Pocock Classic Cedar Singles
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Don Costello to Jim, Marco

Dear Marco:

I knew your dad in 1972. He was crew coach at Seattle U and I was coach at U of Oregon. Attached is a photo of the 1972 Duck crew. You’ll note the “co-ed”, as college women were called in that ancient time. Her name was Vicki Brown. The uproar caused by our having her at cox made national news. (See Kenny Moore’s article in April 1972 issue of SI: “The Case of the Ineligible Bachelorette”.) Jorge was the first person to publicly support us in what was, amazingly to us, a real imbroglio. His standing in the international rowing community gave much credence to his words. Having him on our side buoyed the confidence of my squad immeasurably.
Your dad was one fine and elegant man, and beloved in the world of rowing. I am sad over his passing.

There are some other details you might find interesting. Call me any time if you want to learn more or for any reason at all for that matter. My cell phone is 541 297 9227. We row at Tenmile Lake north of Coos Bay – an idyllic place for scullers. You are always welcome here.

Best regards,

Don Costello
Cal ‘70



  Boy, that is a great story--I hope he keeps a good record of his travels as this would make a very good subject for a speaker at an AMRC lunch or dinner!  Very interesting.

  Guy Harper



What a lovely exchange!

I can't help but think there must be hundreds, maybe thousands, of "old" rowers out there who would love to join the conversation--or at least listen in.

When everyone gets more comfortable with the idea of actually blogging this stuff, people will be able to comment etc.

Meanwhile, I am so happy to have Don's reminiscences posted on the Pocock Classic web site. Thanks Jim.



No, I don't know either Tom or Jack. I think one of the problems (and the reason I don't remember that much about rowing at Cornell) is that I left Cornell barely able to get into any graduate school because of all the bad grades I got in Electrical Engineering.  When I finally did get into Ohio State I sort of left everything associated with Cornell, including rowing, with a vengeance.  I didn't come back to rowing until 1980 when a friend invited Bonnie and me to the Masters Nationals in Oak Ridge, TN.  After that I couldn't not row.

In 2002 I went back for my 45th Cornell reunion.  I hadn't been back since 1964. We did get all but one of my old lightweight crew out in a boat but only one besides me had kept up and most couldn't even remember how to get their oars in the oarlocks.

The one person I would like to make contact with is Jack Meekum, our freshman coach.  Jack rowed varsity heavyweights, although he  only weighed about 160#, and was in the Cornell boat that won at Henley in 1958.

It's interesting, now that I have rowed with the Ancient Mariners in Seattle and gotten to know Stan Pocock and dozens of other great rowers, several of whom won gold in various Olympics, I can't remember much of anything about our coaching at Cornell.  The one thing I remember was Coach Stork Sanford reciting George Pocock's father's advice to 16 year old George about how to win before he won the Diamond Skulls: "Get ahead and stay ahead."  As stroke in our freshman boat we developed very good starts and then tried to stay ahead at as low a stroke rate as we could - often only about 28. We loved Lake Cayuga's rough water and the long efficient Pocock rowing style worked for us.  We were undefeated. But I don't remember much else about the coaching or the rowing technique except that we fell into a comfortable lilting stroke, especially when we were really tired.

As you can tell, I really enjoyed your reminiscence about Cal and it has brought back memories even if they are a bit faded.

Warm regards,

October 29, 2009 Don Costello wrote:


  Thank you very much. I’ll have some more for you by tomorrow.

  I have two other friends who rowed at Cornell – Jack Mills in the early 50’s and Tom Lathrop in the mid-60’s. Do you know either of them? Tom rows with Vic City Rowing Club.





  Great story. You write well - and spell well too. I wish I could remember as many details about rowing at Cornell as you do about rowing at Cal. Anyway, I love the sport, it's guided my life too and you remind me how much.

  I have simply replaced the earlier pdf with the more recent more complete one at http://www.pocockclassic.com/fleet/BetterAngel1.pdf  It is so big that it loads slowly so I will probably break in into shorted segments.


On Wed, Oct 28, 2009 at 4:44 PM, Don Costello wrote:

Here is some more, which I call part 2. This replaces in total the part 1 I sent yesterday. Please post it on the site. Thank you.

Geometry including pitch and height is right. The boat favors a deliberate and soft catch (as Co Rentmeester would say, as the blades "caress the water") and encourages acceleration through the drive. My Croker hatchet blades complement the boat perfectly. The boat is challenging and wants to be rowed well. Sitting empty in the water next to the dock, it is absolutely level. When rowed, it holds the set well and feels much lighter than composite racing shells that weigh less. It springs away from the release, runs far and tracks true. Fore-and-aft rocker is nil. Goodies and custom touches include: comfortable seat (I usually use a pad and won't need one with this boat); stretcher tighteners that are kind on the fingers; every material and joint meticulously conceived and executed; rare and superior woods; matched grain on the hull; etc.

Most importantly from a competitor's standpoint, the boat is very fast. I look forward to racing in it. Steve Chapin is to be commended. He is really onto something. The boat is both art and competitive machine. It is in a class of its own, worthy of the Pocock name and transcendent in many respects. Steve put a lot of wisdom, experience and love into this rare craft. It is a privilege to be in its care.

Don Owen Costello

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