrick won the Sr dash and Sr single, Al Vogt was 2nd in the Assoc Single. Penn AC was 2nd in the Sr 4, and Sr LW 8, and third in the Sr LW 4, and 5th in the Sr 8. Penn AC beat Columbia for the Stewards Cup.
THE 1930 WORLD CHAMPION, PENN AC’s ‘BIG EIGHT’ In marked contrast with the Olympic, where the US teams won every eight event, a U.S. eight never won the world championship, except for the great Penn AC _big eight_. A boatload of Philadelphia Irishmen won the world championships at Liege Belgium, bringing undying fame for themselves and Penn AC The Big Eight included Charles McIlvaine in bow, Tom Curran 2, Jack Bratten 3, John McNichol 4, Myrlin Janes 5, Joe Dougherty 6, Dan Barrows 7, Chet Turner stroke, and Tom Mack After winning their trials heat in 5:18, there was considerable speculation that this might be the fastest eight ever seen. This time is listed in the Guinness Book of world records as the fastest time for an eight. However, because wind, current and other conditions vary so greatly, record times in rowing do not have the same significance as other sports. In the finals, the Penn AC Big Eight convincingly crushed Europeªs finest crews with a two length victory over Italy, while third place Denmark was six lengths further astern. Over the next three year from 1929 to 31, the ¦big eightª remained virtually intact, winning 31 consecutive victories, including the US and Canadian championships in 1931. It was voted the greatest crew of the first half of this century by the Associated Press. In the 1931 Schuylkill Navy regatta, a young Penn AC eight, Al Vogt bow, Charles Dreuding 2, Ed Marehall 3, Tom Pierie 4, Latimer Lawrence 5, Chet Turner 6, Harry Grossmiller 7, Frank English stroke, Permar Richards cox, challenged the Big Eight for the right to represent Penn AC John B. Kelly Sr. described the race as follows;
“This was the greatest eight race in history. I have been watching boat races for the past thirty years, and have seen some of the most important ones, so I am qualified to say that this was the greatest boat race of all times. Before describing the race I am going to set the stage and tell you a few of the important facts leading up to and responsible for this grueling battle about a month ago Coach Muller felt that the Penn A.C. Big Eight was not moving fast enough and they were getting a little temperamental. The crew took exception to this and the result was that Muller organized a new crew from members of last year’s junior eight who had developed into seniors by this time, and arranged a race with the ‘big eight’. The new combination defeated the big eight three times in success which gave the impression that the big eight was finished, for the present season at least. We felt this crew that had established the greatest record of any eight had gone stale and needed revamping. Soon after their defeat by the junior crew, we broke up the Big Eight. However, when the entries closed for the Schuylkill Navy Regatta, we found we did not have any entry for the new senior eight. The big eight, still smarting under the lash, asked Coach Mueller if they could get the old crew together to compete against the new eight. The crews got away together with the gun and at the first quarter the big eight was leading by about 5 feet. The new eight sprinted at the first + mile point and came abreast of them. I say sprint, although it was hard to tell when a crew was sprinting, as they were both up to the limit all the time. Finally they came out from under the trolley bridge bow to bow, and even to the inch and here something started which I have never seen before in all my experience. These crews happened to be rowing the same stroke and were in stroke and the same run on their boats developed so that there was never six inches differences in the bows of the boats from the trolley bridge to the head of the island. Here McNichol, stroking the ¦big eightª, raised his beat a little and rowed out in front of the new eight by about 3 feet. But English raising the stroke of the new eight, was not to be denied, and he raised the stroke and they were even again at The. middle of the island with an eight of a mile to row. The coxswains were urging their crews for every ounce of strength, and the two crews were straining as hard as any men who ever rowed a race. Again they were even, rowing about 42 strokes per minute, and by this time they were just out of stroke with each other. Every time one eight would take a stroke they would move ahead a couple of feet then immediately be passed by the other crew when they took their stroke. So finally it developed that it was just a question of which crew would be on the stroke at the time they hit the line. As the gun went off at the finish the big eight had just finished their stroke and the new eight was coming up for theirs, and the former finished over the line by about a one foot margin. Both crews were badly used up at the finish and they showed the remarkable time of 5:49. True, conditions were fast, but the wind had die down and the river was very calm. The last Olympic race, under similar conditions, was won in 6:03.”
In the 1931 Nationals in Phila, Penn AC was first in the LW 4, senior 8, LW 8, and third in the association single and dash, the Sr 8, and was 2nd in the Sr 4+ and Sr Quad.
The 1932 Olympic trials was combined with the Nationals and Peoples regatta in Philadelphia, except for the eights trials which were held in Worcester Mass. The Penn AC Eight had a dead heat in 6:06 with California crew in the trials and did not make the Olympic team. There was considerable speculation that the determination of the dead heat was influenced by not having to pay the way back to the east coast if California went to the Olympics, a major expense during the depression. Penn AC won the straight four and LW four trials, and was 2nd in the four with. Bill Miller won the Championship single, and Penn AC won the LW 8 and the Championship quad. Howard McGillin was 2nd in the Jr single, and the Penn AC Jr 8 and Sr double, Int 4 gig, and Int double were also second. The LW Penn AC double was 3rd. Ed Hixon won the Int single, and Al Vogt was 2nd in the 1/4 dash.
IN THE 1932 OLYMPICS at Long Beach California, Philadelphia oarsmen represented the US in six of the seven events, three of which were from Penn AC This was the fourth consecutive Olympics in which the U.S. won both the 8 and double. US had 3 firsts. In the Bachelor BC double, Ken Myers and Garrett Gilmore won in 7:17 over Germany 7:22 and Canada 7:27. In the Pennsylvania BC pair with, Joe Schauers, Charles Kieffer, and Ed Jennings Cox, won the gold in 8:25 over Poland 8:31 and France 8:41. This was the first gold for the US in that event. Penn AC’s William Miller was second in the single in 7:45, to the famous Henry Pearce, of Australia, in 7:44, who has never been defeated. He said that Miller gave him the hardest race of his life. Henry Pearce was awarded the Gold Challenge Cup. He forfeited the cup when he turned pro in 1933. the Penn AC straight four, E. W. Johnson, Tom Pierie, George Mattson and John Mcosker was fourth by two lengths to the British with the Germans second and Italy coming in third. The Penn AC four with, Ed Marshall, Charles Drueding, Harry Grossmiller, Frank English, and Tom Mack cox, racing in open seas with a strong headwind, was fourth in the repechage, and the Undine pair without, Eugene and Tom Clark were fourth in the heat. The US eight won by 6:37.6 in a titanic sprint in the last fifty yards beating Italy, 6:37.8, who were a 1/2 length over Canada and England. This was the second consecutive win at the Olympics for the Cal 8.
Also in 1932 at the Nationals in Philadelphia, the Penn AC crews won the Barnes Point Trophy with five heavy and two LW events, including the Sr 4, Sr 8, SR 4, LW 4, and Bill Miller won the Championship single. John McNichols was the coach of West Catholic for three undefeated seasons, and succeeded Frank Muller as the Penn AC coach, and was the Olympic coach in the 1936 Olympic games in Germany. In the American Rowing Assoc. Regatta in Philadelphia, Penn AC placed first and second in the 2nd eight, Bill Miller was first in the single, and first in the four race. In the Schuylkill Navy regatta, and Penn AC won the Sr. pair with and the LW Sr four and 1st and 2nd in the Sr 8, 2nd in the straight four, third in the Jr 8. Al Vogt won the 1/4 dash, Howard McGillin was third in the Jr single gig, and Ed Hixon won the Jr single, and Bill Miller won the Champ single. Herman Wohlgemuth was fourth in the Int single. In the Middle States Regatta in Baltimore, Bill Miller was first in the 1/4 dash, and Latimer Lawrence won the Jr single. Penn AC first in the Sr four, Jr quad, and Sr LW gig four, Sr four gig, and third in the Jr 8.
In the 1933 Nationals in Chicago, run in high winds and rough water, and a shortened course of 3/4 mile. Penn AC again won six National Championships and the point trophy. The four Penn AC scullers won all five sculling championships, a National Championship record. Bill Miller won the Champ single in 5:21. Al Vogt won the Assoc single in 5:20 advancing through 4 heats and 2 semi finals. A.E. Fitzpatrick won the dash. Penn AC’s LW 8, Sr 8 won, SR quad, and double won in 4:37, double LW four was second the West Side. In the American Rowing Assoc Regatta, Penn A.C. won the Sr four, and club 8 in 6:53. In the Schuylkill Navy regatta, Harry Grossmiller was 2nd in the Jr single, and Ed Hixon was 2nd in the Sr single, and Joe Dougherty was 2nd in the Assoc single. Penn AC won the Sr 8 and 4, and was 2nd in the Jr 8. In the Independence Day Regatta Al Vogt won the Sr dash, and Bill Miller won the Champ single, Penn AC was 1st in the Sr 8, Jr four, and the Handicap double, Sr four, 2nd in the SR 8 and Sr LW four. In the Middle States Regatta, Dan Barrows won the Assoc single, Howard McGillin won the Int single Penn AC won the Int Quad, Sr LW four, and 2nd in the Jr. quad, the Jr 8, and Sr 8.
In 1934 Penn AC again won the Barnes Point Trophy at the Nationals in Baltimore. Penn AC was 1st in the Sr 8, four, four without, LW8, double, second in the LW four, LW Quad, and Sr Quad. Al Vogt was 2nd in the Champ single, Dan Barrow was 4th in the 1/4 mile dash. In the American Rowing Assoc. Regatta in Philadelphia, Al Vogt was first in the 1st single, Dan Barrow was 2nd in the 2nd single, ,Penn AC was first in the interclub 8, special four, first 8, and 2nd in the 1st double. In the Middle States Regatta in Baltimore, Hans Jongloed won the Sr single and Assoc single, Tom Curran won the Int single. Penn AC was 1st in the Sr 8, Sr four gig, and 2nd in the Sr double. In the Schuylkill Navy Regatta, Al Vogt won the 1/4 dash, Joe Veterlein won the Jr single gig, Howard McGillin was 3rd in the Assoc single, Tom Kerr was 4th in the Jr single, Penn AC was 1st in the Jr 8 and Jr four gig, 1st and 2nd in the LW Sr four, won the
In 1935, the Schuylkill Navy held one of the largest rowing spectacle of its kind, the “Rowing Pageant” where club boats, with Victorian uniforms executed spectacular series of maneuvers in front of thousands of spectators. Charles Campbell of Argnaut BC in Canada beat Winthroy Ruteerford of Princeton for the Gold Challenge Cup. In the Nationals in Princeton, Dan Barrow was 2nd in the Assoc single, Al Vogt 4th in the 1/4 mile dash and 3rd in the Phila Challenge Cup, Penn AC was first in the Sr double and quad and pair, and 4th in the Int 8. In the American Rowing Assoc. Regatta in Philadelphia, Howard McGillin was 2nd in the 2nd single, Al Vogt 2nd in the 1st single, and 1st in the double. In the Schuylkill Navy Regatta, Dan Barrow was 1st in the Champ single, Charles Drueding was 2nd in the Jr single, and Tom Gripson was 2nd in the Jr single. Penn AC was first in the Jr four gig, Sr four, and Int double. In the Peoples Regatta, July 4th, Dan Barrow won the Champ single, Al Vogt was 2nd in the dash and Howard McGillin was 2nd in the Assoc single, Penn AC won the Sr 8, four and Jr double, 2nd in the Jr quad, was 3rd in the Jr 8. In the Middle States Regatta, H. Grossmiller was 5th in the Jr single and Penn AC won the Int double.
