Karl Drlica author

Karl Drlica is a molecular biologist who has written three science books for the general public, most notably Understanding DNA and Gene Cloning: A Guide for the Curious. He has been named an Alumni Fellow at Oregon State University where he learned to row. He also coached a women’s crew at the University of California. He now sculls as a member of the Berkeley Paddling and Rowing Club. The richness of an archive he inherited compelled him to write Bitten by the Rowing Bug. He and his wife, Ilene Wagner, who also rowed, live in Northern California; they have two adult sons.

Title by Karl Drlica

  • Bitten by the Rowing Bug by Karl Drlica

    by Karl Drlica

    • Released: March 2024
    • Genre: Memoirs

    Bitten by the Rowing Bug is about rowing fragile wooden racing shells on an untamed Oregon river in a rowing program that taught self-reliance to college students during the mid-twentieth century. It is also about a legally blind jack-of-all-trades who drove that program forward for more than thirty years. Initially, rowing was offered only to male students, because society frowned on women sweating and fiercely competing. Rowing eroded that attitude and brought equality to team sports. The characters and events that shaped this era of American history reflect a time when self-sufficiency was highly valued: a rowing program challenged by the river taught practical skills, and competing as a team inspired students to achieve collectively. After several decades of effort, varsity status was achieved for both men and women, despite attempts by some University administrators to terminate the largely volunteer program and repurpose the dozen or so buildings at the river. Gleaned from interviews, personal experience, and a rich archive, Bitten by the Rowing Bug gives the reader a sense of the thrill and challenge of using human power to skim over the water surface—all with the added demand of doing it faster than someone else.