Photograph: Werner Schmidt

Saturday, March 31, 2012

CUWBC On Training Camp

On 27 March, Tim Koch briefly mentioned the results for this year’s Henley Boat Races (and provided a link with more details about the races). Cambridge’s women won the heavyweight race, and yesterday I came across a film clip from their training camp in France in January. It’s a beautiful and funny video, shot by lightweight coach and professional photographer, James Appleton. Enjoy!

Friday, March 30, 2012

Lassi, Part 2

As mentioned on HTBS on 7 March, the Swede Lassi Karonen is the athlete of the month on FISA’s Here follows part 2 of an interview posted on FISA’s website. Click here to read it.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Tim Koch: Which ‘Boat Race’?

Swansea and Cardiff Universities eights in 2006. Photo: Wikipedia

Regarding the last days’ talk about the upcoming ‘Boat Race’, Tim Koch writes,

When people talk of ‘The University Boat Race’ they are usually referring to the annual tussle between Oxford and Cambridge which began in 1829. There are, however, many other boat races between rival academic institutions.

Second in seniority to the ‘Battle of the Blues’ is the Harvard–Yale Regatta (‘The Race’) which began in 1852. It is the oldest collegiate athletic competition in the United States (though, unlike its British counterpart, it nowadays has little popular following).

The Edinburgh University v Glasgow University Boat Race was founded in 1877 and so is (almost certainly) the third in line.

More recent times have seen the establishment of more of these private matches. In 1971 Manchester and Salford Universities set up the Two Cities Boat Race. Bristol University and the University of the West of England first raced each other in ‘The Varsity’ in 1995. The University of Durham and the University of Newcastle have run the Northumbrian University Boat Race since 1997. In 2006 Cardiff and Swansea Universities held the first Welsh Boat Race.

The latest contest is between the University of Greenwich, the University of Kent and Canterbury Christ Church University who have raced each other in the Universities at Medway Boat Race since 2007.

This is not an exclusive list. I would be interested to know of other similar events, especially outside of Britain. For example, I recently discovered ‘The Great Race’. which is between an eight from the University of Waikato, New Zealand, and ‘a prominent team’ from outside of the country. In recent years the men’s crew has beaten crews from Oxford, Cambridge, Washington, and Harvard! Their website is here. Below is a promotion video of the race:

Göran R Buckhorn: Already here I can add that the two oldest universities in Sweden, Uppsala University (founded in 1477) and Lund University (which tracks it roots back to 1425, but the current, ‘modern’ university was founded in 1666), annually race each other since 1992. However, boat racing has been going on at both universities earlier than that. See also here.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Coaches' Meeting...?

Reading Tim Koch's report from yesterday, Molesey BC gave Cambridge a good match last Sunday. And Molesey did very well at the Head of the River Race where they came in third.

Talking about Molesey BC, it seems someone sneaked in a camera at one of their coaches' meetings... Or, it could be any club coaches meeting, really...

(HTBS takes no responsibility for this video's content...)

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Light Blues V. Black Death

CUBC v. MBC from Putney Bridge.

HTBS’s Tim Koch writes,

Following the previous day’s race between Oxford and Leander,
 Sunday 25 March saw Cambridge race Molesey Boat Club (a.k.a. ‘Black
 Death’). Peter 
McConnell’s race report is on the Boat Race website.
it he writes:

Racing a crew from Molesey who were 3rd in last week’s Head of the 
River Race but were defeated in two hard races by Oxford a fortnight
 ago, it was important for Cambridge to put down an emphatic marker
 during this fixture.

CUBC bow and 3 on stroke (port side), 2 and 4 on bow (starboard side). See more here.

In a busy race for the umpire, the Light Blues led Molesey by 1 ½ 
lengths at the St Paul’s School finish (just through Hammersmith
 Bridge). There followed a second race starting below Chiswick Eyot. At 
the Boat Race finish near Chiswick Bridge, Molesey won by ¼ length but
 Cambridge had earlier been obstructed by a cruiser near the Bandstand.

American Jack Lindeman, who once was struck by lightning.

Looking at McConnell’s report
 for the Molesey–Oxford race two weeks ago it seems that the Dark
 Blues won by greater margins on that occasion. How much significance 
can be read into this is debatable.

Thirty miles away, the ‘Henley Boat Races’ were held on the same day.
 The Heavyweight Women’s Race and Lightweight Men’s Race were won by
 Cambridge while Oxford’s Lightweight Women and Heavyweight Reserve
 Women were victorious in their events. Details are here.