IN THE 1936 OLYMPICS in Berlin, four of the seven U.S. boats were from Philadelphia, three being from Penn AC. Germany, using a National Camp system and boats that averaged 50% less in weight than the US equipment, won five of the seven events. The Penn AC Pair With, Joe Dougherty, Tom Curran, George loveless, cox, and the Penn AC Straight Pair, George Dahm and Harry Sharkey failed to reach the finals. The third Penn AC boat, Dan Barrow in the Single, after finishing last in his heat, won the reparcharge, and finished second in the semi-finals. He took the Bronze in the finals in 8:28 behind the German 8 G. Schaefer in 8:21. Dan beat the champions of 18 other Nations, and also won the US Nationals and the Philadelphia Gold Challenge Cup. The Undine double, John Houser and Bill Dugan, was fifth. The University of Washington’s eight, coached by Al Ulbrickson with George Pocock won in 6:25.4 over Italy 6:26, and Germany 6:26.4. The US double was 5th, the four was 2nd in the reps, the straight four 3rd in the reps, the pair with 4 in reps, the straight pair 3rd in reps.
In the 1936 Nationals and Olympic trials in Philadelphia, Dan Barrow won the Champ single trials in 7:36, Penn AC won the pair with trials in 8:36 and pair without in 7:50, and was 2nd in the Champ quad, Int 8, and straight four, 3rd in the Jr four gig, and 5th in the champ double. Penn AC was 2nd in the Barns Point system. Undine BC won the point trophy. West Catholic won the Stotesbury varsity 8. In the American Rowing Assoc Regatta, Dan Barrow won the single, and Penn AC won the four and doubles, and 3rd in the eight. In the Schuylkill Navy regatta, Dan Barrow won the single, and Penn AC won the Jr 8, Sr straight four, Sr double, Int quad and the Jr four gig, was 2nd in the Jr and Int double and Jr LW quad. In the Middle States Regatta in Philadelphia, George McGee won the Int single in 6:14, and Howard McGillin was 2nd in the Assoc single. Penn AC won the Jr quad, Jr double, and was 2nd in the Int 8 and Int quad.
In 1937, Joe Burk of Penn AC won the Diamond Sculls at Henley for only the second time by an American, (1897 Ed Hanlan, 1922 Walter Hoover) At the Nationals at Buffalo, Joe Burk won the single in 7:00. Penn AC was 2nd in the 8, and was 3rd in the Barnes Point trophy. In the American Rowing Assoc, Regatta, Penn AC was 1st in the 2nd 8, and 2nd in the 1st four and 1st double. In the first Schuylkill Navy Regatta, Art Gallagher won the Jr single in 7:54 and Frank English was 2nd in the Assoc single. Penn AC was 1st in the Int 8 and Jr quad, 2nd in the Jr 8, Sr double and Sr four. In the Independence Day Regatta, Frank English was 2nd in the dash, john McGillin 3rd in the Jr gig. Penn AC 1st in the Sr 8 and Sr quad, 2nd in the Sr double, and 3rd in the LW double. In the second Schuylkill Navy Regatta, Joe Burk won the Champ single in 7;00, Art Gallagher won the Assoc single in 7;08, Frank English was 2nd in the dash, and Bill Campbell 3rd in the Jr single. Penn AC won the Jr quad, and was 2nd in the Jr 8. In the Middle States Regatta in Baltimore, Art Gallagher was 2nd in the Sr single. Penn AC won the Sr double and Sr quad. Phila Girls RC, The first women’s rowing club was established in Phila. Jack Kelly Jr started his rowing career at Penn AC at the age of 9 as a coxswain.
In the 1938 Nationals at Red Bank NJ Joe Burke won the Championship single in 7:46. Penn AC won the quad, the Int eight was third behind NYAC and Westside BC. In 1838, and 3rd in the 8. Joe Burk won the single in the American Rowing Assoc Regatta and the Schuylkill Navy Regatta, and Penn AC won the Sr 8 and quad. In the Schuylkill Navy Regatta George McGee won the Assoc single, Frank English was 3rd in the dash, Charles Ford 2nd in the Jr single. Penn AC was 2nd in the Int double and Sr four. Penn AC won the Sr 8, Jr 8, and Sr quad, and took 2nd in the Independence Day Regatta in the Jr four gig. In the 2nd Schuylkill Navy Regatta, Art Gallagher won the Jr gig, and Penn AC won the Int and Sr double, and 2nd in the Int and Sr four, and 3rd in the Int quad. In the Middle States, Art Gallagher won the Int single in 6:49. Penn AC won the four gig, and was 2nd in the Int handicap double.
In 1939 the Penn AC’s eight raced Cuba, finishing 2nd after nearly swamping in the rough Caribbean Sea. Tom Mack became the head coach at Penn AC and won 41 first place victories in NAAO sanctioned regattas, the greatest number won by one club in a single season. At the 1939 Nationals in Detroit, Penn AC won the point trophy, Joe Burke won the Champ single, and Penn AC won the four, was 2nd in the quad and pair without, 4th in the Int 8 and double. Joe Burke won the American Rowing Assoc Regatta. In the Spring Schuylkill Navy Regatta, Penn AC won the Sr 8, and Sr quad. Joe Burke won the N.Y. Regatta. In the 2nd Schuylkill Navy Regatta, James Burk won the Int and Champ single, and Art Gallagher won the Assoc single. Penn AC won the Sr quad, Int four, Jr 8. At the Independence Day Regatta, Penn AC won the Sr four, 2nd in the Sr double and Jr four, 3rd in the Jr LW Jr double and Jr double. Jowe Burke won the Canadian Henley, and the Royal Henley in England. In the 2nd Schuylkill Navy Regatta, Joe Burke won the Champ single John MGillin was 2nd in the Jr single. Penn AC was 1st in the Jr 8, 2nd in the Sr four, and 3rd in the Sr 8. In the Middle State Regatta, Tom Colgan was 5th in the Jr single. Penn AC won the Jr quad and Sr four.
During the period between the First and Second world wars, Penn AC had won the National Barnes Point Trophy in 1930, 32, 33, 34, and 1940. Penn AC accounted for 24 individual National Championship titles. They also won the Caldwell point trophy in the Schuylkill Navy Regatta for 1930, 31, 32, 33, 34 and 1935, and won 76 individual Championships in this Regatta. During the pre war Olympic years, the Schuylkill Navy had 24 boats on the Olympic team, winning 8 medals. Penn AC had 9 of these entries with 2 medals in four Olympics.
The summary of Schuylkill Navy Victories in the Olympics; 1900 Vesper 8 gold, 1904 Vesper eight gold, 1920 Vesper single gold, Vesper double gold, 1924 Penn AC double gold, 1928 Penn AC double gold, 1932 Bachelors double gold, Pennsylvania Barge pair with gold.
Joe Burk and Jack Kellyreturn to top
THE DIAMOND SCULLS CHAMPION Possibly the best single sculler the UniversityS. ever produced was another Penn AC oarsmen, Joe Burk, who rowed at the University of Pennsylvania under Rusty Callow. He lost the 1936 single trials to Dan Barrow, also of Penn AC This was the last time Joe Burk lost for 37 victories when in 1940 he lost to Joe Angyal, a New York fireman, at the Middle States Regatta in Baltimore. Joe rowed with an very unorthodox style at a extremely high short stroke of forty strokes per minute for the entire race. He was four time winner of the U.S. and Canadian Championships, and won the Diamond Sculls at the Henley in England in 1938 and 39, setting the course record in 1938. Joe won the Philadelphia Gold Cup by defeating Theodore DuBois of Winnipeg in the Nationals in 1940. He was voted the James Sullivan award as the country’s outstanding amateur athlete in 1939. Joe served in PT boats in the Pacific during World war II, winning the Navy Cross, and the sliver and bronze star for heroism in action, sinking 13 enemy barges. He returned to coach the University of Pennsylvania, completing the best winning record in the school’s history by breaking the University of Washington’s influence and introducing weight training and high stroke ratings. His 1955 varsity won the Eastern Sprints, breaking Navy’s streak of 31 consecutive wins, won the Grand at Henley, and went on to beat the Germans on their own course. This crew was inducted into the Rowing Hall of Fame. The 1968 Penn varsity eight lost to Harvard in the Olympic trials in Philadelphia. The race was so close it took the judges 7 minutes to decide the winner. In the 1940 Nationals at Red Bank N.J. Penn AC won the 8, Art Gallagher, Jim Lyons, John Manion, Permar Richards, Charles Ford, Paul St. Germaine, John Lyons, Frank English, Peter McCaffery, cox, and the Olympic four race, Art Gallagher, Jim and John Lyons, and Frank English in 7:01, and the Olympic double, Howard McGillin and James Burke in 7:51, and the Olympic and Champ single, Joe Burk, in 7:51. Penn AC was 3rd in the lightweight 8, lightweight four, straight four, and quad, and won the Barnes point trophy. At the American Rowing Association Regatta in Boston, Joe Burk won the single in 8:11. Penn AC won the 1st four. At the NYAC Regatta, Joe Burk won the Sr single in 5:07 ( 1 mile), and Penn A.C. won the Sr four in 5:39. At the Schuylkill Navy Regatta Joe Burk won the Sr single in 7:37, and Penn AC won the Jr 8, and the Jr double. At the Independence Day Regatta Penn AC won the Int 8 in 7:21, the Sr four, the Int double, the Int 8, and Sr 8. The Big 8 of 1930 rowed a reunion race.
In the Olympic trials in 1940, three of the seven boats that qualified, including the eight, were from Penn AC: Joe Burke in the single, Jim Burke and Howard McGill in the double, Frank English, John Lyons, Jim Lyons and Art Gallagher, and Hugh McCaffrey, cox. in the four. Unfortunately the Olympic games scheduled to be in Helsinki in 1940 were canceled because of the war. The Penn AC eight won the nationals ahead of Fairmount RA at Red Bank NJ with coach Boyd Spencer, Peter McCaffrey, cox, Frank English, stroke , John Lyons, Paul St. Germmaine, Charles Ford, J. Permar Richards, John Manion, Jim Lyons, and Art Gallagher, bow.
Despite the retirement from active competition of some of Penn AC’s greatest champions, and the many members who answered the call to arms during WW II, the club won three National Championships in 1941 at Minneapolis. Art Gallagher won the dash, and Penn AC won the quad, with Bill Murray, Ray McDonald, James Lyons, and Joe Alessi, and Int 8, with Gene Shaw, Charles Sololowski, Gilbert Sweeney, Geo. Gowan, Frank lyons, John Bannon, James Cashman, Bill McGinty, and Hugh McCaffret cox. In the Schuylkill navy regatta, Art Gallagher won the Sr single, and Penn AC won the Int quad. In the Independence Day Regatta, Penn AC won the Jr 8 and four, with silver in the Jr single, Sr straight four, and Sr double. In the Canadian Henley, Art Gallagher won the Association single. In the Middle States Regatta, Art Gallagher won the Sr single and Penn AC won the Sr four. Art also won the President’s cup single.
In 1943, at the Nationals in Philadelphia, this wartime Regatta produced close competition in the singles and doubles, but was below par in the other events. Art Gallagher won all five events he entered and was the Senior Single champ, and Fairmount R.A. won the Champ. 8, Sr. double, Sr. quad, and both fours and the Barnes Point trophy. Undine won the SR double, Sr lightweight quad, lightweight four and 8. In the Schuylkill Navy Regatta, Joe Alessi won the Sr dash, and Penn AC won the Jr quad, with C. McIntyre, J. Banon, E. Henwood, and stroke G. Gowen. In the Independence Day Regatta Penn AC won the Int double, with J. Bannon and G. Gowen. In the Schuylkill Navy Regatta , Art Gallagher won the dash, , Bob O’Neil won the lightweight Jr single, and Ed McCarthy was 3rd. Bill Campbell was 3rd in the Jr single, and Art Gallagher was 3rd in the Sr single. Penn AC won the Int double, Jr four, Int double with C. McIntyre and E. Henwood. There were no Nationals in 1944-45.
