August 11, 2016
By Dotty Brown This week, as 20 U.S oarswomen compete in Rio alongside the men, they might give thanks to the Philadelphia women who decades ago struggled against the current of their time to win the right to row, long after they had won the right to vote. The effort came in waves, starting in 1938 when the first competitive women's rowing club in the country, the Philadelphia Girls' Rowing Club, landed a berth on the Schuylkill only because Ernestine Bayer had been tipped off at her banking job that the Philadelphia Skating Club was moving out to Ardmore.
May 23, 2016
In the wake of thousands of collegiate student athletes converging on the Schuylkill last weekend for the 2016 Dad Vail Regatta, consider the story of the Philadelphia Girls' Rowing Club, the oldest organization of its kind in the country. The development of American athletics is intimately connected to the history of competitive rowing. It was not on a diamond, court, or gridiron that the first intercollegiate sport was contested. Instead, it was on the nation's (calmer) rivers, and Philadelphia's connections to rowing are fathoms deep.
September 11, 1987 |
Antal Bocsardy back-paddled from an algae-covered inlet of the Schuylkill into the early evening light on the river, oblivious to the heron wheeling overhead, the thin wisps of cloud and the other scullers. He would return an hour later, sweat-soaked, his shirt tucked behind his seat. Struggling up from the double-keeled boat, he accepted help into his wheelchair, but insisted on powering himself up the steep concrete ramp to the boathouse. "Please, that's the exercise of it," he said, declining a hand.
May 13, 2011 |
WITH EIGHT men working in unison to overcome that next challenge, rowing might be the ultimate team sport, and no one knows this better than Saint Joseph's Chase Powell. Less than 2 months after losing his mother to cancer, the senior rower will rejoin his teammates on the Schuylkill this weekend to compete in the prestigious Aberdeen Dad Vail Regatta for the fourth time in his college career. "I told my coach that I wanted to be there for the team in any way possible," Powell said.
July 10, 1987 |
David Krmpotich's first rowing coach was a man named Henning E. Peterson, whom everybody just called Pete. By the early 1970s, Peterson's Olympic dream had long since eluded him, but it never quite died. The dream was his legacy to his oarsmen. Pete taught his boys at the Duluth (Minn.) Rowing Club to row on tired old hydraulic machines that were, like himself, remnants of a decade when the Duluth Boat Club and its oarsmen were kings of the city. Peterson rowed on the senior eight that the Duluth Boat Club planned to send to the 1920 Olympic Trials, but he fell ill and lost his seat.
June 6, 1988 |
WANTED: Women, athletic and adventuresome, to join virile, semi-serious Irish-American oarsmen for cruises off the scenic coast of Camden. Apply first Thursday of each month, 7:30 p.m. Irish Pub, 1123 Walnut St., Phila. The gentlemen of the Philadelphia Celtic Curragh Club are in agreement: A few good oarswmomen would really get the fledgling club moving. "Yeah, we're very anxious to recruit some women," says team manager Bob Doordan. "It makes it interesting to have mixed crew races.
October 28, 2013 |
For the spectators camped along the Schuylkill cheering on competitors in the 43d annual Head of the Schuylkill Regatta on Saturday, the frigid winds blowing off the water required a few extra layers of clothing. On the water, however, the strong headwinds required some technical adjustments from rowers. "Every boat out there, they're experiencing the same conditions," said John Pieper, a senior on Drexel's first-place men's college and open heavy championship eights team. ". . . It's just a matter of who can handle the conditions better, who's willing to sit in the pain and push through it for longer.
August 1, 2006 |
J.B. Kelly was entertaining guests at the Vesper Boat Club last week when he paused to describe the sad state of the venerable boathouse before the completion of recent restorations. "The foundations along one side had sunk 12 inches," said Kelly, president of the club and the grandson of John B. Kelly, who remains the most famous name in Philadelphia rowing more than eight decades after winning three Olympic gold medals. "You didn't have to have beer to feel you were tipsy," Kelly said.
January 16, 1994 |
On the west edge of town, not far from the hustle and bustle of the County Courthouse, lies an oasis of sorts known as Broomall's Lake. The quiet stillness that settles over the pristine lake property this time of year - with its silvery trees, clubhouse and dock - belies a rich history that has surrounded the site. The lake has hosted Olympic swimmers, drawn large crowds for its Fourth of July events, lured youth in the search of a swimming or fishing hole and attracted ladies and gentlemen in their Sunday best for a rowing jaunt.
February 17, 1989 |
Diane DeLuca has done just about everything at the Vesper Boat Club on Boathouse Row. A former officer and board member, she's also set up parties, swept the floors, scrubbed the locker rooms, sorted the mail, written thank-you notes and, in her words, "picked hairballs out of the shower. " Now, she is the president of the venerable club along the Schuylkill, the first woman to hold that position in Vesper's 124-year history. Last night, friends and fellow rowers held an informal reception for her at the club's Jack Kelly Memorial Boathouse, named for one of its most famous members.