Monday, March 26, 2012

New Exhibits At The River & Rowing Museum

Ran Laurie and Jack Wilson: 1948 Olympic champions in the pair.

To get you – if you are a rower in England that is – in the right mood for the upcoming Olympic rowing this summer, the River and Rowing Museum in Henley-on-Thames will open a new exhibit on 31 March, “The Perfect Rower – 100 Years of Racing for Glory”, The Guardian reported the other day. The exhibit, which will run until 30 September, 2012, will concentrate on the two previous Olympic rowing regattas held in Henley, in 1908 and 1948.

There will be information and stories about former British rowing heroes, who raced at these two Games. At the 1908 Olympic regatta, all the gold medals went to Great Britain, so for sure there will be artefacts on display about for example Don Burnell and F.S. Kelly who rowed in the Leander crew called the ‘Old Crocks’.

At the 1948 Games, Great Britain took two golds, in the double sculls and the coxless pair. These two masterly Olympic championship crews, who HTBS has written about on several occasions, were Ran Laurie and Jack Wilson (the pair) and Dickie Burnell and Bert Bushnell (the double; picture on the left). Rowing historian Chris Dodd, who has worked on the exhibition, is interviewed in the article in The Guardian. Read it here.

Then, between 26 May and 12 August this year, the River and Rowing Museum will also have an exhibit up and running about rowing artwork, “Oarsome – The Art of Rowing” by Tonia Williams, who HTBS wrote about in January, 2012.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Tim Koch: A Significant Result?


HTBS’s Tim Koch sends a fresh report from yesterday’s races on the Thames. Tim writes,

On Saturday 24 March the Oxford Blue Boat had its final race before the big day on 7 April. It took on an eight from the Leander development squad, racing from Putney to Chiswick Steps, and won by 20 seconds. A full race report is on the official Boat Race site here. Interestingly, six of the LC crew were in a boat that raced Cambridge on the 10 March (race report here). On that occasion Leander also lost but the Light Blues had to work much harder than Oxford did to beat the boys from the Pink Palace. The Cambridge race was described as by Peter McConnell as ‘tightly fought’ while he called yesterday’s fixture ‘a mismatch with Oxford dominant from the moment umpire Richard Phelps dropped his flag’. Perhaps Leander just had a bad day, most of the crew were in the boat that came 16th in the Head of the River last week so they should not be slow. Alternatively, perhaps Oxford are very fast. We will find out in two weeks.

Oxford lead Leander comfortably at Hammersmith Bridge.

Isis (Oxford Reserve Heavyweight Men) raced Tideway Scullers and won by 2 1/2 lengths.

Today, Sunday 25 March, Cambridge race Molesey Boat Club and Goldie (Cambridge Reserve Heavyweight Men) race Imperial College.

Also today is the ‘Henley Boat Races’, that is the Oxford and Cambridge women and the lightweight men racing 2km over the Henley Reach:

Women’s Boat Race - OUWBC v. CUWBC

Women’s Reserves - Osiris v. Blondie

Lightweight Women’s Boat Race - OUWLRC v. CUWBC Lightweights

Lightweight Men’s Boat Race - OULRC v. CULRC

As reported in February on HTBS, from 2015 the heavyweight women will be racing on the Tideway with the heavyweight men. This gives rise to an interesting conundrum for the girls over 59 kg / 130 lbs. The final decision on who goes in the ‘Blue Boat’ and who goes in the Reserve Boat is not made until a few weeks before the race. The problem with this is that the First Boat has to train for a 6.8 km race while the Second Boat has to train for a 2 km event. I suppose that initially everyone will train for the longer distance and when the reserve crew is chosen it will then adapt its practice for the shorter course.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Sir Steve - 50 Years Today!

Though the Daily Mirror is not HTBS's normal daily read, yesterday the tabloid had an interview with rowing celebrity Sir Steven Redgrave, due to his 50th birthday today, 23 March.

Happy Birthday, Sir Steve!