In 1944 Jack Kelly Jr. heir apparent to the throne occupied by his twice Olympic Champion father, won the Schoolboy single championship. He won the Independence Day Regatta and Canadian Henley singles in 1945, and after a hitch in the UnS. Navy he came in 2nd in the Royal Henley. For 20 years from 1938 to 58, Penn AC averaged four victories in each Schu Penn AC was responsible to a great extent in the renewal of Scholastic Rowing after W.W.II by sponsoring West Catholic High School rowing, started by J ack Kelly Sr. and later coached by Joe Dougherty and George Mattson. LaSalle HS returned to rowing in 1948 with the help of Jack Kelly Sr. Bill Knecht was in this crew. Penn AC also sponsored Cardinal O’Hara, St. Joseph College, and for a short time Philadelphia Community College crew.
In 1946, the first post-war National Regatta in Philadelphia, Detroit BC won the Barnes trophy. Jack Kelly Jr, returning from a close second in the Diamond Sculls, beat Penn AC’s Art Gallagher in the Sr single in 8:15. Art won the dash, Assoc single and the Champ single. Penn AC won the Sr double, Charles McIntyre and Art Gallagher, and Sr quad, Bill Murray, Ed McCarthy, Charles McIntyre, and stroke Art Gallagher, and were 2nd in the lightweight double, Ed McCarthy and Bill Murray. Penn AC was 4th in the Sr four and Sr 8. Art Gallagher won the dash at the NYAC regatta. In the Schuylkill Navy Regatta, Bill Murray won the lightweight Sr single dash, and John Clary won the Jr single. In the Independence Day Regatta, Penn AC was 2nd in the Jr quad and Int four. This regatta featured races for blind and disabled veterans from the naval hospital. Art Gallagher with Coach Tom Mack, raced Jack Kelly Jr. in the semi, and the winner, Kell, went on the final, being defeated by the Frenchman Sephariades. In the Middle States Regatta, Lou Backe won the Jr single. Penn AC was 2nd in the Sr 8, and Jr four, and Sr straight four. In the Schuylkill Navy Regatta, Jim Becket and Jack Bratten won the Vets Double. Penn AC was 2nd in the Jr four, and 3rd in the Sr 8. LaSalle H.S. won the City, Stotesbury Cup, and National Scholastic championship 8. In 1947, Jack Kelly Jr won the Diamond Sculls, fulfilling his fathers dream.
THE 1948 OLYMPICS At the first post-war Olympics at Henley, England, there were 27 countries and 86 entries. UniversityS. won 14 of the 26 individual gold medals. The US won two first, in the 8 and four. Penn AC renewed its Olympic tradition by qualifying in the Penn AC-NYAC combo double, Art Gallagher and Joe Angyal, a fireman from New York AC who won their heat, defeating Argentina and Hungary. In the semi-finals they drew the unprotected outside lane and finished second to Great Britain. Jack Kelly, rowing for Vesper in the single in one of the most dramatic finishes in sculling history, rowed in a merciless hailstorm and was beaten at the finish line by Risso of Uruguay. The US 8 from the University of California, won in 65:56 over Italy 6:25, and Norway in 6:10. The US four with, from the University of Washington, won the gold in 6:50 over Switzerland and Denmark. Yale’s straight four, was third behind Germany and Denmark, their straight pair made it to the repechage, where they led all the way, but a collision between Italy and France forced a re-row, and we did not advance. The Vesper pair with, Vince Deeney, Joe Toland and Jack McIntyre, made it to the repechage.
‘Kel’ won the Diamond Sculls at Henley in 1947-49. The US won the four, was third in the straight four, and California won the eight. Vesper pair with did not make the finals. Mervin Wood of Australia was awarded the Philadelphia Challenge Cup in 1948. That 1948 the Penn AC Senior Eight won the Schuylkill Navy , Middle States, Presidents Cup and the American Henley. Tom McCreesh, later to be a State Senator, won two Schuylkill Navy and two National Lightweight Single Championships. In the Schuylkill Navy Regatta, Penn AC won the Sr 8, J. Scholl, T. Down, J. Ervin, J. Gallanaugh, R. Penrose, J. Blessing, H. Curan, P. McMamara, and cox J. Coughlin, and 2nd in the Jr four, B. Protevi, W. Link, F. Mellet, R. Blessing, and cox C. Flannigan, and 2nd in the Sr four, J. Fruin, J. Gallanaugh, B. Penrose, J. Blessing, and cox A. Keenen. In the Middle States Regatta, Penn AC won the Sr eight, John Sholl, Tom Dowd, Joe Wilkes, Jim Gallagher, Jake Erwin, John Blessing, Hugh Curran, Paul McNamara, cox Jack Colgan, and 2nd in the Int four, 3rd in the Jr 8, and lightweight Jr single, John Kane. In the President Cup Regatta, Penn AC won the Sr 8, and Jr 8. In The Independence Day Regatta which was combined with the NAAO Championship events, Penn AC was 2nd in the Int double, John Wilke and John Scanlon.
In the 1949 Nationals at Buffalo, West Side won the Barnes trophy. Tom McCreesh won the lightweight dash and Penn AC was 3rd in the Sr straight pair, John Blessing and Paul McNamara, and in the pair with, Jack Sholl, Tom Dowd, Jack Colgan cox. In the Schuylkill Navy Regatta, Tom McCreesh won the lightweight dash, and Penn AC was 2nd in the Jr double, Mike Ontemuro and James Galanugh, in the Sr four, Jake Erwin, Tom Dowd, Hugh Curran, Paul McNamara and Jack Colgan cox, in the Jr quad, John Kane, Joe Landy, Mike Montemuro, and James Galanaugh, in the Int double, Hugh Monaghan, and Jim McHugh, and the Jr 8, Jim O’Kane, George Gothier, don Rogers, Tony DelBrillo, Jack Gegan, Joe Lane, Harry Hudome, Jim Ferry, and Andy Connen cox, and Sr pair, Hugh Curran and Paul McNamara. In the second Schuylkill Navy Regatta, Mike Montemuro won the Jr single, and Penn AC won the Jr four, Jim Ludlow, Jim Ferry, Joe Landy, Harry McIlhenny, and Grant Bengham cox. John Kane won the Jr lightweight gig. In the Independence Day Regatta, Hugh Curran was 3rd in the Jr single, 4th in the Jr quad, Kane, Landy, Hannon, and Galanaugh, and Sr double, Erwin and Curran. In the Canadian Henley, Tom McCreesh was 2nd in the finals of the open dash. Mike Montemura was 3rd at the Middle States in the Int single, and 4th in the President’s Cup. Kelly Jr won the Diamond Sculls and European Championships.
In 1950, a race worthy of a Greek tragedy, the famous Gold Challenge cup race, took place on the Schuylkill River between Jack Kelly Jr. the 1947-48 Diamond Sculls champion, Mervyn Wood of Sydney Australia, the 1948 Olympic champion, and Tony Rowe of England, the current holder of the Diamond Sculls. Wood, in 7:14, nosed out Kelly, 7:18, with Rowe third in 7:21. Kel later won the Diamond Sculls in 8:12 over Jack Trinsey.
In the Nationals in 1950, the new Grandstands were dedicated to the rowers who served in either World War. At the Nationals in Phila. no Penn AC boats were in the finals. St Joe Prep was 2nd in the American Rowing Assoc Regatta , LaSalle HS won the scholastic 8, and LaSalle College won the first 8. In the Schuylkill Navy Regatta, Penn AC was 3rd in the Jr 4, Tony Sylvestro, Bill Noland, John McHugh, Bill Phipps, and Tom Darcy cox, and 2nd in the Jr double, Joe Landy and Harry McElhenny, and 3rd in the Jr 8, Bernard Boyce, Bill Savage, John Bleacher, Tom Hegarty, Ed Kelly, Tom Lnagen, Jake McBreer, Tony DelBrello, and Andy Connen cox. In the second Schuylkill Navy Regatta, Penn AC won the In double, Jesse Ferry and Jim Galanaugh, and the Jr double , Jesse Ferry and Martin Ludlow, Dave Cool was 3rd in the Nov gig, and Penn AC was 2nd in the Jr four. In the Independence Day Regatta, Tom Dowd won the Jr single, and Jim Galanaugh won the Jr gig, Joe Landy and Harry McIlhenny won the Jr double, and Penn AC was 2nd in the Jr quad.
At the 1951 Nationals in Worcester Mass, Penn AC did not place in the finals . The U of Penn lightweight 8 won the Thames Cup at Henley, and LaSalle College won the first of eight Dad Vail Championships, and 2nd behind Harvard in the American Rowing Assoc Regatta. In the Schuylkill Navy Regatta, Tom Darcy won the Jr lightweight gig, and Penn AC was 3rd in the Int Double, Harry McElminney and Martin Lulow. Jack Scholl was 2nd in the Jr single, and 4th in the Jr double , Tom Keller and Dick Carroll. Roger Hull was 3rd in the Jr single. In the Middle States Regatta, Tom Darcy won the lightweight single, and Penn AC was 2nd in the Jr four. LaSalle HS won the Scholastic Championships and the Stotesbury.
THE 1952 OLYMPICS The 1952 Olympics in Helsinki, Finland was the first games since 1918 in which the Russians participated along with 31 other nations, with 113 rowing entries. The only Philadelphia entry was Jack Kelly Jr, who lost in a photo finish to Tjukalov of Russia in the semifinal. The Naval Academy won the Olympic eight (for the second time) in 6:25, over Russia 6:31 and Australia 6:33. Six of the rowers were sophomores, including the stroke. This 8, coached by Rusty Callow, and nicknamed the ‘Admirals’ was honored by a ‘pass in review’ parade, usually reserved for Presidents and Admirals. the US straight pairs, called the “Cinderella team’, Charles Logg and Thomas Price won the gold in 8:20, the first time the US won this event, ahead of Belgium 8:23 and Switzerland 8:32. The four with, Carl Lovested, Alvin Ulbrickson, Richard Wahlstrom, Matthew Leanderson, and Albert Rossi was third in 7:37 behind Czechs 7:33, and Switzerland 7:36. Navy’s straight four was 2nd in the repechage, after the officials would not allow a substation due to an illness. The races were held in windy conditions against the current.
In 1952, Jack Kelly Sr became the President of the NAAO. LaSalle College again won the Dad Vail in Boston. Under the magic coaching of Tom “Bear” Curran, the youngest member of the 1930 “big eight”, LaSalle won 6 Dad Vail championship varsity eight races in 1951-52-53-56-57-58. Penn’s lightweight 8 again won the EARC. University of Penn won the Thames Challenge cup at Henley in 1951-52 -55. The Korean war reduced the numbers of competing oarsmen at Penn AC, and it was not until the 1952 graduates of the LaSalle College crew, who rowed from Penn AC started to rebuild the ranks of the Club Champions. At the same time, Jack Galloway, a LaSalle Dad Vail Champion returned from the Navy and Georgetown Law School to develop a base for the junior program.
In 1953 Nationals at Phila, Tom McCreesh was 2nd in the Sr dash. Navy won the IRA and LaSalle won the Dad Vail. Penn AC was 5th in the Jr four at the Schuylkill Navy Regatta. Tom Keller was 2nd in the Jr single. At the Independence Day Regatta, Tom McCreesh was 2nd in the Sr dash. In the Middle States Regatta, Penn AC was 5th in the Jr four, and Tom Keller was 4th in the Jr single, and 2nd in the President’s Cup. Jim Rice died at 83, he rowed in over 50 professional races, Coached at University of Penn and Detroit BC.
