California Lightweight Rowing (previously Lightweight Crew) has been a team at UC Berkeley since the early 1970s. Today, the Cal Lightweights are the only team in the western United States dedicated to men‘s and women‘s lightweight rowing.
The Cal Lightweights row out of the the boathouse shared with the Oakland Rowing Society situated on the Oakland Estuary, which is a short 20 minute drive from campus. All four of the team‘s squads—Men‘s Varsity, Women‘s Varsity, Men‘s Novice, and Women‘s Novice—share a bay with the Oakland Rowing Society, creating a highly team-oriented atmosphere and fostering a unique social experience for ambitious Cal student-athletes.
To row for Cal Lightweight Rowing, students do not need prior experience with rowing, nor do they need to immediately meet the weight standards (below 160 lbs for men; below 130 lbs for women). Novice rowers are taught how to row at the start of the season. Within two months of taking their first strokes, novices travel with the varsity rowers and compete during the fall “head racing” season (5-6 kilometer races) against novices from other colleges. Because the Cal Lightweights typically race openweight crews in the west, weight limits typically do not become a factor until late in the spring “sprint racing” season (2 kilometer races), when other teams field lightweight competition at the Western Intercollegiate Rowing Association (WIRA) Championships.
Novice rowers graduate to the varsity level after their first spring season of competition. Varsity rowers are eligible to compete for seats in the top boats that the team sends to major championships—most notably, the San Diego Crew Classic, WIRAs, and ACRAs (our national championship race in Georgia).
Rowing practices are typically held from 5am to 7:30am on weekday mornings, with most land training days beginning at 6am. As a team, Cal Lightweight Rowing receives minimal funding from the University, effectively allowing rowers to define the purpose and goals for themselves. At the conclusion of each season, team members nominate and elect officers to manage the team throughout the following season. This officer corps works very closely with Cal Recreational Sports to ensure that the team complies with club standards, collects membership dues on time, has sufficient fund-raising opportunities, and is being managed efficiently.
For more information about California Lightweight Rowing, please contact our coaches or any of the officers below.