In the interview Redgrave reveals that had he only known that the Olympic Games in 2012 were going to be held in London, he just might have continued to row on a top level, only to have the chance to row on home waters. However, next time he is out on the Thames it is in a kayak. Read more here – and watch a video interview with a very relaxed Sir Steve, who hits half a century today…

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Finalists For The 2012 Thomas Keller Medal

FISA has just announced the six finalists for the 2012 Thomas Keller Medal, the most distinguished award in the sport of rowing. The finalists are: Constanta Burcica (Romania), Vaclav Chalupa (Czech Republic), Caroline & Georgina Evers-Swindell (New Zealand; the twins are treated as one entity – see photograph above), Manuela Lutze (Germany), Vasileios Polymeros (Greece), and Bryan Volpenhein (United States). Read more about the finalists here.

This year’s Thomas Keller Medal will be presented on 26 May 2012 at the 2012 Samsung World Rowing Cup in Lucerne, Switzerland. It will be presented by Dominik Keller, the son of FISA’s former president Thomas Keller, and Denis Oswald, president of FISA.

About the Thomas Keller Medal

The winner of the Thomas Keller Medal receives an 18-carat gold medal. The Thomas Keller Medal is the highest distinction in the sport of rowing. It is awarded to recognise an exceptional international rowing career as well as exemplary sportsmanship and legendary aspect.

The award was named after the late President of FISA, Thomas Keller “Thomi”, who was born in 1924 and elected President of FISA in 1958, at the age of 34. He was then the youngest-ever president of an international sports federation. Following the 1988 Olympics, Thomi Keller spontaneously awarded the FISA Medal of Honour to Peter-Michael Kolbe and Pertti Karppinen to commemorate one of the greatest rivalries in the history of the sport and recognising their exceptional talent and sportsmanship. This shaped the idea of the Thomas Keller Medal which was initiated by the Keller family following Thomi’s passing in 1989 and was first awarded to the great Norwegian oarsman Alf Hansen in 1990.

Each year, the winner is carefully selected by the Thomas Keller Medal committee, after a broad international nomination process, to ensure that the true values in which Thomi so strongly believed are represented in this award.

To view the full list of winners to date, please click here.

(Photographs from FISA's

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Clever Workout

The Clever Workout*

Manning the oars
Of a boat in a Brees
On the Rivers
Allowed him Ponder
His place in the universe.

Philip Kuepper

*For all non-American readers of HTBS, and for those of us who know nothing about ‘American football’, Philip leaves the following comment: “I couldn’t resist some fun. Manning, Brees, Rivers, and Ponder are all professional football quarterbacks. May my poem help keep their game afloat.” The image is added by HTBS editor: some cheerleaders showing good leg-work at a football game.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

The 80th Head Of The River Race

The Czech Rowing Federation on the left overtake Molesey at Hammersmith Bridge.

A wet St Patrick’s Day, Saturday 17 March, saw the 80th Head of the River Race on the Thames in London. Here is Tim Koch report:

When this event was founded in 1926 it was the first processional boat race of its type and so the organisers have never felt it necessary to add ‘men’s’ or ‘eights’ to its title. A potted history of the HoRR is given in my report on the 2011 race.

Hammersmith Bridge: any half decent crew can race the 12 minutes to here. But after this point it starts to hurt.

This year saw 404 entries with the usual good turnout from Germany (29 crews), Switzerland (12), and Spain (6). There were single representatives from Austria, Hungary, Russia, Ireland, Italy, Sweden, The Netherlands, and France.

The Czech Rowing Federation (No. 3) won in a time of 17 minutes 34 seconds with Leander I (No. 1) second place (17m 56s), and Molesey I (No. 2) third place (18m 01s). The only other non British crews to win the Head of the River Race were RV Münster von 1882 (Germany) in 1993 and 1994 and The Netherlands Rowing Federation in 1995. The course record still stands at 16m 37s, set by the British National Squad in 1987.

Professor Boris Rankov, six times Oxford-Cambridge Boat Race winner, marshals from Hammersmith Bridge. His electronic megaphone gave out so he fell back on using something much more appropriate to a professor of ancient history.

The full results are here.

Hammersmith Bridge: for some the race is over, for others it is only 60% done.

Round the Harrods Bend before the long, hard straight to Putney.

The Fairbairn Trophy for the crew that goes 'Head'.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

The Art Of Being Aware Of Rowing History...

Debenhams, the old department store that was founded in London in 1778, is launching a new clothing collection this spring, the Daily Telegraph wrote in yesterday’s paper. Debenhams, which now seems to have stores all over the place, asked members of Thames Rowing Clubs to introduce this nautical collection called Nautica. I really hope that Thames RC and its members are making a couple of quid out of this deal. And to be honest, the article in the Telegraph is more about the Tideway club than the clothes. Members of the club are interviewed and talked about, amongst them, the great Olympic champion and medallist Jack Beresford.