At the 1954 80th Annual Nationals and Pan Am Trials in Worcester Mass, Jim Manning’s Vesper team won the Barnes Trophy. Navy won their 3rd straight IRA , and Dartmouth swept the Dad Vail, and Washington-Lee won the Scholastic Champs. In the Schuylkill Navy Regatta, John Wilkes was 2nd in the Jr single and won the special four, Rich Tully, Jerry Mackle, John McHugh, Bill Henderson, and Kip Tovey cox. At the Independence Day Regatta John St. Clair won the Jr gig, and was 3rd in the Jr double with W. Henderson, and 4th in the Int single. In the Middle States, A. Dilverio was 5th in the Jr gig, and Penn AC was 3rd in the Sr four, F. Ford, W. Henderson, W. Nolan, J. St. Clair, and J. Henderson cox. The Manny Flick High School races started in 1954. Rowing lost the great single sculler, Maj Joe Angyal USMC, when his Gruman Cougar Jet crashed not far from the NYAC rowing course. He flew over 65 missions in the Pacific War, and rowed with Penn AC’s Art Gallagher in the 1948 Olympics. The Schuylkill Navy held a Commodores Review at Peters Island to celebrate the completion of the river dredging project. A new survey of the race course was made by Albany & Doran Surveyors.
In 1955, the eastern US was hit by a hurricane which damaged many rowing facilities, and caused some regattas to be canceled. At the Nationals in Phila, Penn AC was 3rd in the lightweight quad, and in the Int 8. U of Penn won the EARC and Adams Cup, and Dartmouth won the Dad Vail in a near dead heat with Rollins. Jack St. Clair and John McHugh were 2nd in the double in the 112th Schuylkill Navy regatta. The Penn AC Jr eight was 3rd, D. Kerry, J. St. Clair, Paul Dougherty, Tom Darcy, Dave Unger, Dick Yocum, Joe Harris, John McHugh, and Jim Henderson cox. They were 2nd in the Independence Day Regatta, as was the Penn AC Sr 8, J. McHugh, J. Ferry, J. St. Clair, T. Langan, J. Galanaugh, J. Wilkes, J. Harris, J. McHugh, and A. Gentile cox. Penn AC’s Jr four was 2nd in the Middle States, Tom Darcy, Don Kerry, Jack St. Clair, John McHugh, and Chris Mattson cox, and 2nd in the Int four, Jim Galloway, Ed Haas, John Todd, John McHugh, and Chris Mattson cox. St Joe Prep, coached by Jim Manning, was undefeated, and won the Scholastic Nationals. U of Penn won the Grand Challenge Cup at Henley. In the first post war revival of the Pan Am games in Mexico City, Schuylkill Navy crews won four of the seven places on the US team, and won two of the three gold for the US, and two second places. Kel won the single, the Fairmount pair of John Kieffer and Tom McDonough, Paul McArdle cox was 2nd, the Vesper four was 2nd, and the Vesper 8 first.
THE 1956 OLYMPICS At Lake Wendoutree, Ballarat, Australia, the US won three gold, two silver and a bronze. All but one of the US seven entrants reached the finals. Yale won the eight in 6:35 over Canada 6:37 and Australia 6:39. and the Stanford and Navy crews won both pairs. The Stanford pair with, Dan Ayrault, Conn Finlay, and Kurt Seiffer, won the Gold in 8:26, West Germany 2nd in 8:29, and Russia 8:31. The Navy pair without, James Fifer and Duvall Hecht won the gold in 7:55, Russia 8:03, and Austria 8:11. This was the second consecutive win in the pair. The Detroit BC straight four and double were 3rd and 4th respectively. “Kell’ took a bronze medal in 8:11 behind the Russian Ivanov 8:02 (who also won the 1960-64 Olympic single) and Australia¦s MacKenzie 8:07. The Detroit BC double, Pat Costello and James Gardiner took a silver in 7:32 behind Russia who won in 7:24. The Buffalo West Side straight four took the silver in 7:18 behind Canada, who won in 7:08. The West Side four with, was 5th in the semi-finals.
In 1956, Jack Kelly Jr. won the Diamond Sculls at the Royal Henley, thus vindicating the slight given his father when he was excluded from competing at the Royal Henley in 1927.
In 1958 Penn AC won the Middle States point trophy, and the junior 8, intermediate four and 8 National Championships. In the Nationals in Phila, Hugh Curran was 4th in the Assoc single. LaSalle College won the Dad Vail. In the Schuylkill Navy Regatta, Tom Keller won the Jr single, John McHugh, Jim Becket Jr, Jack St. Clair, and Paul McNamara were 2nd in the Int quad. Penn AC was 2nd in the Int double, and the Jr quad 6th J. Pritt, E. Haas, P. Delaney, and L. Heine, and the Sr four was 3rd, P. Grexa, P. Ignas, G. Hefferman, J. McFadden, and T. Loschiavo cox, the Sr 8 was 2nd, J. McFadden, G. Hefferman, P. Grexa, T. Becket, P. Ignas, R. Yocum, J. St. Clair, T. Keller, T. Loschiavo. Dan Barrow was 4th in the Nov gig. In the Independence Day Regatta, Larry Heine and Franz Schneider were 3rd in the Jr double, and the Jr 8 won, J. McFadden, P. Grexa, T. Darcy, P. Ignace, J. Beckett, J. St. Clair, T. Keller, and T. Loschivo cox. Tom Keller was 4th in the Jr single. The Sr 8 was 5th. St Joe Prep won the Scholastic Championship . The great Syracuse and Penn Barge coach Ned Ten Eyck died. The Schuylkill Navy took over management of Penn Barge, #4 Boathouse Row.
At the 1957 Nationals in Phila, Jack St. Clair was 3rd in the Assoc single, and the Penn AC lightweight double was 5th. In the Schuylkill Navy Regatta, Bill Johnson was 4th in the Jr gig, and Paul Grexa 4th in the Jr single, and with Bill Henderson was 3rd in the Jr and Jr lightweight double. Tom Darcy was 3rd in the Assoc single. Penn AC was 3rd in the Jr lightweight double. In the Independence Day Regatta, Penn AC was 2nd in the Int double, Tom Darcey was 3rd in the lightweight dash, and Jack St. Clair was 3rd in the Int single. Tom Darcy was 6th in the Assoc single. St Joe Prep won the Jr four at the Canadian Henley and the champ 8 at the Phila Scholastic Championship. Cornell won the Grand Challenge Cup against Yale at Henley. They also won the IRA. LaSalle won the Dad Vail, Jack Galloway and Tom Loschiavo from Penn AC were in this boat.
In the 1958 Nationals in Phila, Gus Ignas won the Champ single in 7:20, and Penn AC Int 8 was 7th. W&L HS won the Thames Cup at Henley, defeating Harvard lightweight and the Kent School. Vesper, U of Washington and Tom McDonough of Fairmount RA raced in Moscow. LaSalle won the Dad Vail. Penn AC was 4th in the Champ 8, 3rd in the Int double, and 5th in the Jr double in the Schuylkill Navy Regatta. The Jr 8 was 5th in the Independence Day Regatta. Jack Galloway won the Jr lightweight single in the Presidents Cup for Potomac BC and Penn AC won the Jr quad. In the Middle States Regatta, Penn AC was 3rd in the Jr double, and won the Int four, Bill Henderson, Jerry Jerome, Paul Grexa, Jack St. Clair, and Jack Andrews cox, and won the Jr 8, Jules Cook, Chris and George Mattson, Jim Brazel, Steve Schwab, Jim Henderson, Jerry Jerome, Paul Donohue, and Jack Anderson cox. This boat also went on to win the Int 8. Penn AC’s Sr 8 was 4th.
In the 1959 Nationals at Detroit, Penn AC had no entries in the finals. In the Schuylkill navy Regatta, Jack St. Clair won the Int single, and the Penn AC Jr double was 5th, Tom Lynch and Tom Mattioli. At the President Cup the Penn AC won the Jr quad, Tom Keller, Jules Clark, Chris Mattson, and Jim Henderson. In the Pan Ams in Chicago, the US won 6 of the 7 events, Ted Nash was in the winning straight four. Wisconsin was a surprise winner at the IRA. Brown won the Dad Vail. Washington-Lee won the Stotesbury and Scholastic Nationals. Julius Barnes died, the donor of the Barnes Trophy and the power in the Duluth BC. Harry Parker joined Vesper after graduating from Penn, winning two Nationals, the PanAms and was the US single sculler in the Rome Olympics.
1960 – 1981return to top
IN THE 1960 OLYMPICS in Rome the US four without from Lake Washington B.C. with Art Ayrault, Ted Nash, John Sayer and Rich Wailes, won the straight four, coming from behind at the first 500 to win in 6:26 over Italy 6:28 and Russia 6:29. The Navy 8 lost for the first time in US Olympic participation, finishing 5th. West Germany won in 5:57 over Canada in 6:01 and Czechs in 6:04. The German coach Carl Adams had studied U.S. interval training methods in track and field and applied them to rowing. The Seattle pair with was third, Richard Draeger, Conn Finley and Henry Mitchell cox, in 7:34, behind West Germany 7:29 and Russia, 7:30. The Pair without, Ted Frost and Bob Rodgers were also 5th. Harry Parker in the single also finished fifth. The Seattle four with did not advance through the semi-finals, and the Vesper double of Bill Knecht and Jack Kelly Jr failed in the repechages. Only one medal in the gold silver and bronze were won by non-European crews. This relative poor showing in this Olympics led to a evaluation our selection process and a proposal to form camps, and at Ted Nash’s suggestion, set realistic time standards. Ted also won The gold in the Pan-Am in 59-63, and 67. California won the IRA, and Navy won the sprints. Brown won the DadVail. At the Independence Day Regatta, Steve Schwab was 3rd in the Jr gig, and Penn AC was 4th in the Jr quad. In the President Cup Regatta, Penn AC was 4th in the Jr four, and 5th in the Jr 8. At the Middle States Regatta, Penn AC was 6th in the Jr double, 3rd in the Jr LW double, and 3rd in the Jr 8. Harvard LW won the Thames Cup at the Henley, and set a course record. John B. Kelly Sr died at the age of 72. He competed from 1909-25, and was the National single champion 1914-15-16-19- and 20, and won the Olympic gold in the single and double twice in 1920-24. Also Rusty Callow died, he was Coach at U of Washington, U of Penn and Navy, where his crews won the 1952 Olympics and a collegiate record of 31 straight wins. In the 1961 Nationals in Phila, Ted Nash won the doubles with Bill Flint, rowing for Lake Washington. Penn AC did not place in the Nationals. In the Schuylkill Navy Regatta, Penn AC was 2nd in the Sr four, and the Int four. At the Independence Day Regatta, Penn AC was 5th in the Jr LW single, Al Cassale, 2nd in the Sr four, and 3rd in the Jr 8. In the President’s Cup, Penn AC won the Jr quad, Bill Kingsmore, Bill Clark, Paul Grexa, Steve Schwab, and was 3rd in the Jr double, Jerry Kyle, and Jim Brassel. In the Middle States Regatta, Penn AC won the pair without, Steve Schwab and Paul Grexa, and the Jr quad, Bill Clark, Steve Schwab, Paul Grexa, and Jerry Kyle, and was 2nd in the Jr 4, Sr pair, and Jr LW single, Al Casale. Msgr. Bonner won the Stotesbury and was 2nd in the Scholastic Nationals. California won the IRA, and Navy was the Sprint Champ. Brown won the DadVail. Stu Mackenzie of Australia won his 5th Diamond Sculls. Jim Manning, the great Vesper Coach died, and Tibor Machan took his place.
