July 28, 2016 |
A few years ago, Mount St. Joseph Academy graduate Chierika Ukogu contacted the Nigerian Olympic Committee, asking to represent the country in Rio in 2016 in a rowing event. There was no response. "Just emailing them and telling them, 'Hey, I want to do this,' meant nothing," said Ukogu, who had rowed competitively as part of teams in high school and at Stanford University, where she earned her bachelor's degree. "They ignored me because I didn't have a plan. " So Ukogu, a dual citizen of the U.S. and the western African nation, made a plan.
July 13, 2015 |
When rowers from Vesper Boat Club lower their shells into the Schuylkill for morning workouts, the routine is the same. Whether recreational or racers, they pull north and glide under the Girard Bridge, the Railroad Bridge, and the Columbia Bridge before bending slightly east to pass the grandstand just beyond their left shoulders. From there, they can pick out the silent, bronze rower who watches them go by, and that is John B. Kelly Sr., whose three Olympic gold medals make him the most accomplished Vesper racer in the 150-year history of the club.
October 27, 2014 |
This article has been corrected. A previous version misspelled the name of Mirka Knapkova as Irka Knapkova. Kjetil Borch, a single sculler from Norway, saw the richest prize in his sport close to his grasp Saturday on the Schuylkill - and then he found out the Schuylkill had a little more adventure left for him. Out in front of the reigning world singles champion, with the reigning Olympic champion also in range, and a $10,000 first prize...
October 24, 2014 |
All the baloney about winning and losing could wait. Emory Clark only felt glad not to be rowing anymore. That's how Clark described in his diary the end of the gold medal race of the 1964 Olympics, when a boat out of Philadelphia got to stop first. Clark remembered the "groove of pain" he was in that darkened October evening just outside Tokyo, how relieved he was that the United States Olympic eight didn't have to find another gear, another "more exquisite level" of pain to upset the heavily favored Germans.
October 21, 2014
Dotty Brown is a former Inquirer editor who is writing a book on the history of Boathouse Row for Temple University Press Every year, thousands of people pound down the paved backbone of the city in the sweaty exuberance of the Broad Street Run. Next weekend, in another extraordinary test of athleticism and determination open to all, the sound will be the beating of oars down a different city artery - the Schuylkill. Rowing out their hearts and lungs in the Head of the Schuylkill Regatta will be more than 80 categories of rowers sorted by age, sex, and ability, from high school teenagers and college freshmen to committed athletes striving for world competition to masters rowers in their 50s, 60s, 70s, and, yes, 80s. Also racing will be gold-medal Olympic champions from New Zealand and top rowers from Norway, Australia, the Czech Republic, and the United States.
October 26, 2013 |
Vicky Opitz promised her partner, Kerry Simmonds, at least one thing: They won't crash. The two are world-champion rowers, world-record holders, and with any luck, future Olympians. And when they dip their oars in the Schuylkill early Saturday morning, they'll be something else, too: rookies. Opitz and Simmonds, who usually row in the eight, will compete together as a pair for the first time at the Head of the Schuylkill Regatta. "I know the Schuylkill pretty well," Opitz said.
July 19, 2013 |
Colleen Wohlrab was immersed in her morning workout on the Schuylkill when a woman rowed up next to her. The woman wanted to know: Was she from Vesper Boat Club? Was she going to the Under-23 World Championships in Austria? Wohlrab told her that she was. There were more in training, actually, a small flotilla of them on the river. For the summer, the Schuylkill has become the de facto national team training center for the under-23 lightweight women's class. At the U.S. trials in June, Vesper swept all three races - four, double, and single - to qualify seven athletes for the Under-23 World Championships, which begin Wednesday in Linz.
October 29, 2012 |
It has become an annual tradition that continued with another victory by a group of rowers whose friendship was spurred by their sport. With the weather cooperating, John Strotbeck, Tony Horvat, Brooks Reinhard, and Kirk Beckman, representing the Vesper Boat Club on a team called Belly's For Brickwood, won the men's masters fours with coxswain during Sunday's Head of the Schuylkill Regatta. The coxswain was Jeremy Katz, a junior at Lower Merion High School, where Beckman is the head coach.
October 15, 2012 |
For Alexis Franklin and her fellow members of Vesper Boat Club's over-55 women's eight, a disappointing day on the Schuylkill was still a good time for all. The crew did not produce its best time at Saturday's Navy Day Regatta, but the women remained positive heading into next weekend's Head of the Charles Regatta in Boston. The boat has rowers from Virginia, New York, Maryland, and Pennsylvania, some of whom wake up as early as 4 a.m. to travel to Philadelphia for practices and competitions.
January 3, 2012 |
He was president of the Vesper Boat Club in 1977 and 1978, and, after he turned 60, he helped win several international rowing titles for the United States. But "Gus" Constant might be best remembered as the man who championed women in men's rowing clubs on the Schuylkill, an effort that he himself found daunting. Constantine Constant, 85, of East Falls, died of Parkinson's disease on Christmas at the hospice of the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Philadelphia. Brian Colgan, Vesper president in 1990 and 1991, said Vesper was the first men's club on the Schuylkill to admit women.