In some ways crew is a rare bird on the contemporary sporting scene. It is the only major team sport which is frequently continued after college graduation, and it is so simon-pure an amateur effort that its devotees often must dig into their own pockets to foot the bills. Happily, it is also a sport which each year grows in the number of its participants and followers, and a part of this success is due to the increasingly active role played by U.S. rowers in international competitions.
The European rowing championships were recently held in Poznan, Poland, with shells from 10 nations participating. After two days of really intensive competition the U.S. crew shown above rowed in the eight-oar finals against Russia, Germany, Italy, Switzerland and Czechoslovakia, with Russia the heavy favorite to win. At the finish line of one of the most exciting upset finals the U.S. shell led the Russians by three-quarters of a length, only to be beaten themselves by the Italians.
The U.S. shell represented the Vesper Boat Club of Philadelphia, one of the oldest and consistently outstanding rowing organizations in the country. In the Vesper shell at Poznan were (left to right) Jack Kelly Jr. (stroke), Bill Knecht (No. 7 oar), George Hermann (No. 6), Paul Ignas (No. 5), George Coleman (No. 4), Gerry Heffernan (No. 3), Harry Halloran Jr. (No. 2), Dave Wilmerding Jr. (bow) and Allen Rosenberg (coxswain).
The Vesper eight works out on the Schuylkill six times a week, six to ten miles a day. "We row," says Jack Kelly, "because we like it. There is a lot of sacrifice to it because we all have jobs or school. That's not like some other countries where oarsmen don't have to worry about holding down jobs. But we like it our way, and we like it enough to go out and be good at it."