In 1962 the Penn AC Juniors won the Presidents Cup in Washington DC In 1963 they repeated their victory in this regatta as an intermediate eight. George Mattson, from the 1932 Olympic straight four, and the coach of West Catholic, took over the coaching position at Msgr. Bonner, and continued for 14 years, which was the basis for the Penn AC junior champions. A State Dept Cultural exchange program bought the Russian crew to the US, and for the first time in 30 years a club 8, Vesper, beat the best of the colleges, coming in 2nd to the Russians and beating the IRA champs Cornell in The Independence Day Regatta. Ivanov took the single, beating Sey Cromwell and winning the Philadelphia Challenge Cup. At the Nationals in Buffalo, Sey Cromwell of Riverside BC won the single for the 2nd time. He paced 3rd twice at the FISA Regatta. Ted Nash was in the winning straight four by five lengths and earned a Pan-Am berth. Bill Knecht of Vesper won in the double, and made the fourth national team. Undine won the quad. Vesper was 2nd in the 8 to St Kits, and qualified for the Pan-Am games. Detroit won the point trophy. Cornell won the IRA. Navy Cornell and MIT had a dead heat at the EARC. Georgetown won the DadVail. At the American Henley, Al Casale was 3rd in the LW single, and Penn AC four was fourth. Steve Schwab and Paul Grexa were 2nd in the Sr straight pair at the Schuylkill Navy Regatta. At the Canadian Henley Sey Cromwell broke Joe Burk’s 1938 record of 7:15 in the single. Ted Nash’s straight four from Lake Washington won. At the President Cup Regatta, Penn AC won the Jr four, and was third in the Int double and Jr 8. In the Middle States, Mike McHugh, George Avery, Tom Frankey, and Bill McCusker won both the Jr and Int four, and was 3rd in the Sr four. W&L won the Scholastics. 1963 was noteworthy for the visit of the German Ratzeburg 8, coached by Karl Adams, which defeated every collegiate and club in the US and Canada. In 1960, the Germans won the Olympic 8 , the first time a foreign crew ever won the 8 race that the US entered. Dietrich Rose from the German team, moved to Phila and became active at Vesper. This was the beginning of the development of the great Vesper Olympic 8 with the arrival of the Amalong bros., Emory Clark, Boyce Budd and Bill Stowe with Stan Cwiklinski and Hugh Foley from LaSalle College and Bill Knecht from LaSalle HS. St Catherine’s won the US Championship Barne’s Trophy in Phila. In this regatta, Don Spero beat Sey Cromwell in the Champ single, and Ted Nash was in the winning four without from Lake Washington. The US won 4 of the 7 PanAm events in Brazil, the single, both pairs, the double The eight was 4th. Marietta won the DadVail. In the Schuylkill Navy Regatta, Penn AC was 2nd in the Jr gig, Dan Bell, and 4th in the Jr 4, Jr 8, and Sr four. Penn AC won the Jr 8 at the President’s Cup Regatta.
IN THE 1964 OLYMPICS Tokyo. The US returned to world rowing supremacy with 2 Olympic gold, 2 silver and a bronze. The Vesper club 8 won the gold in 6:18 over West Germany 6:23, and Czechs 6:25. in a much delayed thrilling nighttime final. Joe and Tom Amalong, Boyce Budd, Emory Clark, Stan Cwkinski, Hugh Foley, Bill Knecht, Bill Stowe, Bob Zimonyi Cox, and Coach Al Rosenburg recaptured the winning Club tradition in the Olympic 8 competition for the first time since the Vesper gold medals in 1900-04. The US pair with Ed Ferry, Conn Fidlay, Hensry Mitchell cox, won the gold in 8:21 ahead of France 8:21, and the Dutch 8:32. Don Spero NYAC was 6th in the single. In the double, Seymour Cromwell and Jim Storm were 2nd in 7:13 behind Russia who won in 7:10 . The starboard stroked, stern steered straight four, Geoffrey Picard, Richard Lyon, Theodore Mittet, and Ted Nash took third in 7:01 behind Denmark 6:59, and England in 7:00.0 The Potomac pair without, Tony Johnson and Jim Edmonds were 3rd in the reprecharge.
In 1964 the Penn AC Junior Eight was undefeated and climaxed its season by winning the Nationals in the Int Eight, Andy Monaghan, Jerry Giambatista, Tom Talone, Jerry Dudley, Clem Kopf, Phil Jonik, Mike Tracey, and Greg Steffan cox, and the Int Four, Mike Tracy, Greg Steffan, Clem Kopf, Phil Jonik, and Tom Fox cox. Jack Galloway, Coach. It is of note that every boy in this group was under 16 years old. In 1965, they were compelled to row as seniors due to their previous wins, and lost all but one race to older oarsmen. Most of these young men left and never competed again as oarsmen. This was a clear indication of a general dissatisfaction with the old classification. Jack Galloway, Dietrich Rose and Chuck Colgan from Vesper BC suggested age class races similar to those held in Europe. From the inception of these youth classifications, Penn AC has consistently had winning crews. Jack Galloway was the recipient of MaltaÆs Ulman award for outstanding service to rowing. Penn AC was 5th in the LW4 at the Nationals, and 4th in the LW 8, and 6th in the LW four at the Canadian Henley. Penn AC won the Int 8 and 3rd in the Sr 8 at the NYAC Memorial Day Regatta. At the Schuylkill Navy Regatta, Penn AC won the Jr 8, Tom Talone, Jack Gallagher, Mike Rolle, Jerry Giambatista, Clem Kopf, Phil Jonick, Mike Tracy, and Greg Steffan cox, and was 2nd in the Jr double and four, and 3rd in the Jr LW single, Mike McHugh, and 5th in the Sr 8. In the Independence Day Regatta, Penn AC was 3rd in the Int 8, and 2nd in the Jr 4. In the Middle States Regatta, Vince Bindo was 4th in the Jr gig, and Penn AC was 2nd in the Sr four, and 4th in the Jr four. The US won 5 of the 7 events at the Worlds at Bled. W&L won the Princess Elizabeth cup at the Henley. Georgetown won the DadVail, Harvard won the Sprints, and California won the IRA.
In the Nationals at NYAC, Don Spero lost the champ single at the last stroke to Detroit’s Bill Maher. Vesper won the 8, and both fours, Fairmount won the double and quad, with Detroit taking the majority of the other races. In the American Henley at Worchester Mass, Penn AC was 2nd in the LW 8, and Jr double, , Baxter and Harris, and 3rd in the Jr four, Jr pair, Jr 8, and Jr four. In the 120th Schuylkill Navy Regatta, Penn AC won the Sr four, Jerry Dudley, John Campbell, Clem Kopf, Greg Steffan, was 2nd in the Jr 8, and 3rd in the Jr double, and Jr four, Jim Griendling was 4th in the Jr LW single. In the Independence Day Regatta, Penn AC was 2nd in the Jr and Int four and Jr 8, 3rd in the Jr four and 4th in the Sr 8. In the Middle States Regatta, Penn AC took 3 first, and was runner up with 71 points. Jack Galloway Coached Phil Jonik who won the Int single, the Sr four, Greg Steffan, Jerry Dudley, Phil Jonik, John Campbell, and Tom Fox cox, and Sr pair, Jerry Dudley, John Campbell, and Tom Fox, the Sr pair without was 2nd, and the Sr 8 3rd. Tabor Academy won the Princess Elizabeth Cup at Henley. Vesper lost to Ratzeburg in Germany. Harvard won the Luzerne Int Regatta. Northwestern won the DadVail, Harvard swept the Sprints, and Navy swept the IRA. George Hines coached the LaSalle HS 8 to a upset victory in the Scholastic Nationals over W&L.
In 1967, junior oarsmen from Msgr. Bonner, rowing from Penn AC and coached by Murph Symkowski, represented the USA in Ratzeburg Germany winning the Petite finals. Penn AC also won the Nationals in the Lightweight eight championship. Penn AC had row over wins in the Jr four and 8 in the NYAC Memorial Day Regatta. At the American Henley, Penn AC Sr pair won, Ed Harris and Steve Baxter, and won the Jr 8, Paul Bracken, Mark , Bob Harkins, Marty Quinlan, Bob Beatty, Leo Burt, Jim Wickersham, and Tom Rafferty cox. In the Schuylkill Navy Regatta, Penn AC was 2nd in the Int and Sr four, the Sr pair and Sr 8, and 3rd in the Jr four. In the President Cup Regatta, Penn AC was 2nd in the Jr four, Jr double, Jr 8, and 3rd in the Sr four. Harvard won the Thames Cup, and Don Spero won the diamond Sculls at Henley, and also won the Worlds at Bled. Marietta swept the DadVail Regatta. Wisconsin won the IRA. Phila Girls RA won the women’s Nationals 8. W&L won the Scholastic Championship. Phila Girls RA won the Women’s National. Jack Bratten, 3 seat in the World Champ Penn AC 8 died at 62. He coached Penn AC, St Joe Prep, and LaSalle College, and was Commodore of the Schuylkill Navy 1949-50.
In the Nationals in 1967 in Phila, the New Zealand 8 won in heavy rain. Penn AC won the LW 8, Jerry Dudley, Larry O’Malley, Andy Monaghan, Kevin O’Malley, Lou Sonzogni, Phil Jonik, Drew McKinley, Greg Steffan, and Tom Fox cox. Penn AC quad, Jim Griewdling, Paul Grexa, Steve Baxter, and Jim Wickersham were 3rd. In the LW four, Penn AC was 6th. Andy Monaghan, Larry O’Malley, Drew McKinley, Kevin O’Malley, and Tom Fox were 6th. in the Int 8, Penn AC was 5th, Dave Lewis, Vince Morrelli, Mike SChell, Dave Young, Bob Gibbons, John Petro, Joe Cunningham, Dan Jordan, and Mike Cippoloni cox. Ed Harris and Vince Bindo were 4th in the LW double at the Canadian Henley, Cornell won the Thames Cup at Henley. The US won 6 of the 7 events at the PanAm in Winnipeg, Canada. US won the pair and 2nd in the 8 at the Worlds in Vichy France. In the American Henley at Worchester, Mass. Penn AC won the LW 4, Andy Monaghan, Drew McKinley, Larry and Kevin O’Malley, Tom Fox cox, and 4th in the Jr pair, 5ht in the Sr 8, and 7th in the LW single, Ed Harris. The Penn AC Jr LW double won the Schuylkill Navy Regatta, Vince Bindo and Ed Harris, Vince was 2nd in the Jr LW single. The Sr 4 was 3rd. In the Phila Youth Regatta, Penn AC won the cadet 8, Steve Bukata, Steve Jonik, Chuck Crawford, Jim Rowe, Chuck Baxter, Jim Powers, Mike Harkins, in O’Brien, cox, and the cadet four, Chuck Baxter, Steve Jonik, Steve Bukata, Jim O’Brien, and Mike Cipollone cox, and 2nd in the pair without. In the Independence Day Regatta, Penn AC was 4th in the Jr four, and 2nd in the Sr LW 8. Marietta won the DadVail. Harvard won the EARC, and Penn won the IRA. W&L won the Scholastic Championship.
IN THE 1968 OLYMPICS in Mexico, John Van Blom of Long Beach was fourth in the single. West Germany’s 8 won in 6:07 over Australia and Russia. In the straight pair Larry Hough and Philip Johnson, was second in 7;26 behind East Germany 7:26. In the double, Bill Maher and John Nunn were 3rd in 6:54 behind Russia 6:51 and the Dutch in 6:52.
The Penn AC Juniors coached by Joe Sweeney represented the US at Amsterdam, taking the Bronze Medal behind The East Germany 8 that won was the same boat that won the next World Championship in Moscow. This Penn AC Junior Eight went on to win the Intermediate Eight National Championship the following year.
