Mens' Crew Team

Men's Crew Club Alumni & History

If you are an alumnus of the SDSU Men’s Crew club team, please visit


Aztec Rowing History

San Diego Rowing Club 1908
San Diego Rowing Club on January 1st in 1908: Note that everyone is in swimming garb for the then annual ’New Year’s Day Plunge’

The MEN’S CREW TEAM at SDSU dates back to 1925 when a few men at San Diego State College formed a team to compete in the Pacific Association of Amateur Oarsmen in San Francisco. With Cornelius Ullman acting as manager and conducting business on behalf of the team, this was the first step taken towards intercollegiate competition.

The next major milestone occurred in 1946, when some young men returning from the war entered the college with a desire to engage in rowing. The seasons of 1947 and 1948 afforded the San Diego State College crew competition with favorable results. At the end of the 1948, due to lack of its own facility and equipment, rowing was again discontinued at San Diego Sate College.

San Diego Rowing Club 1947
The 1947 Varsity 8, coached by our legendary mentor, H. Del Beekley. That year’s crew included John Seagren, Harry Barnett, Ralph M. Davis, Jr., Roger Heatherly, Stan Burdette, Curtis Heilbron, Everett Schmidt, Roger R. Lindhom, Jerry Hardy, Paul Lamareaux, Bob Daley, Hal Frommer, and Manager Kenneth R. Cilch.

In 1959, $10,000 dollars donated to the college on the condition that it take up rowing, again got our crew underway. From the $10,000 the team was able to purchase from George Pocock of Seattle 3 new eight-oared shells: Miss Pepsi, Aztec, and Mayan. Also purchased were materials for a 16-man training barge.

1964 saw the purchase of coaching launches trailers and on April 20, the crew moved into new quarters on Mission Bay. Also that year, the Crew Auxiliary was formed by a group of girls interested in promoting the sport.

San Diego Rowing Club
Throughout these years, while the Aztecs were always bested by the crème-du-la-crème of West Coast Rowing (Cal, Washington, and Stanford), San Diego State Aztecs won shirts from every, single other crew at one time or another; Long Beach State, St. Mary’s, Santa Clara, etc.

Aztec Men’s Crew has maintained a reputation of perseverance and tenacity as a club team for the last few decades. In the 1980’s, under former SDSU Men’s Crew coach Doug Perez, the Aztecs varsity lightweight crew were ranked 5th in the nation and were amongst a team of nearly 200 Aztecs. In the 1990’s our varsity boat held the coveted Cal Cup and though often the underdog in size and equipment, Aztec Crew has beaten bigger, and more well funded schools such as UCLA, CAL, and USC. Former San Diego State oarsmen have competed in events at the 1988, 1992, and 2004 Olympic Games.

A General History of Rowing

San Diego Rowing Club
The 1970 J.V. 8. While we are attempting to obtain the names of all of these Aztec oarsmen (apologies to those who we have not yet identified), two members of this crew were more than just a part of the expansion and maturation of SDSU crew in the ’60s-’70s. They became important supporters of the crews of the late ’70s and ’80s. Third from the left is Buzz Brandlin and second from the right is Doug Walters - both donors and, also, members of our support groups of that later era.

At first, Oared vessels were used for transport, commerce, fishing, life-saving and war.

Ancient Greek legend has it that the first crew race was held at the Isthmian games in Athens, Greece in 500 B.C.

In the late 1200s, Venice’s dependence on water transport provided a natural venue for the evolution of medieval and Renaissance water festivals. By 1315, the Venetian regata included boat races among other forms of aquatic display and entertainment

The early 1800s saw the first college boat club organized at Oxford University, and the first recorded contest among the Oxford college boat clubs for Head of the River was won by Brasenose.

San Diego Rowing Club
1982 Lightweight Varsity at the Western Sprints. The third crew in a row to defeat Cal in a dual meet, here they are in Sacramento with the West Coast Lightweight 8 Trophy and all of their shirts. L to R = Dave Sheeron, Michelle Pius, Craig Poulen, Leon Pawinski, Toby Shipley, Mark Bassett, Scott Dillard, Kevin Killen, and Coach Perez. Seated = Dan Barger

The Games of the Second Olympiad in Paris included six rowing events; the first Olympic eights contest was won by the Vesper Boat Club on the Courbevoie course on the Seine. Intense rivalry throughout the 1900s between rowing clubs, colleges and universities, and even countries has helped to sustain the great tradition of competition rowing.

San Diego Rowing Club
The 1984 Aztec Heavyweight Varsity = ’The Fastest Crew in History’
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