The 36th annual Head of the Charles Regatta was a chance for the Harvard and Radcliffe crews to compete against some of the best in the world.
They passed with flying colors.
"It's an honor just to be out on the water with guys like that," men's heavyweight captain Jason Craw said. "It's a really good start to the season for us."
In the Championship Eight division, the Harvard men's heavyweight team raced to a fifth-place finish in a time of 14:55.79, eight hundredths of a second behind the fourth-place crew from Wisconsin.
Harvard moved up six spots from its 11th-place finish last year and shaved 52 seconds off its time.
"It is a great improvement," Craw said. "We got beaten by just about everyone and his brother a year ago."
The U.S. National Team won the race in a time of 14:26.18 after trailing the German National Team for the first quarter of the race.
Northeastern was the fastest collegiate crew Sunday, turning in a third-place finish in a time of 14:46.23.