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The Lightweight Season

photo courtesy Jacquie Labatt

Lightweight crew — with a 130-pound maximum weight — provides a competitive opportunity for smaller-stature athletes. The Radcliffe lightweight varsity has long been established as a powerhouse in intercollegiate crew.

From 1995 to 1997, the Radcliffe lightweights won three consecutive national championships, with the gold in 1997 capping an undefeated regular season.

Recently, the 2006 Black and White won the Windemere Classic and the Knecht Cup before finishing second at the Eastern Sprints regatta and third at the IRA National Championships. The 2005 lightweight varsity finished with the bronze at the Eastern Sprints and IRA Regatta, and the 2004 lightweight varsity eight won their first Eastern Sprints title since 1997 and went on to take silver at the IRA National Championships. Radcliffe returned to the Sprints podium in 2010, earning a bronze medal, and finished fourth at the IRA regatta.

The varsity concluded the 2004 season by traveling to England to take part in the Henley Women’s Regatta. Competing locally in the prestigious Head of the Charles, the lightweight varsity four won their event in 2004 and the lightweight eight earned a silver in the fall of 2002.

The dual season includes Charles River and away races against the best regional and national programs. In recent seasons, the lightweights have competed at both the Windermere Regatta and Knecht Cup. They race at the Eastern Sprints championships and have their national championship event at the IRA regatta on the Cooper River in Camden, N.J.

Lightweight crew has been supported at Radcliffe since 1976. In 1996, the same year that lightweight women’s rowing was added as an Olympic event, collegiate lightweights made the transition from competing in fours to eights. In 2003, Radcliffe took an additional step, expanding to include a novice lightweight squad. For the 2007 season, the EAWRC lightweight coaches made the decision to expand racing to include a second varsity eight. These transitions reflect the growth in size and competitiveness of our program here at Weld and collegiate lightweight programs across the nation.