John R. Welchli
John R. Welchli
Hometown: Jackson, MI
Team: Special

John R. Welchli '50
Hometown:
Jackson, MI
Sport:
Special
Year Inducted:
1979

John R. Welchli ’50 is a member of Brown’sdistinguished list of alumni who have participated in the Olympics.He was a member of the United States team that took a Silver Medalin the four-man crew without coxswain at the 1956 Games inMelbourne, Australia. Welchli was also involved in 32 U.S. Nationaland Canadian Henley National championships in sculling and sweeprowing in the heavy and lightweight categories between 1955-64. Formany years he held the National record (2000 meters) in thelightweight single and double and also the Canadian Henley in thelightweight singles. In recent years, Welchli has rowed in theveterans categories at Head of the Charles Regatta in Boston andmanaged the fastest elapsed time on several occasions, including1978. Just this September he took first place (age 45-51) in theSingles and in the 50-and-Over bracket for four with coxswain atthe First Annual Masters Rowing Championship in Craftsburg, Vt. Asan undergraduate, John Welchli was a swimmer, ran track for fouryears, and captained the cross-country team. It was a skiingaccident that led him into rowing. While recuperating from a kneeinjury, he used the locker room facilities of the Detroit Boat Cluband did his running on the nearby bridle paths. Walter Hoover, thevenerable rowing coach at the Club, talked to Welchli aboutswitching sports and the Brown graduate has been pulling his ownoar ever since. After two years of military service, Welchliresumed rowing in 1954 and in just two years became a member of theOlympic rowing team. This was the most successful group ever boatedby the United States, winning six medals in seven events. Perhapsthe key to John Welchli’s success is his versatility. He isone of the few men ever to achieve success in both sculling andsweep rowing as a heavyweight (which his is not) and as alightweight. He is vice president and treasurer of SecuritiesCounsel, Inc., in Jackson, Mich.