Daniel James Brown

The Boys in the Boat

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  • Features 19 chapter summaries and 6 sections of expert analysis
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The Boys in the Boat Chapters 9-10 Summary & Analysis

Part Three: The Parts That Really Matter

Chapter 9 Summary

In January, Ulbrickson makes an announcement to all the members of the rowing team. The boys will be put into set crews and race against one another. The crews would change periodically until Ulbrickson found the perfect combination to race for the Olympic medal in Berlin. “It was up to each of them whether he would be there or not” (150). An “All-out war” (150) began in the shell house, with the boys pitted against one another. Roger Morris and another future Olympian, Shorty Hunt, are placed in a boat with Joe. The other future Olympians—Don, Johnny, Stub, Chuck, and coxswain Bobby Moch—are in different boats.

During a rare, sunny Seattle day, Joe takes Joyce for a canoe ride on Lake Washington. The next day, he visits his father at work. They chat and Joe asks if he can see his half siblings. Harry refuses but notes that he and Thula sometimes go out of town, implying Joe could see them then. In early April, the boys travel to Oakland for the Pacific Coast Regatta, where they will race against Cal and others. Ulbrickson decides that the sophomore boat, Joe’s boat, will race as the varsity team, “despite their repeated defeats” (165) against the other Washington boats. The demoted JV boat beats Cal, “unleashing months’ worth of frustration” (167). The varsity race is neck-and-neck, but Washington is eventually declared the winner by six feet. The boys celebrate.

Chapter 10 Summary

The boys prepare for the Poughkeepsie Regatta in June. Ulbrickson announces that the sophomores will not necessarily retain their varsity status, but must earn it. Joe and the other sophomores are disappointed, and row very poorly for the next few weeks. Ulbrickson threatens to break up their combination, though he “hated to even say it” (177). In May, he tests all the boats again, and the older boys win “by a length” (180). Local sportswriters note that the older boys tire more easily than the sophomores, and that the race in Poughkeepsie is a long one, four miles.

The team travels to Poughkeepsie, where the…

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