Skip to main content
King County logo


Metropolitan King County
Council News

County Council recognizes history and success of University of Washington Crew


From The Boys in the Boat to the current national champions


The Metropolitan King County Council recognized and celebrated the storied history of men’s and women’s crew at the University of Washington. A history that stretches from Berlin to the Thames River to the Montlake Cut and encompasses national championships, victories at the Henley Royal Regatta and a legendary gold medal.

“I am pleased to be recognizing the extraordinary accomplishments of the University of Washington crew teams today,” said Councilmember Jeanne Kohl-Welles, the sponsor of the recognition. “From the 1900s to today, University of Washington rowers have demonstrated a commitment to hard work, persistence, and teamwork in the face of great obstacles. They have used those skills to build one of the most successful programs in the country for women and men.”

The men’s crew entered its first intercollegiate regatta in 1903 and has forged a history that includes the current streak of five straight Intercollegiate Rowing Association National Championships and six titles at the famed Henley Royal Regatta in Great Britain.

“The men’s and women’s Crew were honored to be recognized by the King County Council. Our student athletes work exceptionally hard to realize their dreams, and their efforts continue to be rewarded by national championships,” said UW men’s coach Michael Callahan. “These teams help bring our community together in pride and celebration of their achievements. They are also examples for everyone of what it takes to excel—hard work, constant determination, and unfailing belief in yourself and your colleagues.”

The men’s crew’s rich history also includes a gold medal in the 1936 Olympics that is the focus of a bestselling book The Boys in the Boat, which chronicles the history of the nine UW students who defeated not only teams from elite East Coast schools, but the crews of fascist Italy and Nazi Germany in winning the Olympic gold medal for the U.S. at the XI Olympiad in Berlin. The book has remained on the New York Times bestseller list for 99 weeks.

“The young men who won gold at Berlin in 1936 were extraordinary athletes, but they were more than that,” said Daniel James Brown, author of The Boys in the Boat. “The sons of loggers, farmers, and shipyard workers, they were representatives of who we are as Washingtonians. Their perseverance, their humility, their earnestness, and their optimism remind us what we are capable of when we pull together.”

Women at the UW went into the water shortly after the men did at the turn of the last century, but women’s rowing did not start awarding championships until the 1970s. The UW women’s crew has rowed its own path, winning 10 national titles, including three NCAA titles. The women’s crew has never finished outside of the top 10 in the NCAA regattas, earning a place in the top four on nine occasions, including fourth place in 2015. The women have also gone to the Thames, winning the Henley Prize (women’s eight) in 2000.








WHEREAS, the University of Washington’s rowing program maintains a long tradition of excellence in both athletic and academic performance; and

WHEREAS in 2015, the University of Washington men’s crew became the first in U.S. history to win five straight Intercollegiate Rowing Association National Championships; and

WHEREAS, in 2015, the men’s crew again swept all five races at the IRA National Championships for the third time, the only team in the history of the sport to have done so; and

WHEREAS, in addition to six straight Pac-12 titles, the team’s five-year run of dominance has extended the streak of winning the Ten Eyck Trophy as the overall points champion to nine years in a row, the longest such streak in collegiate rowing history; and

WHEREAS, the University of Washington’s women’s crew has won 10 national titles, including three NCAA titles; and

WHEREAS, in 19 years of NCAA championship races , the women’s crew has never finished outside of the top 10, earning a place in the top four on nine occasions, including fourth place in 2015; and

WHEREAS, the current women’s team posted a 3.31 cumulative grade point average in the most recent academic quarter of Winter 2016, with a total of 30 team members earning a spot on the Dean’s List; and

WHEREAS, 25 women from the University of Washington’s rowing program have represented their country of origin
on Olympic teams, winning a total of 10 Olympic medals;

NOW, THEREFORE, we, the Metropolitan King County Council, recognize the

University of Washington Men’s and Women’s Crew

for their unprecedented athletic accomplishments and for instilling a sense of community pride in the people of King County.

DATED this second day of May, 2016.


Contact the Council
Main phone:
Contact all 9 Councilmembers directly:
Click Here