This is Radcliffe Crew

This is Radcliffe Crew


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 consistently finished on the medal stand at the last five 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 Team Mission

  • Radcliffe Crew provides the opportunity, equipment and instruction to walk-on, recruited and varsity athletes to learn how to row and race, developing skills for:

- rowing technique

- effective training and good health habits

- goal setting

- self-evaluation

- performing under pressure

- balancing academic and athletic demands


  • The strength of the team depends on its competitiveness and the objective of the program is to field crews that are contenders for national championship titles.


  • We seek to help our athletes recognize that the skills developed while racing for Radcliffe yield confidence and strength of character and can be used to achieve success on campus and in life after graduation.