In 1961, a few GW Men in the DC area for summer were out on the Potomac practicing when they found themselves rowing against a heavyweight 8 visiting from Germany. It just so happened that some of those oarsmen were the same ones who had won an Olympic gold medal for the unified German team during the 1960 Rome Olympics.
GW Crew Alumni Stu Ross recalled, “It was obviously not a race but they did play with us a bit at the start and we took them out for beers after the race.”
Working for food.
Rowing for beer.
The Fall season of 1984 was the final year in which GW Crew actively rowed with wooden blades.
Varsity teams had already begun using the significantly lighter carbon fiber blades.
Novice teams would run to retrieve their oars before practice – not out of fitness aspirations, but because the diameter of the oar handles varied so much. Being able to wrap fingers but a little more than halfway around the oar handle would have a great influence over one’s blade control for that practice.
Novice boats were also all made of wood. The “Black 8″ named because the riggers were painted black and the “Mary C” named after Coach Cullen‘s Mary counted as the fleet.
Exercise science, sports psychology and kinesiology have their place in achieving athletic excellence, but so does guts, will and determination. Coach Devlin subscribed a bit to those later ingredients as he would jokingly ask, “What’s with all this stretching?! You ever see a dog stretch before it goes running?!”
Contributor: Coach Paul Wilkins