Bill Tytus began rowing at Green Lake as a teenager after watching a boy a few years older from his neighborhood row. While rowing at Green Lake, Bill and three other young men traveled around the Pacific Northwest and as far as San Francisco to race. They traveled with a four strapped to the top of a convertible and typically won.
When not practicing in sweep boats, Bill got into a single and spent long hours rowing on Lake Washington. During those formative years he was coached by Ted Nash, Charlie McIntyre, George Pocock and Stan Pocock. Bill was a driven, fierce competitor with an independent mind. He often rowed in the middle of the lake so he wouldn’t have to worry about where he was going and could just concentrate on pulling hard. Bill also discovered the Pocock boat shop, which was housed in the north bay of Conibear shellhouse at the University of Washington. Hanging around the shop, he was put to work making brass oarlocks.
After high school Bill went east to begin college and resumed sculling in a single. He returned to Seattle to finish his undergraduate education at the UW and to commit himself to racing at the highest level of competition. He became a member of the U.S. National Team from 1969-1971. During his competitive career Bill won Junior Nationals in a four, took second at the Intercollegiate Rowing Association Nationals in an eight, placed second at the 1969 Henley Diamond Sculls, stroked the U.S. eight at the European Championships and was second in the single scull at the Pan Am Games.
Returning from an international tour with the national team, he was invited to Boston by teammates for a visit. He ended up staying, found a job teaching special education, married, and started his family. While on a family trip to Seattle in 1985 he visited Stan Pocock. Stan told Bill that he felt it was time to retire and pass the Pocock boat company to someone else. By this time Bill?had stopped rowing, but the sport and the boats were still his passion. Bill took over Pocock Racing Shells from Stan and has led the company for 30 years, bringing innovative design and construction, and the use of advanced materials to the racing shell industry.
Bill Tytus and Pocock Racing Shells have been big supporters of the Lake Washington Rowing Club and the University of Washington for decades. They have also been annual sponsors of the Head of the Lake Regatta. In January of 2011, the Lake Washington Rowing Club decreed that the award for the Men’s Open Single event of the Head of the Lake Regatta would thereafter be named the William B. Tytus Cup. Chris Wales of the Seattle Rowing Center was the first winner of the named trophy. Alex Twist of the Seattle Rowing Center was the 2014 winner.