However, I cannot help thinking that if Debenhams knew a little more about rowing history and the company’s own history, they might have picked another rowing club in London to help them launch new clothes in an Olympic year (please, members of Thames RC, don’t take it personally…). Because if the department store had picked Auriol Kensington Rowing Club by Hammersmith Bridge, they could have made a big hullabaloo about one the club’s finest oarsmen and stars: William ‘Wally’ Kinnear, who took an Olympic gold medal in the single sculls 100 years ago, at the Stockholm Games, and was working for…. yes, correct: Debenhams!

Debenhams actually displayed his ‘Pineapple Cup’ in their store window after Wally Kinnear had won his first Diamonds at the 1910 Henley Royal Regatta. Read more about Kinnear and Debenhams in HTBS’s Tim Koch’s great article The Story of Wally Kinnear, or ‘Not Tonight…’

Friday, March 16, 2012

‘The Song Of The Stroke’

There are many testimonies about Harcourt ‘Tarka’ Gold’s accomplishments as an oarsman, coach, Henley Steward, Chairman of the ARA, and sportsman in general. This little piece will celebrate him as a pamphleteer as it is 92 years ago this month his 20-page pamphlet The Common Sense of Coaching was published.

However, Gold was not the sole author of this short publication. He did not write part one, only part two. The first part was actually written by the members of the Oxford University Service Crew which Gold coached for the King’s Cup in the Royal Henley Peace Regatta in 1919. During the crew’s last week of practise before the regatta, Gold writes in the preface, he requested the crew record their attempt “to resuscitate the style and traditions of Oxford rowing after the lapse of five years.”

The only person exempted from taking part in this experiment was the crew’s president, the “pre-war oarsman” Ewart Horsfall, who had rowed for Oxford’s winning boats in 1912 and 1913, and the losing one in 1914. Horsfall also won an Olympic gold medal in the eights at Stockholm (and would take a silver in the eights at the 1920 Amsterdam Games).

The second part, Gold wrote primarily for the coaches of the College Boat Clubs at Oxford as they were believed to have little previous coaching experience. Gold states that it is hard to explain “rhythm” to novice rowers, but writes that “Dr. Warre once gave me the delightful description of rhythm as ‘the song of the stroke’”. Coming from Warre’s Eton and rowing at Oxford meant that Gold’s teaching was based on the orthodox style.

A couple of interesting anecdotal notes are that the Australian crew, which beat Oxford in the King’s Cup final, in an initial stage of their training on the Thames, had their countryman Steve Fairbairn, coach at Thames RC and a renown pamphleteer, to help out. A Cambridge eight, which was also competing for the King’s Cup, had another Australian to assist them, Stanley Bruce of Trinity Hall. (He would later be elected Prime Minister of Australia, and be granted an hereditary peerage, Viscount Bruce of Melbourne.)

After Bruce had coached Cambridge for the Peace Regatta, he dictated some notes which was published first in 1936 as a 24-page pamphlet, Rowing – Notes on Coaching. Both Gold’s and Bruce’s pamphlets are impossible to get hold of today. Time to re-publish them?

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Dermot St. John Gogarty at Trinity College, Dublin

Rowing historian Greg Denieffe has more information about Dermot St. John Gogarty. Greg writes,

Following on from Tim Koch’s enquiry on 12 March and Göran Buckhorn’s follow-up on 13 March, I have found some information on Dermot St. John Gogarty’s involvement with Dublin University Boat Club (Trinity College, Dublin).

In the late 1920s Trinity adopted Steve Fairbairn’s methods and found them to their liking. To implement the new style they needed a coach who was fully conversant with these methods and Dermot St. John Gogarty fitted this requirement perfectly. Gogarty first appeared at Islandbridge in 1933 and was an immediate success as Trinity’s senior coach. They retained the Irish Senior Eight Championship in 1933 having earlier won the University Grand Challenge Cup at Trinity Regatta. In the final of the ‘Grand’, they beat their alumni club, Lady Elizabeth Boat Club, a crew stroked by Gogarty.

The 1933 Trinity College senior eight, Irish champions with Coach Dermot Gogarty wearing his London RC cap. (This photograph is from Michael Johnston’s book The Big Pot.)

