The Radcliffe crew outrowed girls eights from Princeton, MIT. Connecticut College, and Bloodstreet School on the Charles Saturday. The course ran only about 1100 meters--the normal mens race is 2000--but the 'Cliffies led Princeton and MIT, their closest competitors, by 28 seconds and seven boat-lengths at the finish.
"This victory was especially sweet because the girls finally got to use lightweight oars from Newell, the Harvard boat house." Garrett Olmsted '68, who with his wife Hope Olmsted '68, coaches the Radcliffe crew, said Saturday.
Getting the lightweight equipment from Newell helps resolve the dispute that has run on between the Radcliffe crew and the Harvard Department of Athletics since the Olmsteds organized the team last spring.
Until now the Radcliffe team has had to make do with the old, heavy shells and oars in Weld Boat House where intramural House crews practice. "Women ought to row lighter prep-school shells with shorter, narrower oars," said co-captain Charlotte Crane '72. "The Weld boats not only carry too much wood for us, but some are so old they've been fiberglassed over once or twice as well.
"There aren't any fours available at Weld." Crane added. "We have to send girls home if we can't fill two eights.
Crane and the Olmsteds want Radcliffe crew classified as an intercollegiate sport so that they can move out of House facilities into Newell and share lightweight equipment there with the Harvard freshmen rowers. The Harvard Athletic Department has argued that on a tight budget there simply is not enough equipment to go around--and the men must come first.
"We admire very much the dedication that the Radcliffe girls have shown." Baaron B. Pittenger, associate director of Athletics, said Friday. "We want to help them. But we have no official responsibility this year for Radcliffe. Their athletic budget is still separate from ours. We can spare them a lightweight shell only if fewer Harvard freshmen go out for crew in the spring," he added.
Pittenger said Harvard's Standing Committee on Athletic Sports considered the Radcliffe crew's request for Newell equipment Thursday evening, but came to no decision.
Olmsted, however, said he was happy just to get the lightweight oars for Saturday's race. "It helped us win big--and I think it means we've rounded the corner with the Harvard Athletic Department," he said.