One of the major challenges facing any college student centers around the fact that there are so many things to do, see, enjoy, and experience during one’s undergraduate years.
The challenge of walking a tightrope between different time commitments is even larger for the numerous student-athletes at Harvard.
Between classes, team practices, conditioning, extracurricular commitments, weekend trips for games and races, and maintaining social relationships, one would think that maintaining such a hectic lifestyle, much less succeeding at it, would be extremely difficult.
Not so in the case of senior rower Liz Soutter, who over her four years on the Radcliffe heavyweight crew team has found tremendous success not only in the water but also on campus.
Last season, Soutter rowed exclusively with the varsity eight and reinforced her status as a true impact player for the Radcliffe heavyweights.
The varsity eight was able to record landmark victories throughout the course of the season, including a win over Yale for the Black and White’s first Case Cup victory since 2003 and a win in the third-level final at NCAA Championships. Soutter, who rowed mostly in the five seat, was named second-team All-Region for her efforts.
Yet Soutter’s tremendous success for the Radcliffe heavyweights has in no way impeded her ability to succeed in other aspects of her college experience.
“Liz Soutter is great,” co-captain Kirsten von Fossen said. “I think a lot of girls look up to Liz because she just does so much. It’s amazing. She’s head of her HoCo, she’s done tons of fashions shows, and she’s the best-dressed on the team. But she just has a great personality. She’s always bright, and it’s so great to have her around the boathouse—she lifts everyone’s mood. Not to mention that she’s a great rower.”
“I do really well as rower, but I also have a very good sense of balance,” Soutter said. “I think I strike a healthy balance with rowing, school, and my other interests for two reasons. Primarily I’m very clear with myself about what my priorities are. Obviously, crew is very high on that list—I have no doubts about that. I also strike a healthy balance because I try to do things that I genuinely enjoy doing.”
In addition to her position in the Black and White varsity eight, the social anthropology concentrator serves as the chair of the Lowell House Committee. Soutter has also served as the Freshman Week coordinator for Crimson Key Society and has designed clothing for campus fashion shows Identities, Haute, and Cocktails & Couture.
“I’ve made a lot of close friends in Lowell House, and that is why participating on the House Committee has been such an incredible experience for me,” Soutter said. “Doing HoCo doesn’t feel like a job, it’s just a really fun experience. That’s the same with rowing—yes, it’s definitely a lot of work, but I wouldn’t be doing it if I didn’t love it so much, and if I didn’t value the friendships I’ve made and the experiences I’ve had along the way.”
Looking towards the future and what her legacy for the team will be after the end of this season, Soutter hopes that her ability to balance many different commitments and also have a highly enriching and successful college experience will serve as a model for her teammates and others.
“I think a big misconception about varsity athletes is that you can’t have a social life, or that they don’t do well in school, and that they certainly can’t do well in all three because one of them has to give,” Soutter said. “But I dont think that is true at all. That is one thing that I have done a good job at throughout college is just having a very good balance between all areas of my life, and that is definitely something that my teammates look up to me for. I hope that they will remember me by that.”
It is this same sense of balance between all the different aspects of her college experience that has earned Soutter glowing admiration and respect from many of her teammates and friends.
After graduation, Soutter, a native of Toronto, Ontario, hopes to start a career in marketing. She believes that her involvement and experiences with Radcliffe crew has been invaluable in shaping her as an individual.