Gogarty also kept his hand in by sculling for Lady Elizabeth and won The Emerald (senior) sculls at Trinity Regatta in 1933 and 1934. According to Raymond Blake in his wonderful book In Black & White, A History of Rowing at Trinity College, Dublin: “All this was only a sideshow compared to the serious preparation that was being undertaken for Henley”.

Gogarty was obsessed with winning the Ladies’ Plate and drawing on the experience of previous years Trinity only entered one event at Henley in 1934 and that, of course, was the Ladies’ Plate. They had earlier finished fourth in the Head of the River in London and won the senior eight at Boyne, Cork, and Limerick as well as at their home regatta.

Trinity progressed steadily to the final of the Ladies’ Plate and faced Jesus College, Cambridge, in the final. A contemporary account captured the excitement of the occasion:

“The greatest race of the day was the Ladies’ Plate. Jesus started at 11, 20½, 40. Trinity College, Dublin, at 10½, 20½, 39. Dublin got off very fast, and was half a length ahead at the top of the Island, and three quarters at the first signal. At the Barrier, reached in 1 minute 59 seconds, the same time as the Grand, they were rowing 35 to the 35 of Jesus. At Fawley (3 minutes 18 seconds) three seconds inside the record, Jesus went up a little, and at the next signal were only half a length behind. Here Jesus spurted at 38 against 36 and came up very fast to get level below the mile. Then Dublin gained a few feet at the mile and kept it till 100 yards from the finish. Jesus were a little better together, and in two splendid ‘tens’ at 40 up the enclosure which Dublin could not answer, they just got three feet ahead to reduce the record by seven seconds in 6 minutes 48 seconds. Nowhere over the course would Leander (the Grand winners) have been really clear of Jesus. They were the neatest, quickest, and longest Jesus crew since the Great War, and they improved with every day’s racing.”

The 1934 senior eight, Ladies’ Plate finalists, photographed at Henley. Standing (left to right), R.M. Halahan (2), J.A.F. Montgomery (4), D. St. John Gogarty (coach), J.A. Shillington (captain, 1933), A.B.K. Tyndall (bow), T. Shillington (3). Sitting: J. Richards-Orpen (6), M. Horan (7), D. McGillycuddy (stroke), R.J. O’Neill (cox, in front), G.C. Drinkwater (coach), J.C.F. MacCarthy-Morrogh (5). (This photograph is from Raymond Blake’s book In Black & White.)

The Henley adventure took a lot out of the Trinity crew and they were beaten in a heat of the 1934 Irish championship. However the foundation for an amazing sequence of results in the event was now in place and between 1935 and 1946 Trinity won ten out of twelve Irish senior eight championships.

It would seem that Gogarty was coaching at Trinity College, Dublin, University College, Dublin, and the London Rowing Club at the same time as well as sculling and stroking the ‘Lizzy’ eight. Architecture was certainly a lucrative and forgiving career in the 1930s! After his time with DUBC, he coached in Galway where he moved to in 1948.

(This post was corrected at 10 p.m. on 15 March, 2012)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Women’s HoRR - The View From The Cox Seat

On 3 March it was time for the Women's Head of the River Race in London. Tim Koch reports:

There are many rowing videos on YouTube but the majority feature very average rowing and are usually either unedited or badly edited. A notable exception to this is an in boat video showing the winning crew in the Women’s Head of the River Race held on the Mortlake to Putney course on the Thames on 3rd March. The text accompanying the film says:

Thames Rowing Club go Head of the River on the 3rd March 2012 at 11am. Going off 12 on a neap tide they weaved their way through to win in 20.11 minutes. A suicidal push into a brutal head wind after Hammersmith Bridge won them the race. Listen to the powerful calls from Hannah and watch the crew find their soul. It is the first non-composite win for Thames since 2001 and their 17th since 1930. Well-done from bow Carrie, Sarah, Sophie, Charley, Catherine, Barbara, Emma and stoke Sophie. Respect.

Cut down to seven minutes the video shows a great crew in action (many men's boats would like to be as fast), some fine coxing and an unusual view of the famous 'Championship Course'. Enjoy the video here.

