Hall of Fame Series: 1929 Heavyweight Rowing
NEW YORK - Over the next few weeks, GoColumbiaLions.com will take a look at the teams, student-athletes, coaches and staff members set to be inducted in the Columbia University Athletics Hall of Fame this October. Our next installment features the 1929 rowing team that earned a national championship.
Liz Cheung-Gaffney ’98CC
Ted Kiendl 1911CC & John Howard Johnson '22CC
Milena Kachar ’07CC
2005 Women’s Cross Country Team
Jackie Adelfio '06SEAS
’87CC & The 1987 Men's Tennis TeamLen Renery ’71CC and Amr Aly ’85CC
1929 Rowing Team
One of the most celebrated teams in the history of Columbia Athletics, the 1929 heavyweight rowing team will finally take its place among the Lion greats in the Columbia University Athletics Hall of Fame this October.
Even after an undefeated regular season, the Lions came into the Poughkeepsie Regatta, which served as the Intercollegiate Rowing Association National Championship at the time, as the underdogs.
On June 24, Columbia took to the choppy waters of the Hudson River and proved all the pundits wrong, winning its first national championship since 1914 in front of an estimated 100,000 spectators.
Back then the races went four miles. The Lions jumped out to an early lead, but fell back to third. The conditions sank MIT’s boat in the second mile and crews from Cornell and Syracuse were swamped in mile three. However, the experts’ main two predictions, Navy and the Washington University eight were still in the mix.
In the final mile, Columbia surged back into the front, using the low-swinging techniques head coach Richard Glendon learned from his father, who happened to be the standout coach of the Midshipmen’s crew, to hold off Washington by ¾ of a length to capture its first national title since 1914.
The lineup of coxswain Robert Berman, Al MacBain, Horace Davenport, Bill Blesse, Arthur Douglas, Bill Sanford, Sam Walker, John F. Murphy, and Henry Walters would go on to win the Marlow Eights Cup at the prestigious Henley Royal Regatta.
The legendary crew continued to be celebrated by the Columbia community for 35 and 50-year reunions and were inducted into the National Association of Amateur Oarsmen in 1974.