The Radcliffe crew may not be able to pursue a potentially bright career in women's rowing because it doesn't have the financial support to foot the bill for new equipment and travel expenses.
"In order to give the Radcliffe crew a footing for the future or to give any future crew here a chance, we need about $25,000 to buy new boats and oars," last year's co-captain Martha McDaniel said yesterday.
"The one boat we have has taken a real beating," McDaniel added. "Aside from being 14 years old, it is used everyday, three or four times a day. In order to train well, we need fours, and in order to row at all, we have to have oars that have a surface to pull through the water."
In addition, the women need money for transportation costs in order to compete in the Nationals, which will be held June 15-17 on the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia.
Although it did not go to the Seattle Nationals last year, the 'Cliffe crew defeated the Nationals' winner, Philadelphia Girls Rowing Association, in the Eastern Sprints.
"Radcliffe clearly could be one of the best women's crews in the country," Gail Pierson, president of the National Women's Rowing Association, said yesterday.
"They've made a terrific improvement since the Head of the Charles, and finances should not keep them away from the Nationals," she added.
If Radcliffe wins the women's Nationals, it will have the opportunity to represent the United States at the European Championships in Moscow September 1-2.
"We've never sent a good eight over there," Pierson said. "We're working on an unknown differential which may be as much as 30 seconds. If it is that much, then the crew would have to pay their own way."