The Conestoga Crew Club provides students at Conestoga High School with an opportunity to learn the sport of rowing in an environment designed to promote sportsmanship, new friendships and accomplishment. The Club rows out of Bachelors Barge Club on Philadelphia's nationally recognized Boat House Row.
Under the direction of Head Coach John Hayburn the club competes locally, regionally, and nationally. Any student at Conestoga High School is eligible to try-out and prior rowing experience is not necessary.
Rowing began to evolve into the sport we know during the early 1800s. Ferrymen on the River Thames competed against each other in informal pick-up races, which began to attract interested spectators. In 1829, the first collegiate race took place on the Thames between Oxford and Cambridge Universities. “The Boat Race”, as it is called today, is still an event of national interest in the United Kingdom. Ten years later, in 1839, the famous Henley Royal Regatta began. In subsequent years, major improvements in rowing equipment brought dramatic progress to the sport: the invention of outriggers, keel-less shells significantly reduced the weight of the racing shell, and the sliding seat allowed rowers to use the power of their legs with each stroke. This was an obvious improvement over the practice of rowers greasing the bottom of their pants!
By the late 1800's, a number of East Coast American cities sported "boat house rows" like Philadelphia's. Rowing was a popular sport with well-known professionals and frequent wagering. Rowing was first held as an Olympic sport during the 1900 games in Paris, France. The original five rowing events were reserved for men. Philadelphia's Vesper Boat Club (#10 Boat House Row) was the winner for the United States in the eight-oared shell. Philadelphia continued to be well represented at the Olympics. Jack Kelly, father of Grace Kelly, won three gold medals in the 1920 and 1924 Olympics. His statue can be seen near the Grandstand on the Schuylkill River race course, Kelly Drive, Philadelphia. Women began competing at the Montreal Olympic Games in 1976. Today there are fourteen Olympic events in rowing.
With the tremendous growth of the sport in the last 30 years, fueled by the popularity of the women’s and master’s (over 30 years of age) rowing, boat clubs are now in cities all over the country. No longer an east coast phenomenon, rowing is perhaps the fastest-growing collegiate sport. Crew at the high school level is also spreading rapidly.
In Philadelphia, Boathouse Row stands today as both a piece of history and a busy functioning sports center. The University of Pennsylvania and St. Joseph’s University have their own boat houses. Temple University rows out of the East Park Canoe House, a city facility. Drexel University rows out of Bachelors Barge Club, (#8 Boathouse Row) which was founded in 1853. Bachelors Barge Club is the oldest continuously operated rowing club in the United States. Most other high schools and colleges in Philadelphia are tenants of the clubs that all have been active for over 100 years. Even in today’s era of national team camps, the boat clubs of Philadelphia are known for producing many individuals and teams that represent the United States in international and Olympic competitions.
Conestoga Crew Club was created in the spring of 1999 and has been rowing from Bachelors Barge Club since its first season. Even in its short history, Conestoga Crew Club has been competitive at the national level and beyond. In 2006, the Women’s Varsity Quad won the Bea Langridge Trophy in the quadruple scull event at the Henley Royal Regatta. In 2012, three Conestoga Crew Club boats (Men’s Varsity Quad, Women’s Varsity Quad and Women’s Varsity Double) competed at the prestigious Henley Royal Regatta.
Boat from 1800
Men's Eight, Gold Medal Winners, Paris 1900 Olympics
Conestoga Crew Club Seniors 2017
2012 Conestoga Crew Club rowers bound for Henley Royal Regatta
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