Rowing has an illustrious history in Duluth. Between 1911 and 1923, it was a sport that commanded headlines. During that time, Duluth crews won 47 of 58 races, 20 national championships, took nine-second place medals and one third.
The sport really began to flourish with the arrival of Julius H. Barnes at the turn of the century. He became the driving force in the club and was instrumental in building a new clubhouse that enabled the club to become the social center of Duluth in the early 20th century.
Banes hired James Ten Eyck in 1911 to coach crews. The leadership of Ten Eyck allowed Duluth to dominate the sport for the next dozen years. In 1913, Duluth's "Invincible Four" - Dave Horak, Doug and Phill Moore, and Max Rheinberger - won a national championship. The crew went to carve a record of distinction: it never lost a race prior to WWI, compiling a perfect 22-0 record in national and international meets and retiring unbeaten.
The sport was curtailed during the war, but entered another glorious period between 1920 and 1923. It was during that time that Walter Hoover made his mark by winning both the Philadelphia Gold Challenge Cup and the Diamond Sculls at the Henleyon the Thames in London in 1922. The Henley was regarded as the world championship. Hoover's heroics were rowing's last high point for Duluth.
In 1955, the club reorganized. The club kept pace with its regional competition, but never regained its national domination of the sport. In recent years, Duluth has produced a small pool of excellent rowers. Besides producing national gold and silver medalists, locals have gone on to be a part of nationally ranked crews in other rowing clubs and Universities.
Internationally, former Duluth rowers have won gold, silver and bronze medals in the Olympics, World Championships, the Friendship Games in Moscow and the Royal Canadian Henley. Regionally, the Duluth Rowing Club competes in the North Western International Rowing Association comprised of ten clubs from the mid-west and Canada. Throughout the spring and summer, Duluth rowers compete in a number of invitational and national regattas for women and men. The rowing season culminates with the NWIRA championships in mid August. Here, member clubs vie for the prestigious Lipton Cup in addition to individual race trophies and medals.