In the 1920s, an upstart West Coast college began to challenge the Eastern universities in the ancient sport of crew racing. Sportswriters scoffed at the "crude western boats" and their crews. But for the next forty years, the University of Washington dominated rowing around the world.
The secret of the Huskies' success was George Pocock, a soft-spoken English immigrant raised on the banks of the Thames. Pocock combined perfectionism with innovation to make the lightest, best-balanced, fastest shells the world had ever seen. After studying the magnificent canoes built by Northwest Indians, he broke with tradition and began to make shells of native cedar.
Pocock, who had been a champion sculler in his youth, never credited his boats for the accomplishments of a crew. He wanted every rower to share his vision of discipline and teamwork. As rowers from the University of Washington went on to become coaches at major universities across the country, Pocock's philosophy-and his shells-became nationally famous in the world of crew.
Drawing on documents provided by Pocock's family, photographs from the University of Washington Crew Archives, and interviews with rowers who revered the man, Newell evokes the times as well as the life of this unique figure in American sport.
Publisher: University of Washington Press
Number of pages: 188
Weight: 590 g
Dimensions: 279 x 216 x 15 mm
As a youth in Britain, Pocock learned the rudiments of boat building from his father, who crafted boats for young Etonians. Forced to emigrate by straitened economic conditions, he journeyed to the Pacific Northwest intending to find work as a lumberjack. Fortunately for the University of Washington in Seattle, he was persuaded to establish shop there and began making shells of outstanding quality. They were so good, in fact, that Washington won its first intercollegiate title in 1923, defeating the Eastern teams that had ruled the sport for decades. One of his greatest triumphs occurred in 1936 when the Washington team won an Olympic gold medal in Germany, but he had numerous other successes as both boatman and coach until his retirement in 1963. There are many fine photos, including some of special interest from the 19th century, and a foreword by the coach of Washington's varsity crew.* Publishers Weekly *