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My Cup Runneth Over

3 January 2011

As my research has proceeded, among the most rewarding things has been the people who have contacted me from around the world to offer additions to my bibliography and to read and comment on what I have written so far. I am privileged to collaborate with individuals from Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Great Britain, Germany, Italy, Denmark, Russia, Belgium and the Netherlands among others.

I have also found newsreel archives in the U.S., Britain and France to be enormously illuminating in my continuing efforts to reconstruct the techniques of crews going all the way back to the 19th Century.

I have spent the last three years introducing to the book analysis of force graphs through the work of Cas Rekers, Paul Smith and my own original research begun in the 1980s and continued in 2008. This has brought me fascinating new insights into current and historic rowing techniques. Cas’ recent death has been a great loss.

I was privileged to work closely with John Cooke from the 1956 Yale Olympic Champion Crew in the months before he died. John's teammate, Charlie Grimes, also gave me his rowing files and spent hours on the phone with me shortly before he also passed away. I will be forever grateful that I got to collaborate with both these champions while there was still time.

In January, 2008, Joe Burk, my coach for a year while I was a freshman at Penn, passed away a week short of his 94th birthday. I was honored to get to know him better as he generously assisted me in my book project for more than three years. We talked on the phone, corresponded, and I visited him twice in Tucson, Arizona. As were all those who knew him, I was profoundly touched by Joe Burk. My book will be dedicated to him.

I have now turned my attention toward doing my final reviews prior to publication. The connections that have become apparent when the full span of rowing history is laid bare are surprising and incredibly useful to the rowers and coaches of today.

In addition, the stories are sometimes funny, sometimes heart-breaking and always fascinating and inspiring. I started this project knowing remarkably little about history, and I am enormously grateful to the historians who have preceded me and to people like Chris Dodd, Bill Miller, Tom Weil, Dan Topolski and Peter Klavora, who have provided my with advice and guidance.

I am especially grateful to Joan and John Van Blom, Harry Parker, Ted Washburn, Conn Findlay, Duvall Hecht, Bob Ernst, Tim McLaren, Jim Joy, Ted Nash, Mike Spracklen and so many others for their continuing assistance and encouragement.

As I have turned to international rowing, I am very grateful for responses from such individuals as Thomas Lange, Drew Ginn, Matthew Pinsent, Steve Redgrave, Angelo Savarino and Maurizio Ustolin. Again, the list goes on.

There are several other serious rowing history projects in process at the moment, and I am thrilled to cooperate and collaborate with Chris Dodd, Dan Boyne, Tom Weil, Bill Miller, Sandy Culver, Joanne Iverson, Susan Saint Sing, Robin Poke and anyone else. I am in great company on this project, not only with fellow writers and historians but also with the people who have made the history I write about.