The Pennant Winners were:

Head: Thames RC A 20:10.92

Senior: Imperial College BC/Sport Imperial BC A 20:18.25

University: Reading University BC A 20:30.66

Overseas: RC Belvoir Zurich A 20:16.78

Provincial: Club Nottingham RC A 20:27.81

Intermediate 1: Durham University BC A 20:45.11

Intermediate 2: Cambridge University Women's BC A 20:38.71

Intermediate 3: Cardiff University BC A 21:10.76

Masters: Willem III 21:46.84

School/Junior: Headington School Oxford BC A 20:58.31

Novice Academic: Cardiff University BC C 22:52.49

Novice Club: Lea RC C 22:04.30

HM Forces: Royal Air Force RC 23:55.96

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Easy To Pick A Crew

The London RC’s eight competing on the Yarra River, Melbourne, in 1934. The crew, who was racing in the Grand Challenge Cup in the Australian Henley, had Dermot St John Gogarty as coach. Gogarty also raced on the Yarra, but when he was in the lead, his shell sunk. The photograph is from Chris Dodd’s book about the London RC, Water Boiling Aft.

In yesterday’s entry on HTBS, Tim Koch wrote about Dermot St John Gogarty’s homage to Rudyard Kipling and his poem “If”. Tim asks for more information about Gogarty. In a comment the same day, Greg Denieffe gives some information about Gogarty. Greg replied that Gogarty was “born in 1908, […] the second son of Oliver St. John Gogarty, the Irish poet, author & Senator (Wikipedia has a good entry on him). Dermot was a well known architect who went to Pembroke College, Cambridge and was a rowing coach at University College, Dublin. He coached their maiden eight in 1933 to wins at Bann and Derry.” Greg also writes that it would be nice with some more information on his rowing connections at Pembroke and UCD.

I am happy to report that I have found some additional information about Dermot St John Gogarty and his rowing and coaching career.

After leaving Pembroke College, Gogarty joined the London Rowing Club and rowed in two Grand races in 1931 and 1932, winning the Cup in 1931. In Chris Dodd’s eminent Water Boiling Aft: London Rowing Club The First 150 Years, 1856-2006 (2006) it states that “The 1930s was a golden age for London at Henley, and a decade marked by expeditions to Paris, Copenhagen, Denmark, Portugal and Australia.” In 1934, for the centenary regatta of Henley-on-Yarra, Melbourne, London RC received an invitation and decided to go. With Gogarty as coach, seven oarsmen plus the cox boarded the Ormonde which set sail for Australia. The eighth oarsman, Donald Wilson, an Australian, was already in Australia and was ordered to get fit.

Dodd tells an entertaining story about the Londoners’ voyage to Australia in his book. On the web, I actually also found an article about Gogarty, published in the Melbourne’ newspaper The Argus on Saturday, 13 October 1934. Under a head-line that reads: “Easy to Pick a Crew" -

“Take four Loyalists, add four Republicans, and you will have the ideal rowing eight. Mr. Dermot St. John Gogarty, coach of the London Rowing Club, comes from Dublin, and the “recipe” is his. “You put the Loyalists on one side of the boat, the Republicans on the other, and the result is a tough crew,” he explains. It is not so easy to select an English eight. Mr. Gogarth did some hard thinking on the way out to Australia. One day – it was in the Indian Ocean – he had an inspiration. It dawned upon him that he had two Australians in the crew. By seating them on one side of the boat it was easy to fix the rest of the crew.

“Gogarty entered Pembroke College, Cambridge, in 1927, and obtained a diploma in architecture four years later. He did a great deal of rowing, and although selected in trail crews for Cambridge, he never obtained a seat. As a member of the London club, he rowed in the 1931 and 1932 Grand Challenge Cup races at Royal Henley, being successful in the 1931 eight. For the last Royal Henley, he coached Trinity College, Dublin, for the Ladies’ Challenge Plate, and the crew was defeated in the final by only 3ft. in record time for the race.

“Mr. Gogarth is a keen fisherman, particularly for trout. He will be sculling at Henley in the Yarra Challenge Cup race.”

One thing differs from the information in Dodd’s book and the newspaper article: Dodd has it that only Wilson was Australian, while the article says Gogarty had two Australians in his crew.

So, how did the English oarsmen do ‘down under’? In the Grand Challenge Cup, London beat the Hawthorn Rowing Club in their first heat, Richmond Rowing Club in the semifinal, and won by four lengths over Wanganui of New Zealand in the final. And how did Coach Gogarty do in the sculls? Dodd writes, Gogarty “met with disaster in the first heat when his boat suddenly broke in half when he was in the lead”. Dodd continues to write, “A week later, London won the seven-abreast two-and-a-half mile Victoria State Championships by thirteen lengths in 14 minutes 20 seconds. Second-placed Melbourne University were awarded the state title.”