In the 1969 Nationals, McKibbon and Van Blom won the gold in the double and The Penn AC Senior Eight won, and a Youth Pair won in the Worlds in Greece. In 1971 a combo Penn A.C. Vesper Straight Four won the Youth Nationals and represented the US in Yugoslavia. 1971 was the real start of the USRA camp system.
IN THE 1972 OLYMPICS Munich. The US won only one medal, the silver taken by the camp eight, New Zealand won in 6:08, U.S. 6:11, East Germany 6:11. Jim Dietz was fifth in the single. Chuck Crawford a former Msgr. Bonner and Rutgers oarsman, ,made the Camp Lightweight Eight and went on to win the FISA World Championship in Germany. In 1974 Bill Belden won the LW Single at Lucerne. In 1975 Chuck, who was coaching the St. Joseph Prep program, began a rebuilding program with a Junior Eight that in 1976 made the finals in the World Junior trials at Princeton. In 1977 the Junior Eight finished 2nd at the Nationals at Washington DC and the Junior Lightweight Eight won the Nationals and Canadian Henley. Title IX of the National Education Act was amended to eliminate sex discrimination in education programs and led to the largest increase in participation of rowing in the US.
IN THE 1976 OLYMPICS in Montreal In the first Olympics that women participated in rowing, The U.S. women’s eight was third behind East Germany and Russia. East Germany won the 8 in 5:58 over England 6:00 and New Zealand 6:03. The U.S. straight pair, Calvin Coffey and Mike Stains was second in 7:26 behind East Germany 7:23. Ted Nash was their coach. Joan Lind Van Blom was second in the women’s single. She also won a silver in the ’84 Olympic quad. In 1978, Dan Lyons, a 2nd generation PENN AC member, stroked the Naval Academy Varsity Eight to the IRA Championship. Dietrich Rose took the job as the Penn AC Elite Coach in 1978. He recruited top college oarsmen and won the Elite Eight as a combo Vesper, Penn AC camp boat in the Nationals at Camden NJ Three Penn AC oarsmen also were in the Junior FISA Championship Eight in Yugoslavia, two were in the Quad and one in the Straight Four.
In 1979 in San Juan Puerto Rico, the U.S. elite eight from the U. of Penn graduate center coached by Ted Nash won the gold over Canada and Cuba. Bill Belden of Undine BC won the world LW singles in 1974-79 and silver in 1980. The Penn A.C. Junior Eight and Straight Four won the Nationals at Occoquan Va. The next year the Penn AC Junior Eight, made up of St. Joseph Prep oarsmen fresh back from a trip to the Royal Henley in England, was unchallenged at the trials, and competed in the FISA Worlds in Belgium, placing 9th out of 23 entries. The difference between fifth and ninth was only 2 sec.
In the 1980 Olympic games in Moscow, the unfortunate political decision to withdraw the U.S. team from the Moscow Olympics denied our athletes their chance for glory, and plunged the Olympic system into a downward spiral of political retributions and commercialism. East Germany 8 won in 5:49 over England 5:51 and Russia 5:52.
In 1981 the Penn AC Juniors finished 3rd in the Independence Day Regatta. In 1982, Penn AC was designated as the Junior National Camp with Chuck Crawford as the head coach. In the world Junior Championships in Italy, the Camp Eight came in second, loosing to the West Germans by 1/10 sec. 1978 to 1982 witnessed the start of the full fledged Masters program, and boathouse row was in the fore front with combo boats that won Master Championships in Red Bank NJ Burlington NJ and Brigantine NJ Penn AC masters were in Schuylkill Navy boats that won National Championships in Boston and Miami. Gus Ignas won the Master Worlds in Amsterdam in the Double and Eight in 1982.
CROSS COUNTRY AND BASKETBALL Besides this impressive record of Rowing Championships, Penn AC has been a traditional power in cross country and basketball. The club holds the Schuylkill Navy Cross Country team trophy five times 1907-11, an in 1950, 53, 54, 55, 56, and 1960. Bill Clark held the course record when he won the æturkey trotÆ in 28:12 in 1960. Joseph Fleith won 6 times between 1907-11. Penn AC won the Schuylkill Navy basketball championship in 1940, 56, 66, 68, 69 and 1971.
THE NEW BOATHOUSE The record of Penn AC during this period was remarkable considering practically the total effort of the Club was directed to building the new addition From 1964 until 1982. This project required the club to incur a $24,000 debt at the same time they lost the financial support of the downtown Penn AC which supported the rowing club since 1924. Only through the able financial guidance of the Treasurer Jake Ervin, and a half dozen members who put up collateral, were we able to keep the club open. Henry Backe, Steve Baxter and others helped finance this project.
The Ted Nash Erareturn to top
THE NASH ERA In 1983, Ted Nash came to Penn AC as the Elite Coach, after 18 years as the Head Coach at the U of Penn from 1965 to 83. Coach Nash had rowed in High School in California, and after serving as a Army pilot during the Korean War, returned to row at U. of Washington, and was coached by Stan Pocock at Lake Washington Rowing club. Ted Nash won the Olympic gold in the straight four in 1960 at Rome, the Bronze in the same event in 1964 at Tokyo, plus numerous Nationals, World, Canadian, Pan American Championships. Ted Nash was also the first President and CO-founder of the national Women’s Rowing Association and started a blind rowing program in 1961. Penn AC started a meteoric rise in World Competition not seen at the Club level since Vesper’s success at the turn of the century and 1960, or Penn AC during the 1930 Frank Muller era. This fledgling 1983 program produced outstanding results in the Nationals in the Straight Four and Pair With, John Walters, Kish Aausbeck, Steve Shellens cox, plus the LW Senior Eight, the Int Double and Single which took the bronze. A four with coached by Ted Nash won the Pan AM’s at Caracas Venezuela.
IN THE 1984 OLYMPICS in Los Angeles, ten Penn AC members were part of the U.S. Olympic team including Kevin Still, Bob Espeseth, and Douglas Herland cox, who took the bronze in the Pair with in 7:12 behind Italy 7:05 and Romania 7:11. The men’s straight pair, David DeRuff and Vesper’s John Strotbech were 6th. In the double, Brad Lewis and Paul Enquist took the gold in 6:36, beating Belgium 6:38, and Yogoslavia 6:30. The womenÆs Eight won the gold, beating the Romanian and the Dutch. The Romanian women won five gold and one silver in their six races. In the menÆs Eight Canada won in 5:41, U.S. second in 5:41 and Australia in 5:43. The U.S. Four With also took the silver, England was first in 6:18, U.S. 6:20 and New Zealand 6:23. Charlotte Greer was 2nd in the women’s single behind Valerie Racila of Romania. John Biglow was fourth in the men’s single in 7:12. Anne Marden, Lisa Rohde, Joan Lind, Virginia Gilder, and Kelly Rickon were 2nd in the women’s quad behind Romaina. The U.S. won a total of 2 gold, 5 silver, and 1 bronze at Lake Casitas. These sparse gold medal results is the more regrettable since the Soviet teams withdrew in retribution of our withdrawal in the 1980 Olympics. Several of the Olympians were to join the Penn AC team to train for the next Olympics. Penn A.C. also won the San Diego crew classic. Joe Sweeney was awarded the Malta BC Ulman award.
Two Penn AC members became local heroes with their dramatic rescue attempt at the Fairmount Dam. Bill Lamb, the head St. Joe Prep coach, and Mike Fountain, a elite sculler and former Marine, deliberately drove their launch over the falls in a heroic rescue attempt of two Brooks School coaches who launch was swept over the dam in a spring freshet. Ms. Kennworth was saved, but Ms. McBulleyÆs body was never found. Bill and Mike were later honored by City Council.
1985 set the stage for a new level of excellence to come. the youth program at Penn AC excelled with wins the junior Eight at the Independence day regatta. The elite program with John Riley, Ted Swinford, and Dr. Steve Shellans in the Pair was fifth the finals at the Worlds in Hazewinkel Belgium. Penn ACÆs straight pair, Dan Lyons and Chris Clark, replacing Dave Krmpotich who was sick, won by four lengths, beating the 1984 Olympic Champs, Romania. The Shipley school started its rowing program at Penn AC with Jack Galloway and Jim Hanna as coaches.
IN THE 1986 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP the Penn AC Straight Four made a spectacular entry on the World Championship scene with a gold at Nottingham England in the straight four. Ted Swinford, Dan Lyons, John Riley and Bob Espeset came from behind to outpace the East and West Germans and Czech boats to win the first gold in this event since the 1960 Olympic, the first time since 1974 that the U.S. won a World Title, and the first Philadelphia team that won a worlds since 1964. Vince Dougherty was the club manager for this magnificent achievement. In the Nationals, a combo Penn A.C. Vesper eight won the gold. The Penn AC four with and without also took first place. All the Penn AC athletes were rejected by the National Team.
1987 was a massive building year for the next Olympics. Penn AC was designated as a USRA training center. In the nationals, Penn AC won the gold in the Senior Eight, Four With and Straight Four. Both Fours were manned by the same World Champions of the previous year, plus a Silver in the Pair With, John Kissick and Ed Ives, John Fish cox. Penn AC had a Silver in the LW Single John Pinnick, and a bronze in the LW Four With. Penn AC won the Hanlan trophy at the Canadian Henley with wins in the senior Eight and Four With. In the Nationals the Straight Pair won a gold. The Straight Four went on to win a Gold in Italy and a Bronze at the worlds in Copenhagen, despite EspesethÆs seriously injured back. The U.S. world team had 21 Penn AC members. The Penn AC eight won the San Diego crew classic over two Canadian eights and other Olympic and National teams from England and France.
1987 witnessed the infamous Oxford mutiny, when the Americans, Dan Lyons, Huntington, Cadouz Hudson, Clark Pennyand Fish quit in protest over the elected team coaches Dan Topolski and Mike Spracklen giving preference for a seat in the boat to the English team captain Donald MacDonald over Chris Clark. The classic media quote æwhen you recruit mercenaries, you can expect some piratesÆ indicates their Anglo cultural xenophobia. Oxford went on the win the boat race without the Americans, and their coach Topolski published a book that did not adequately represent the American position. Hopefully Dan Lyons will publish a sequel giving their view. The 1988 camp system was a difficult selection process, with final selection, the men’s and women’s pair without, not selected until 11 days prior to departure for Korea. Also the issue of substitution of LW events for existing events highlighted the controversy of the USRA’s board responsibility to represent their constituencies views or make independent objective decisions.
The Olympic Trials at Mercer Co. N.J. provided an unusual drama not normally associated with rowing. The conflict between the camp Vs clubs reached a climax. Penn AC insistence on open trials was vindicated in the Straight Four trials, when the Penn AC second boat, tagged ôkiller Bö by the media, Rich Kennly, Dave Kumpotich, Tom Bohrer, and Raoul Rodriquez, beat the A boat of Bob Espeseth, John Riley, Dan Lyons, and Ted Swinford in the best two out of three races. In addition the Straight Pair trials had 7 entries from Penn AC The ultimate winners Kurt Bausback and Ed Ives had been cut from the Eight camp. The second place Penn AC pair, John Riley and Ted Swinford became the team spares. Bob Espeseth, Dan Lyon and John Fish cox, captured third. At the Worlds, the US camp 8 won the gold, the first in 30 years since Penn AC won in 1930. The women’s 8 took the silver. The Penn AC took the bronze without the injured Bob Espeseth.
