Bartman Takes the Helm

Three-time Dutch Olympian and 15-year coaching veteran named head coach of Radcliffe lightweights

During his six-year tenure, Bartman honed elite athletes and prepared them to compete in international competitions, such as the World Rowing Championships and the Olympic Games. Two of his most prominent alums include Andrew Byrnes and Josh Inman, who won gold and bronze in the men’s eight respectively, at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.

But not totally satiated with his success at Vesper, Bartman sought a new challenge in the form of collegiate coaching at Harvard.

“I liked my job at Vesper,” Bartman said. “But it is a club program, and for me to gain some additional learning experience for the future, collegiate coaching was a step that I had to make.”

“I already had an impression of rowing at Harvard and of the university, so when [Harvard lightweight coach] Charley Butt called me up and said, ‘Maybe I can drop your name for the lightweight women’s position,’ I gave him the go-ahead, because I thought that this would be a great opportunity for me,” Bartman said

By stepping into this new role as Radcliffe lightweight head coach, Bartman is cognizant of the new challenges he will face at the collegiate level. Nevertheless, he also confident that his tenure at Vesper has already given him the necessary tools to meet those challenges head-on.


“I have been in the position now for four weeks, and it is not much different from what I am used to at Vesper,” Bartman said. “Recruiting is obviously more intense, but other than that, I coached lightweight women at Vesper, and I had some of my best successes with the lightweight women at Vesper.

“So in that sense, it is nothing new. But just being in a bigger environment than Vesper, it has been a personal education for me just to work more with more people, with coaches, coaches from other sports, etc.”

Having just spent six weeks on the job so far, Bartman has already conquered one of the main challenges every new coach faces by coming into a new team—winning over his players.

“He’s done a great job just getting us up to speed on our technique and getting us fit again,” Vrubel said. “I think that with our attitude and his competitive leadership, we have had a really great start to the year.”

“I think that he’s fitting in with the team really well and his personality is meshing really well with us,” co-captain Emma Lukasiewicz added. “We are all really excited to have him.”

—Staff writer Oluwatoni A. Campbell can be reached at