GW Men's Rowing

GWMR History


The Beginning

The GW Men’s Rowing program was first established as the GWU Rowing Club in January 1956. On March 17, 1956, the program purchased their first boat, receiving support from the greater GW community, especially the Greek system.


Japan 1994


Left to right: Alex Mundt, Matt Russell, _____, Chris Reite, Tony Spinelli, Scott McDonald, Jean _____ , Tim Downs, Aquil Abdullah. Not pictured Caroline Piror (Cox), John Devlin (Men’s Coach). The multi bay boathouse to the back left it where the crew lived.

In the Summer of 1994, the GW Men’s Varsity 8+ went to Japan as the guest of Hitotsubashi University. The team stayed in the Mitsubishi Boathouse (Yes, the company) in Toda, Japan, which was also the rowing venue for the 1964 Summer Olympics. Hitotsubashi University and Tokyo University had visited GW the previous season and invited GW to come visit. Georgetown University traveled with GW to make an even match up against the two Japanese universities. GW conducted double practices every day and during the downtime, went sightseeing. GW concluded the trip with a 1000m regatta during a windy, rainy, and choppy day on Tokyo bay, while fans from the nearby city, Toda, cheered along the banks of the racecourse in Saitama Kenei Toda Park. Several collegiate and corporate teams were present. In the finals, GW came in a close second to the NKK corporate team, which, as told by our Hitotsubashi University friends, had 6 oarsmen from the Japanese National Men’s 8+.


2016 Henley Royal Regatta


Above: GW Men’s Rowing at the 2016 Henley Royal Regatta in the Henley-on-the-Thames, United Kingdom. From Left to Right: Assistant Coach Tom Guncik, Maddux Castle ‘18, Jordan Volpe ‘16, Matt Kerwin ‘19, Bob Hobert ‘19, Hugo Tribe ‘18, Jon Ghaul ‘17, Kevin Garvis ‘19, Brendan Keegans ‘17, Joe Gorman ‘17, Ben Delaney ‘18, and Head Coach Mark Davis. 

For the first time in the program's 60 year history, the GW Men's Rowing team competed at the 2016 Henley Royal Regatta. The team fielded two boats to compete in the Visitor's Challenge Cup at the 2016 Henley Royal Regatta. Read: In Their Own Words: GW Men's Rowing on Henley Royal Regatta.

The Visitor’s Challenge Cup is a Men’s 4- event open to all ages and skill levels.



2017 IRA Championships


Above: The 2017 GW Men's Rowing team on Lake Natoma in Folsom, CA.

At the 2017 IRA National Championships, the Varsity 8+, 2nd Varsity 8+, and 3rd Varsity 8+ either tied or beat their respective seeding coming into the regatta.

The Varsity 8+ won the Third-Level Final to tie the best finish in program history at No. 14 in the nation. The 2nd Varsity 8 rowed in a competitive Petite Final to notch a program-best national ranking of 12th. The 3rd Varsity 8 rounded out GW's entries with a third-place showing in the Third-Level Final to clinch a final national ranking of No. 15.

GW concluded the 2017 season with a final national ranking of No. 15.


2018 GW vs. Navy vs. Columbia vs. Hobart

The GW Men's Rowing team wrapped its regular season with a series of races against Navy, Columbia, and Hobart on Lake Mercer. Conditions featured a variable tailwind at 10-14 mph that increased as racing progressed. The Varsity 8+ rowed in a close race and finished just three inches ahead of Navy after being neck and neck with the Midshipmen down the stretch.

"It was a very exciting and competitive race by all four boats with Columbia and Hobart being about five seconds back so it was a great race for our guys," said head coach Mark Davis. "It was probably the best performance of the year so far, and just a really hard fought row by Navy, which was exciting for us."

Varsity 8+

GW – 5:47.7*

Navy – 5:47.7

Hobart – 5:49.2

Columbia – 5:49.6


2018 Georgey Awards


At the 2018 Annual Georgey Awards, an Athletic Department-wide award ceremony celebrating year-long accomplishments, the Men's Rowing team won the Raise High Our Community Team of the Year Award. This award is given to the athletic team that made the largest impact in our GW and D.C. community. The team logged over 1000 hours of community service.  

In the same year, Jeffrey Dixon '19 won the Male Raise High Our Community Athlete of the Year Award, where he was nominated with two other teammates, John Knies '20 and Charlie Horton '21. Bob Hobert '19 won the Male Red Auerbach Award for the Best All-around Student-Athlete.


2019 IRA Championships


Above: GW Men’s Varsity 8+ crossing the finish line in 1st place on June 2, 2019. Crew: Coxswain Berkeley Melvin ‘19, Stroke Brendan Youmell ‘22, John Knies ‘20, Riley Toporowski ‘22, Bob Hobert ‘19, Matthew Kerwin ‘19, Patrick George ‘22, Jay Jacobs ‘19, Alex Maycock ‘21

On the final day of the 2019 IRA National Championship, the Men's Varsity 8+ won the 3rd level final placing 13th in the United States - a GW Men's Rowing Program record.

Best Finishes:

Varsity 8+ - 13th Place (2019), 14th Place (2014, 2017)

2nd Varsity 8+ - 12th Place (2017)

3rd Varsity 8+ - 11th Place (2016)

Varsity 4- 2nd Place, Silver Medal (2000)



Amid the spread of Covid-19, the spring season, the 2020 EARC Championship and the IRA National Championship were canceled along with all other collegiate sports. The program did not race once in the 2019-2020 academic year.


"Streamlining Athletics"

On July 31st, 2020, the GW Administration and Athletic Department, in an effort to “streamline” athletics, renounced the varsity sponsorship of GW Men’s Rowing at the end of the 2020-21 season along with six other teams: Sailing, Men’s Tennis, Men’s and Women’s Squash, Women’s Water Polo, and Men’s Indoor Track. The effort was cited as a response to the University’s financial deficit and Title IX compliance.


2021 IRA Championships: History


Despite being cut as a varsity sport, the GWU Men's Rowing Team put on a historic performance at the IRA National Championships, taking home 7th place overall - their best ever finish. One boat in particular - the 2V8 - finished first in the Petite Final, beating out powerhouse Brown by open water along with ousting Navy, Cornell, Stanford, and Wisconsin.