IN THE 1988 OLYMPICS in Korea. Penn AC’s Dave Krmpotich was selected as the US team torch bearer. Germany dominated the rowing, taking 10 medals, including 8 gold (4 of the 6 women’s event). The East German women won all the gold medals except the straight pair, which the Romanian’s won. The semi-final events were delayed for five hours for NBC TV scheduling. The Olympic village reported many cases of “Seoul slows” stomach virus which had to effect performances. The U.S. camp 8, coached by Chris Korzeniowski, was third after leading up to the 1500 m, West Germany won in 5:46, Russia 5:48.1, and U.S. 5:48.2 Penn AC had 12 of the 34 menÆs Olympic team. The Penn AC Straight Four, Raoul Rodriguez, Tom Bohrer, Dave Krmpotich, and Richard Kennelly Jr., had blazed to a first in their heat in 6:03, but their 6″07 in the semis was only good for 3rd, and the E. Germans in the other race did 6:00. Penn AC’s four took the Silver Medal in a brilliant duel with the East Germans who won in 6:03, U.S. 6:05, West Germany 6:06. In the women’s single, Anne Mardin was 2nd in 7:50 behind the East German, Jutta Behsrendt 7:47. In addition to the Olympic effort, the Penn AC squad captured the Barnes trophy in the Nationals with wins in the Sr 8, Int 8, 4 with, Straight Four third in the Straight Pair. Tom Bohrer was 2nd in the Boston crash BÆs. he Straight Four meddled in Luzerne.
If the previous year was an emotional and dramatic peak for Penn AC and the club system, 1989 produced in sheer volume of medals and number of participators, a vindication of the club system. In the Nationals at Indianapolis, Penn AC accounted for over 30 medals, 11 gold, 10 silvers, and 7 bronze, and the Barnes trophy for the third straight year in a row. In the pair with, John Moore, Mike Howley and Wehner won in 7:30, in the straight pair, Tom Borher and Roule Rodriquez won in 6:45. Penn AC won the four with and without and the pre elite 8. In the Canadian Henley, they were nearly as successful with 8 gold, 4 silver, and a bronze, and the Harley trophy, also won for the third time in a row. Overseas, the Penn AC Straight Four beat 30 other national teams in 6:18 at Piediluco, Italy. In the worlds trials, where time standards were put into effect, the Straight Four set a US record of 6:02 in this event. John Riley, coached by Sean Drea, also qualified in the Single. At the worlds in Bled Yugoslavia, Penn AC was represented by one member in the Eight, one in the Four With plus the Straight Four, John Rusher, Raoul Rodriquez, Tom Bohrer, and Rich Kennelly. The Straight Four won a silver behind the Germans by a deck length, even though Tom Bohrer was sick during the finals. They repeated the Silver at Lucerne. At the Royal Henley, the Pair With and Without and Straight Four all won first place Gold, presented by H.R.H. Princess Anne. Tom Bohrer was 2nd in the Crash BÆs at Boston. Thomi Keller retired as FISA President. In 1990, 30 Penn AC elite oarsmen were represented in a building process directed towards the 1992 Olympic. In the sports festival the Penn AC Eight, Four and Straight Pair won silver medals. At the head of the Charles, two fours placed in the top Four with event and the elite Eight was first. The club took 8 medals in the Head of the Schuylkill. There was disappointment by the failure of the U.S. to send the Straight Pair, Scott and Numn to Tasmania because they did not make the minimum time standard. The frustration of not sending our developing athletes to the world championships while the USRA office staff were sent defies all logic. The US won five medals, The women’s 8, pair and LW double won silver, and open double a bronze. The men’s LW double won the gold. The HW men did not medal in any event. At the Goodwill Games in Russia, the US women’s double and pair took silver medals,, and the men’s quad were 4th, but the US 8 came from 4th to 2nd place finish loosing to the Germans. Three rowers in the 8 Penn AC oarsmen, Pat Manning, Tom Bohrer, and John Riley 12 Penn AC oarsmen were in the Worlds, but did not medal. For the 4th straight time, Penn AC won the Barnes Point Trophy with 10 first places In the Nationals in Camden NJ., rowed in scorching temperatures and high humidity. The Senior Int eight, Straight Four, straight pair, senior single were first, and the Four With was second. Tom Bohrer was first in the Boston Crash BÆs, beating former champion T. Briton and Redgrave, both Olympic gold medal winners. In Piediluca, Italy the Straight Four and Four With were 2nd and 3rd. Penn AC won the open eight in 1988- 89, 90, and 91, and was second in 1986, 87 at the Head of the Charles. They also won the Head of the Schuylkill in 1986, 87, 88, 89, 90, and 91. The US junior 8 were 3rd in the Jr Worlds in France behind the East Germans who won for the 7th straight time. The FISA Masters were held in Miami, with a strong Boathouse contingent represented.
In 1991, at the Nationals, Penn AC won the Barnes Trophy with a contingent of 60 rowers, and won the elite 8. In the Nationals at Indianapolis, the Penn AC 2nd elite eight was third behind the pre-elites,6:26 and Vesper. In the four with, Penn AC was second and third, the straight four and the Pair Without and elite eight were first. Our Olympic bound straight four won, beating Vesper and Canada in 6:07. In the Worlds at Vienna, Penn AC’s straight four, McLaughlin, Manning, Michael Porterfield and Tom Bohrer were 2nd to Austrians, setting the stage for a fierce rivalry that climaxed in the 1992 Olympics. The Olympic Pair with John Moore, Aaron Pollock and Steve Shellins cox, was first ahead of the other Penn AC boats, Peterson and Berkner McCollum. In the straight pair, two Penn AC boat were first and third, and in the single, John Reley, rowing for Fairmount Boatclub was second, and Chris McKibbon of Penn AC was third behind Mexico. The Penn AC Junior eight came in second. In the Pan-Am games, the host country Cuba won all the sweep events, the U.S. straight four with Bill Serad, Shane Peterson, Rauol Rodriquez and Will Porterfield took a silver. Martin Crew was a member of the Pan-Am silver eight. The Pair with, Joe Gregamwich, John Radmacher, and Peter Cipollone cox, won the silver. The light weight camp Four with, Kane Lorin, Rob Canavan, Chris Kerber, and Al Steffan Jr. won the gold, and the Penn AC four with Dave Kumpotich, Karl Bjergo, Mike Filpone, and Damen Anastas, John Fish cox, won the silver. The St. Joseph Prep varsity 8 advanced to the semi finals at the English Royal Henley. The National team coaches were named, Igor Grinko from Uktaine, the first National Sculling Coach, and Hartmut Buschbacher from Germany, National Women’s Sweep Coach. This during the year that the Berlin Wall came down, and the dissolution of the Soviet Union, and the reuniting of Germany. From 1966 to 1990, the DDR has won 153 gold, 74 silver, and 42 bronze medals. They had 200 full time coaches.
In 1992 the Penn AC elite eight finished 2nd at the Head of the Charles. For the past five years Penn AC had been first at the head of the Charles, and first for the past 7 years at the head of the Schuylkill. In the Olympic trials at Mercer County N.J. The Penn AC Straight Four and Pair With both qualified for the Olympic. John Moore, Arron Pollock, and Steve Shellans led for 1400 meters in the finals, finishing a strong 5th in record time in a stacked race that had all eventual medal winners in it.
At the Amsterdam International Regatta, the Penn AC Straight Four, Tom Bohrer, Doug Burden, Jeff McGlaughlin and Pat Manning took the silver behind the æAwesome FoursomeÆ Australians who won in 5:55 in dead calm conditions, both boats broke the existing world record in flat calm water. The same Four had been undefeated for 2 + years until the Penn AC Four defeated them in Amsterdam by 7 seconds prior to the Olympics. At the Olympics in Barcelona, The camp Eight had Mike Teti, Jeff Kiepacki, Rich Kennelly and cox Mike Moore from Philadelphia finished fourth behind the Canadians, Romanians and Germans. John Riley and John Mckibben of Penn AC were in the Quad, Sean Hall and Jack Rusher in the Four With and Mark Berkner was the Olympic team spare. The US womenÆs Eight finished 6th. The Canadians won 5 medals compared to the US Single medal won by the Penn AC Straight Four. Penn AC had a total of 15 athletes and two coaches on the 1992 Olympic squad. Behind this superb Four, there were 4 other boats from Penn AC who kept up the pressure to excel that only competition can provide. The silver Straight Four was awarded the Vesper Cup, as was Ted Nash the previous year. Ted Bielefeld, Mike Still, Jon Bernstein, Ken Detweiler ,Jim Neul , Raoul Rodriques, Ken Piree, Jason Honck, Sean Hall, Jonathan Brown, Don Smith, Cheid Jingbluh, Jack Rusher, Laird Reed , Jim Pew Scot Erwin, Tim Evans, John Fish, Alden Zechar, and Pete Cippolone were the Olympic representatives from Penn AC.
IN THE 1992 OLYMPICS Barcelona Spain. Penn AC had 15 rowers and 2 coaches on the team. The Penn AC’s men’s four, Pat Manning, Tom Bohrer, Jeff Mclaughlin, and Doug Burden won the silver. Burden and McLaughlin were in the bronze eight, and Bohrer in the silver straight four at Seoul in ’88. The men’s pair, John Moore, Aaron Pollack and Steve Shellans, cox, first in the Petit finals, in the men’s four, Sean Hall and Jack Rusher, John Riely and John McKibbon were in the quad were second in the Petit finals, in the eight Jeff Kiepacki, Richard Kennelly, Mike Moore, cox, finished fourth, Mark Berkner was a spare. Ted Nash and Matt Diffenbach were the Penn AC Coaches. This was Coach Nash’s 7th time as an Olympic participant, having produced 16 medals since 1966. At the Nationals at Indianapolis, the combo Penn AC-Undine Elite eight was third behind the Canadian and the camp boat. The four with Bill Serad, Detweiler, Crew, Price. Jeff Gurrola, cox, was second behind NYAC and the straight pair, Ken Piree and Bill Serad won in 7:02. This year was also the first time Penn AC eight competed in the Grand Challenge race at the Royal Henley, and came in third. Will Porter, Dan Lyons, Shane Peterson, Mike Peterson, Jim Pew, Don Smith, Ted Swinford, Scott Erwin, and Peter Cipollone cox, defeated the Eastern Sprint and IRA Champions from Dartmouth to advance to the semi-finals, where they lost to the German World Champion LW eight. The Penn AC straight four won the gold in Amsterdam, defeating the defending champion Australians, who went on to win the Olympics. At the Head of the Charles, first place Brown University was disqualified for an ineligible rower. Vesper was declared the winner and Penn AC was second.
In 1993, although Penn AC was dropped by USRA as a National Training Center and lost all funding, they still produced the hoped for medal quest with 16 Penn AC members and 2 coaches on the National team, and a 25 person contingent of senior B that competed in Mexico, Florida and at the Pieduluco Italy international Regatta, where Don Smith and Fred Honebein, drove to the Gold in the straight pair in a time of 6:50, over favored Slovenian, Yugoslavia and France. They had previously won the National Team speed orders at Mercer Co. NJ over the entire pool of US elite candidates. At the American rowing Championships at Topeka Kansas, the Penn AC menÆs Int was 3rd, the menÆs Sr straight pair were 2nd and 3rd and first in the menÆs SR eight, Sr four, Int eight, and Sr four. In the 1993 Nationals at Indianapolis, the straight pair, Smith and Honebein, the straight four with Jeff Klepacki, Sean Hall, Jason Scott, and Scott Munn both won the gold. The championship camp eight also had four Penn AC members, Don Smith, John Riley, Fred Honebein and Tom Murray. Penn ACÆs Ingrid Klich and Andrea Thies were in the womenÆs winning double and single.
