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rowing

The 1936 Olympic team crewed the wooden Husky Clipper, which now hangs in a place of honor above the the crew dining hall.
KUOW Photo/Matt Mills McKnight

Marcie Sillman speaks with Judy Willman, daughter of Joe Rantz, about how finding "swing" with the 1936 University of Washington rowing team changed her father's life. The nine boys on that legendary team beat staggering odds to win gold in the Berlin Olympics.

The UW Men's Rowing team practices along the Montlake Cut.
KUOW Photo/Matt Mills McKnight

Hundreds of boaters will converge at Seattle’s Montlake Cut Saturday for opening day of the boating season.

The Windermere Cup rowing regatta is a chance to see the national champion University of Washington crew in action.

The University of Washington men's rowing team prepares to launch their shells during an early morning practice.
KUOW Photo/Matt Mills McKnight

The old wooden rowing shell that hangs in the University of Washington crew team’s dining hall doesn’t look all that remarkable. You see boats like it in many nautical-themed restaurants.

But this particular wooden boat — the Husky Clipper — is special.

It carried nine UW athletes to an Olympic gold medal at the 1936 games in Berlin.

Bill Tytus took over Pocock Racing Shells in 1985 from Stan Pocock, the son of founder George Pocock.
KUOW Photo/Kara McDermott

It takes about six minutes for the University of Washington’s top men’s rowing team to power the latest model Pocock racing shell on their home course through the Montlake Cut. 

But it took the factory in Everett, Washington, 260 work hours to get the boat to that point.

Why I row

May 3, 2016
Reporter and rower Marcie Sillman.
KUOW Photo/Bond Huberman

At 5 a.m. on a late winter morning in Seattle, dawn is a distant hope.

But if you peer through the dark, you'll see small white lights pulsing their way along the shores of Lake Union. They mark the bows and sterns of dozens of rowing shells, launched early to take advantage of the smooth morning water.

The University of Washington Men's Rowing team prepares for an early morning practice.
KUOW Photo/Matt Mills McKnight

The early morning water is usually calm in Seattle. That makes it the preferred time for rowers.

It’s beautiful as the sun rises over the water as the University of Washington’s rowing team heads out for practice.

But the peace doesn’t last.

Courtesy of Niki Sherey Keenan

Niki Sherey Keenan’s moments of inspiration arrive when most of us are still in bed.

“There might be a sunrise that only lasts five seconds,” she explains. “It would stick with me all day.”

Sherey Keenan recreates these special moments in her dream-like paintings.