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Wisconsin Where They Row
A History of Varsity Rowing at the
University of Wisconsin

Bradley F. Taylor

Wisconsin Where They Row is the definitive history of rowing at the University of Wisconsin. Although this oldest of intercollegiate sports had its American beginnings in 1852 as a contest among Ivy League men, it would soon have to make room for the stubborn steadfastness of Wisconsin's athletes. Author Bradley F. Taylor captures the unique character of Wisconsin crew and its athletes in this meticulously researched and abundantly illustrated book.

Taylor recounts rowing's beginnings as the first UW intramural sport in 1874, the long and rich history of the men's crew, the establishment of the women's team in 1972, and the presence of Wisconsin rowers on every U.S. men's and women's Olympic rowing squad from 1968 through 2000. He tells of the UW men's victory in 1892 at Oconomowoc against the "Chicago Navy," their first competition against an outside club; the story of the famed "Berry-Crate Crew"; and the Badger crews' participation in the early intercollegiate regattas on the Hudson River. He depicts how boats were shipped east by train; how one coach sacrificed most of his salary during the threadbare 1930s to keep the sport alive; and how thousands of spectators watched races from railroad flatcars and yachts.

Taylor spent four years interviewing key figures, visiting race venues, and delving into the archives of college libraries, historical societies, and newspapers. The result is not only this book, but also a trove of information, rowing memorabilia, and some 2000 images of Wisconsin crew history that Taylor will donate to the University of Wisconsin archives and the new crew boathouse. The book features:

  • interviews with past and present coaches, Wisconsin rowers, and competitors from other rowing clubs and schools
  • 100 photographs of crews and races from 1892 to 2003
  • diagrams of regatta courses
  • newspaper excerpts capturing the excitement of the races
  • appendices of team captains, winners, boatings, and finishes for key regattas through 2004.

Wisconsin Where They Row documents in detail an exciting story important to sports history, to Wisconsin's heritage, and to alums and fans of the Badger crew teams. And, it will appeal to anyone who thrills at the sight of oars flashing and long, slim boats skimming across blue water.

"A compulsively readable historical account that is thoroughly and richly documented."—Arthur O. Hove, former freshman Badger rower and author of The University of Wisconsin: A Pictorial History

Bradley F. Taylor is a retired investment banker. A photographer and writer, he is the author of The Family Joke Book. He lives in Madison, Wisconsin.

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cover of Taylor shows an old illustration of the UW boat house

April 2005

352 pp.  8 x 10
105 b/w illus.

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Jacketed Hardcover $40.00 t
ISBN 978-0-299-20530-0
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"Wisconsin Where They Row splendidly shows the contribution that Wisconsin rowers and coaches have made to the national team."
Mike Teti, U.S. Olympic Rowing Coach.

Wisconsin rowers have been on every U.S. Olympic squad since 1968




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