In the World Championships at Lucerne, the US won five medals, one being a gold in the LW menÆs four. The Penn ACÆs straight four, with only one member from the ’92 Barcelona Olympic Silver boat, won its heat and the semi-finals in 5;58 upsetting Croatia (winners at Lucerne) and twice beat Poland who were third at the previous Olympics. The final was a hard raced event with our team a deck up on France and closing on Poland and Canada. France won, Poland second, and the U.S. team was 3rd. UndineÆs double was third and the camp womenÆs quad was second. Penn AC had 18 members on the US World team, including the ClubÆs straight four which captured the bronze medal. Jeff Klepacki, recovering from a disk operation, Sean Hall, Tom Bohrer and Jim Neil had a total of 71 workouts before the Worlds. Their was the 7th World or Olympic medal in eight years, a record unequaled by any other Club, University, or Camp team. Tom Bohrer and Pat Manning in the straight pair did not make the finals. The Penn AC womenÆs double was 3rd in the Petite finals. At the Head of the Charles, the Penn AC eight was first, the open eight was second behind Vesper which had four Olympians in the boat. Mammy Galloway was second in the womenÆs club single, and Ingrid Klich was sixth in the womenÆs championship single. Ingrid won the Catalina 24 hr open ocean race. The Penn AC men also took first and second in the Championship Challenge Regatta in Ohio.
In the 1994 American rowing Championship at Topeka Kan, the Penn AC women’s double won the gold. The men’s camp eight won the gold at the worlds in Indianapolis in 5:24, with Don Smith and Chip McKibben from Penn AC The women’s LW straight four also won the gold, and the menÆs four were second, with Peter Cippollone cox. At the head of the Charles Ingrid klich was fifth in the single. Penn AC won 8 first place medals in the Kings Head Regatta, and six in the Navy Day Regatta. Boathouse Row lost a former Penn AC oarsman, coach and bonhomie, Gus Ignas, who had won 17 gold medals in e US Nationals and many other national and internationals races. Dr. John Bergen died, a former Commodore and NAAO President, and long time Penn AC member. At the 1995 Nationals at Lake Lanieer in Gainesville Ga. The women’s Penn AC-Chattanooga combo, with Ingrid Klich, Andrea Thies, Julia Chilicki, and Cecile Tucker quad was second behind Canada, and the Penn AC’s 8 was 5th. In the æ95 Worlds at Tampwew Finland, the US had four gold medals.; the women’s 8, heavy and light straight four, and LW straight pair. Ingrid Klich, who made a miraculous recovery from major surgery and Cecile Tucker from Penn A.C. were in the women’s quad. The menÆs 8 was third, which included Penn AC’s Sean hall, Jeff Klepacki and Fred Honebein. At the Pan Am games in Argentina, the US led with 18 medals, 10 gold medals. and 8 silver. The menÆs 8 won the Jon Brown, Don Smith, Fred Honebein and Sean Hall from Penn AC The US. won the LW four without, Men’s 8, LW men’s 4 without, women’s pair, LW men’s double Men’s four, LW double, straight four, LW 8, and straight pair. At the American Rowing Champ in Syracuse, Penn AC won the Sr 8, and Sr 8 dash.
THE 1995 WORLDS in Tampere Finland, for the first time the U.S. won 5 gold, a silver, and a bronze. The sweep women won medals in every event. The women’s 8 won in 5:50, and the men’s four won in 6:37, with Penn AC’s Peter Cipollone as cox. The women’s LW straight pair won in 7:55 over England and Denmark, the women’s straight four won the gold in 7:03 over Australia and England. The first time since 1984. The LW women’s straight four won in 7:08 over England and Germany, and heavy pair won the gold. and the women’s straight pair was 2nd behind Australia, and the women’s quad was 5th, and the women’s LW double 7h, the Heavy double was 11th. The men’s 8 took a bronze in 5:57 behind Germany and Holland., the quad was 6th, the straight four was 7th, the single and straight pair were 9th, Penn AC’s Foss Flemer was 5th in the LW single, after protesting the repechage when a reed was found stuck on his fin. Ross was also the LW single representative in the Pan Am Games, and teamed up with Lt. Andy McMarlin U.S.N. to take second in the Worlds. Lt. Dale Hurley U.S.N., Don Smith, and Fred Honebein were first in the striaght pair. The men’s LW 8 was 5th, and the men’s straight four was 7th, the LW double 8th, the LW quad and straight pair was 9th, the men’s LW straight pair was 10th the men’s double 20th. Ted Nash was the LW men’s coach.
Tom Borher was second in the Boston Erg races with a time of 7.25. In the Head of the Charles, The Penn AC masters 8, with Dave Krupotich, Danny Lyons, Jim Pew, Jon Shields, Drew Schrieber, John Moore, Chris Clark, Pete Howle, Chris Ives, Ted Swinford, Kurt Borsheeden, and Wen Huang Cox, was second, but were first in the Head of the Schuylkill with a course record of 12;29. Ingrid klich and Andrea Thries won the double, Tom Bohrer won the single. Penn AC finally completed the new building with the completion of the women’ locker and shower facilities. In the 1996 Olympic Trials in Gainsville Ga. Forty four rowers earned places on the Olympic team. The men’s straight pair and the men’s and women’s four with were dropped from the Olympics this year, to make room for the three new lightweight events, the men’s LW four and double, and the women’s LW double. The men’s and women’s open double had to place in the top two slots in Switzerland because these boats did not place in the Worlds the previous year. Tom Bohrer and Pat Manning after winning their heat by 5 sec. over Walker and Lewis, suffered a heartbreaking setback when, in a severe rough water and headwind, were swamped by a referee launch. Four of the boats in this race did not finish. In a comedy of errors, the Vesper double protested due to sickness caused by food poisoning, and Andy McMarlin of Penn AC and Ty Bennion of Bachelors B.C. paddled in deliberately last to save themselves for the final. They went on to qualify but did not make the requalifier race at Lucerne, Switzerland. The Penn AC Olympic womenÆs open double, Jennifer Device and Michelle Knox, after qualifying in the speed orders at Eakins S.C., placed first in the trials with a time of 6:52 at Gainsville Ga. and made the Olympic team by winning at Luzerne Switzerland. John Riley was involved in a serious car accident and could not compete in the single trials that he had trained so long and hard for. The Penn AC assault vehicle suffered multiple tragedies, and the Olympic boats from the whole mid Alantic area only made it with the infusion of a great deal of cash and the assistance of various State troopers and nocturnal mechanics. Joe Sweeney was the trial referee and starter for the Yale-Harvard-Cambridge-Oxford exhibition races. Finally, both the men and women’s eight races were unchallenged, making the concept of trials by competition serendipitous for the camps.
THE 1996 OLYMPICS Alanta, Ga. The U.S. team won three silvers; the men’s quad, and the women’s HW and LW double, and one bronze, the LW men’s straight four. Penn AC’s women double, Jenny Devine and Michelle Knox Zaloom, were 9th as were the LW men’s double, Steve Peterson and Tom Auth. Fairmount R.A’s. Tereas Bell and Lindsay Burns were 2nd in 7:14 behind Romaina 7:12. In the men’s quad, Jason Gailes, Eric Mueller, Brian Jamieson, and Tim Young, took the silver, in a time of 5:59 over Australia’s 6:01. Germany won in 5:56. Karen Kraft and Missy Schwen were 2nd in the women’s pair in 7:01.7 behind Australia 7:01.3. Adam Holland and Mike Peterson were 7th in the men’s pair. Ruth Davidson was 6th, and Cyrus Beasley was 10th in the singles. The women’s quad, Julia Chilicki, Andrea Thies, Cathy Symon, and Cecile Tucker were 8th. The men’s four, Tom Murray, Jeff Klepacki, Sean Hall, and Jason Scott were 11th. The men’s LW four, Bill Carlucci, Marcus Schneider, Dave Collins, and Jeff Pfaendner, were 3rd behind Denmanrk in 6:09, and Canada 6:10. The men’s eight, Jon Brown, Jamie Koven, Ted Murphy, Porter Collins, Bob Kaehler, Doug Burden, Steve Segalofff cox were 5th. The women’s eight, Jennifer Dore, Amy Fuller, Monica Tranel-Michini, Betsy McCagg, Catriona Fallon, Laurel Korholz, Mary McCagg, Anne Kakela, and Yaz Faroog cox, were 4th. At the 1996 Nationals, Penn AC had the best showing since ’85, with 6 gold 3 silver and one bronze. The 4x, Andy McMarlin, Peter Nichard, Rob and Chris Desino won in 5:59. In the 4-, Mat Madigan, M. Wherley, Cludden and P. Michard won. Zegarra, Turner, Field, and Durksen won in both the 4- and 4+, and Jenny Devine and Michelle Knox won. Dave Lefebver, Curt Browder and Gherst won in the 2+. Chris and Rob Desino won in the 2x. The eight had all the above men, won the gold. Andy McMarlin won a bronze in the LW 1x. At the Championship Challenge Penn AC’s straight pairs were the top three , and the LW pair were first and third.
IN THE 1966 WORLDS in Strathclyde Glasgow Scotland, was the first time that the World Championships were held during the Olympic year for boats not included in the Olympics. The U.S. won two gold’s in the women’s four and LW pair, and two bronze, in the LW women’s single and four. The women in the straight four, who had been discouraged from trying out for the Olympic Camp because they were too small and inexperienced, decided to come to row at Penn AC with Ted Nash.
The Penn AC’s ‘FAB FOUR’, Rosana Zegaarra, Amy Turner, Sara Field, and Emily Dirksen, in their first international competition, pulled off a stunning upset by winning the gold in 6:49, and overcoming a monstrous 3 sec Romanian lead at the start and coming from behind at the last 250 meters at a 44 to defeat the stern four from the Romanian’s winning Alanta Olympic eight and previous 2 time world champions. Before their heat, Emily’s adjustable oar handle came apart, and Ted Nash ‘walked on water’ to get a replacement oar and insure the race was held up for them. Sarah Garner won the bronze behind a Romanian sculler from their winning Olympic lightweight double, leading up to the 1500 meter mark in a strong head wind. The menÆs pair, Dave Lefebvre, Curt Browder, and Rich Gherst cox, coached by Ted Swinford and Joe Sweeney, placed a respectable eighth overall against a much heavier field. The U.S. women’s LW straight pair, Chria Smith and Ellen Minznar, also won the gold in 7:56 over England. The U.S. women’s LW four got a bronze.
At the American rowing championships in Syracuse, Penn AC’s Peter Michaud won the Sr single in 7:11, and was 2nd in the dash. Penn AC also won the men’s Int double in 7:57. Mammy Galloway was 2nd in the Sr single dash and Sr single, and Penn AC won the men’s Sr 4 in 6:39, the men’s Sr Pair in 6:59, and was 6th in the Int four.
At the Navy day Regatta Penn AC had six wins; the World Championship Women’s four with, Mamie Galloway and Mat Madigan in the singles, the men’s club 8, the high school LW and open eight. At the Head of the Schuylkill Penn AC won the women’s four in 15:13, the H.S. LW 8 in 14:12, the H.S. 8 in 14:22, H.S. four in 15:13 men’s club 8 in 13:04, Sara Garner in the women’s single and Mat Madigan in the men’s single won, as well as the masters 8 in a blistering time of 14:32. The Head of the Charles was washed out in a heavy storm. At the Head of the Potomac, the men’s four with, Chris Diedre, mike Herley, Matt Prechtal and Stu Chase Cox beat Navy’s two boats comprising their varsity 8 for ’96. Andy McMarlin in the single, and Erick Nelson in the Int single won. Mat Matigan and Pete Michael were second in the double, and the 8 was fourth. At the Head of the “Hooch ” in Alanta, Penn AC was 1st in the men’s double with Browder & Duffy, and Chris Duffy was 2nd in the men’s single, and 1st in the men’s 8. In the Head of Occquan Va. Mat Madigan was 1st and Pete Michaud was 2nd in the single.
While we look with pride to the glorious achievements of past champions, we should rededicate our club to providing future generations the opportunity to compete and excel, to be their personal best.