Radcliffe crew is a national leader, both in the scope of the opportunities offered to athletes, and in the program’s success on the water. Appealing to the nation’s highest achieving student-athletes, our team is distinguished for its competitive record, as well as our student-athletes’ work, research and leadership in Harvard’s academic environment. With fully supported heavyweight, lightweight and novice squads, we offer competitive opportunities for every Harvard athlete. Whether you are an experienced or recruited athlete, or completely new to the sport, Radcliffe crew welcomes you to join our rowing tradition!
Radcliffe crew fills a unique role in the tradition of women’s varsity athletics at Harvard. It is the only women’s varsity team in the Harvard Department of Athletics that continues to compete in black and white under the name Radcliffe. In 1976, at the time when the once all-men’s Harvard College and all-women’s Radcliffe College merged athletic departments, each Radcliffe team had the opportunity to choose whether to remain Radcliffe in name and compete in black and white or become Harvard and compete in crimson. Our team captains were the only ones in the athletic department to vote to keep the Radcliffe name and colors. The captains’ vote reflected the respect for the grit and determination of the women who began the team in 1971 with no prior knowledge of rowing and went on to win the national championship two years later. And so it remains today; our athletes are Harvard women who proudly compete in black and white as Radcliffe crew.
The oldest women’s program in the Ivy League, Radcliffe crew’s early progress was phenomenal. Winning the national championship in 1973 earned the team the right to represent the United States at the Eastern European Championships in Moscow. In 1974, the Eastern Association of Women’s Rowing Colleges (EAWRC) was formed; and in 1974 and 1975, Radcliffe won consecutive Eastern Sprints titles. In 1987, Radcliffe’s heavyweight varsity eight completed an undefeated season with a victory at Eastern Sprints and an Ivy championship title. Six of the crew’s eight rowers went on to compete in the Olympic Games. In 1989, Radcliffe was also undefeated with a Sprints championship and Ivy title. The season finale was a victory in the Open Eight at the Henley Women’s Regatta in England.
This tradition of winning is one which continues today. In 2003, Radcliffe won the first varsity eight title on the way to capturing the NCAA championship. In 2005, the varsity eight finished with the bronze at the NCAA Championships. In between, the 2004 Radcliffe lightweight varsity crew won Eastern Sprints and finished second in the nation at the IRA Regatta. The Radcliffe lightweights have earned 11 top-four finishes in 13 IRA Regattas.
While rowing across the nation has grown in strength and sophistication through the support of Title IX legislation and rowing’s inclusion as an NCAA championship sport in 1997, the determination and success of the early Radcliffe crews serves as inspiration, and it is a tradition carried by the Harvard women who race in black and white for Radcliffe today.
Radcliffe Crew Quick Facts
|Affiliation||NCAA Division I|
|Conference||Ivy League, EAWRC|
|Nickname||Black and White|
|Colors||Black and White|
|Home Races||Charles River, Boston, Mass.|
|Weld Boathouse Phone||(617) 495-9249|
|Heavyweight Head Coach||Liz O’Leary (New Hampshire ’76)|
|Record||191-93 (27 seasons)|
|Lightweight Head Coach||Elizabeth "Lou" Berl (Trinty '88)|
|Record||0-0 (First season)|
|Heavyweight Assistant Coach||Cory Bosworth (California ’99)|
|Lightweight Assistant Coach||Lauren Fisher (Cornell ’10)|
|Heavyweight Coaching Assistant||Wendy Wilbur (Massachusetts ’98)|