Some questions remains, though, Gogarty’s rowing connections at Pembroke and UCD, and did he write any more rowing poems?

Monday, March 12, 2012

Tim Koch: “If” (with apologies)

Tim Koch writes,

I much enjoyed the recent HTBS posting linking to a video of Kipling’s “If” poem illustrated by rowing pictures on Bryan Kitch’s entertaining and well informed blog, Rowing Related. The posting noted that:

'“If” was written in 1895 and is still very popular, not the least as a parody, which confirms its status amongst the British people.’

There is a rowing version of “If” which I prefer to call a ‘homage’ rather than a ‘parody’ as the former implies respect while the latter could imply mockery. It was written in 1931 by Dermond* St John Gogarty ‘with apologies to Rudyard Kipling’. It is quoted in Chris Dodd’s anthology of rowing writing and poetry, Boating (Oxford University Press, 1983):

If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To drive your legs long after they are done
And so row on when there is nothing in you
Except the will that says ‘Now on’;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With forty strokes, and let the boat full run,
Yours is the earth and everything that’s in it.
And what’s more you’ll be an oar my son.

Does anyone know who Dermond* St John Gogarty was and if he wrote any other rowing poetry?

* See comment 1.

HTBS 3 Years Today!

Exactly three years ago today, HTBS saw the light of day.

(My dear children thought it was a splendid idea to celebrate it with a chocolate cake!)

Sunday, March 11, 2012

The 2012 Rowing Hall Of Fame Inductees

Yesterday evening, on 10 March 2012, the National Rowing Foundation (NRF), the governing body of the National Rowing Hall of Fame, inducted nineteen new members into ‘The Hall’. The following athletes were honoured for their individual accomplishments: Jennifer Dore Terhaar (not present), Jeff Klepacki, Robert Kaehler, Mary McCagg, and Elizabeth McCagg Hills. Three crews were honoured for their results: the 1972 Olympic men’s eight and coach, Michael Livingston, Cleve Livingston, William Hobbs, Eugene "Gene" Clapp, Timothy Mickelson, Peter Raymond, Franklin "Fritz" Hobbs (not present), Lawrence "Monk" Terry, Paul Hoffman, and Coach Harry Parker (pic on the right); the 1992 Olympic women’s pair, Anna Seaton and Stephanie Maxwell-Pierson; and the 2000 Olympic men’s pair, Ted Murphy and Sebastian Bea.

This was the second time in its 56-year existence that the National Rowing Hall of Fame hosted a stand-alone induction ceremony. It was held at Latitude 41 Restaurant at Mystic Seaport. The festivities began, however, with a reception party at the Rowing Hall of Fame in the G. W. Blunt White Building where the inductees, their families and friends, together with invited guests, quickly came into a good celebration mood. Many of the U.S. rowing community were present, including some members of the Rowing Hall of Fame. Before the banquet with the induction ceremony started, the inductees nicely lined up for photo shoots in front of gentlemen of the press and family members with cameras. The rowers were placed by Hart Perry’s old dinghy, which the previous evening had been up for auction. This celebration of the rowers was the brainchild of Hart’s and his absents was deeply felt by all, although his spirit will live on as long as there are rowers to be inducted into the “Hall”.

Jeff Klepacki and Robert Kaehler.

Twins Elizabeth McCagg Hills and Mary McCagg.

The 2000 Olympic men’s pair, Ted Murphy and Sebastian Bea.

The 1992 Olympic womens’ pair, Stephanie Maxwell-Pierson and Anna Seaton.

The 1972 Olympic men’s eight, from right to left (in the positions they rowed), Michael Livingston, Cleve Livingston, William Hobbs, Gene Clapp, Timothy Mickelson, Peter Raymond, Monk Terry, and Paul Hoffman. 7-seated Fritz Hobbs and Coach Harry Parker not present at the photo shoot.

The 2012 Rowing History Forum A Great Success!

More than fifty people came for the 6th Rowing History Forum at Mystic Seaport.

After Friday’s triumphant fund-raising event in memory of Hart Perry which brought in around $15,000, Saturday started with the 6th Rowing History Forum in the River Room at Latitude Restaurant and Tavern by Mystic Seaport. As usual, organiser Bill Miller, well-known rowing historian of Friends of Rowing History, had done a tremendous job getting some interesting speakers for this almost full-day event. Slightly more than fifty people showed up to listen to stories and histories by Miller, Tom Weil, Peter Raymond, Chris Dodd, Jim Dietz, and Peter Mallory.

Tom Weil (above) gave an entertaining talk called ‘Cheers & Jeers, A Prospective on Women and Rowing 1850-1900’, the same lecture he presented at last year’s Rowing Forum in Henley-on-Thames which was reported by Tim Koch. Weil never disappoints his audience whatever rowing subject he is speaking on and here he used some interesting prints and images to help show us the pros and cons by which men had viewed women’s early rowing.

Then came Peter Raymond (above), Olympic rower in 1968 (Four with) and 1972 (Eight), who was to be inducted in the Rowing Hall of Fame later in the evening, together with his fellow oarsmen in the Princeton eight. Raymond proved to be a witty gentleman, and his ‘The Transition to Ratzeburg Training & U.S. National Camp System’ told the story about Karl Adam of West-Germany and how his special rowing style and his new interval training changed the lives of the young oarsmen of Princeton. After being introduced to Adam’s style, the Americans soon gave up the old Conibear style for the winning one used by the West-Germans.

Jim Dietz spoke fondly about his old coach Jack Sulger.

After lunch, Olympic sculler and college coach Jim Dietz, who was inducted in the ‘Hall’ in 2010, literally dashed in through the doors to give a whimsical, hilariously funny talk about his club, ‘New York Athletic Club’, or so it said in the programme. Instead, his presentation soon slid in to a tribute to one man, Jack Sulger, an Irish New York policeman, who was a six-time national champion oarsman, and Dietz’s rowing coach at New York A.C. Sulger carried his service revolver at all times, it seems, and at least once he used it to keep law and order when a fancy fast boat with a water-skier came too close to the ‘kids’’ race course.

Sulger, who was a manager of the U.S. rowing team, director of the U.S. Olympic Committee, and president of the N.A.A.O., had, according to Dietz, an old-fashioned way of what was right and wrong, and what ever that was, it was always to Dietz’s and his fellow rowers’ advantage, because first and foremost, rowing should, at that age, be fun! They don’t make them like that anymore…

Chris Dodd (above), British rowing historian and famous author, gave a short report on upcoming events at the River & Rowing Museum in Henley-on-Thames this Olympic year. Unfortunately, a planned exhibit about the Olympics, had to be cancelled due to lack of funding and interest from the Olympic bureaucratic establishment. Good news, though, were that Dodd had just come out with his latest book, Pieces of Eight – Bob Janousek and his Olympians (March 2012), about the Czech oarsman and coach Bob Janousek, who came to England to save the ‘bloody English’ from their conservative selection system which during the 1960s only had resulted in dead-last boats. (More about Dodd’s book in upcoming HTBS posts.)

Last but not least, Peter Mallory (above), rowing historian and author of the 2,500-page The Sport of Rowing, spoke about one of the most important rowing coaches during the 1900s, Steve Fairbairn in ‘Steve Fairbairn, the Man, the Athlete & the Coach’. Although, Fairbairn seems to be forgotten, or maybe even not known, by many coaches and rowers these days, some influential coaches still frequently read Fairbairn’s books for inspiration. Mallory proved to be a real Fairbairn fan.

Next Rowing History Forum will be in October 2013 at the River & Rowing Museum!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

A Wonderful Tribute To Hart Perry!

Yesterday was a lovely evening at the Rowing Hall of Fame at Mystic Seaport, Mystic, Connecticut. Around 75 people had gathered to celebrate the memory of dear Hart Perry, who passed away on 3 February, 2011. It was not only a tribute to Hart, but also a fund-raising party and silent auction in his name for rowing history, the National Rowing Hall of Fame, and rowing exhibits. Many of the items had belonged to Hart, but there were also some rare posters by artist Thomas Kudzma, who created brilliant art work between the 1960s and the 1980s. While I am writing this I am not sure how much the silent auction brought in, but it seemed most of the rowing objects that were up for auction had bids, and I walked home with a beautiful print under my arm. While all the bids for the objects closed at 8 p.m., the bids for Hart's old dinghy run until 6 p.m. on Saturday.

Here is a photographic cavalcade from the wonderful evening: