California Lightweight Crew originated as part of the University of California, Berkeley Varsity (Heavyweight) Crew team in 1970. Over the next few years, however, the Cal lightweight rowers distinguished themselves from the Cal heavyweight rowers and opted to form their own sports club, now known as California Lightweight Crew. During this time of transition, the heavyweights shared the Ky Ebright boathouse with the lightweight team.
In 1992, the Cal Lightweights moved to a boathouse on the Briones Reservoir in Orinda, CA. In 1996, the team relocated to the Oakland Strokes’ Edward Lickiss boathouse, situated on the Oakland Estuary. The next year, the club expanded to include a women’s lightweight squad. In November 2001, California Lightweight Crew moved into the newly completed Jack London Aquatic Center (JLAC). During the spring of 2019, the team rowed out of the Berkeley Marina for a short period. In that year’s summer, the team once had to relocate again. This time, they moved in with the Oakland Rowing Society, which the team rows out of today, closely located to the old boathouse.
The men’s team departed JLAC in the fall of 2004 and set up shop in Richmond, CA. After storing boats under a tarp for more than one year, it rowed out of the Marin Rowing Association boathouse across the San Francisco Bay in the winter of 2005 before finding a home at San Pablo Reservoir in Orinda, CA the following spring. Having dealt with limited facilities for several seasons, the men’s team managed to return to JLAC and the Oakland Estuary in the spring of 2008. In the fall of 2010, all equipment was moved back inside of the JLAC boathouse. In the spring of 2011, JLAC dissolved as a non-profit entity, and the boathouse is now under the ownership and direction of the Parks and Recreation department of the City of Oakland, CA, though that has not affected the operation of the Cal Lightweights on a day-to-day basis. In 2019, the team moved in with the Oakland Rowing Society.
In the Fall of 2014, the California Lightweight Crew was delegated a permanent team room within the sub-basement of UC Berkeley’s Recreational Sports Facility.
Men’s Racing History and Results
Racing against the since-dissolved lightweight rowing programs at the University of Washington, UCLA, and UC Santa Barbara, the team finished with a 6-2 record in its first full season. Since then, the Cal Lightweights have continued to compete in multiple intercollegiate regattas, with the following notable results.
- Dad Vail Regatta, 2011: 1st of 23, Varsity Lightweight 4+
- San Diego Crew Classic,
- 2011: 1st of 2, Collegiate Lightweight/Secretary of the Navy Cup
- 2010: 1st of 3, Collegiate Lightweight/Secretary of the Navy Cup; 6th of 17, Collegiate Varsity/Cal Cup
- 2008: 1st of 5, Collegiate Lightweight/Secretary of the Navy Cup
- Regional Championships (1st Place Finishes)
- 2013 Western Intercollegiate Rowing Championships (WIRA): Lightweight 4+
- 2012 WIRA: Lightweight 4+
- 2011 WIRA: Varsity Lightweight 8+; Lightweight 4+
- 2009 WIRA: Varsity Lightweight 8+; Novice Lightweight 4+ ; Lightweight 4+
- Pacific Coast Rowing Championships (PCRC): Novice Lightweight 4+
- 2008 WIRA: Lightweight 4+; Varsity Lightweight 8+
- 2007 WIRA: Novice Lightweight 4+; Varsity Lightweight 8+
- PCRC: Novice Lightweight 4+
- 2006 WIRA: Lightweight 4+
- 2005 PCRC: Novice Lightweight 8+; Novice Lightweight 4+
- 2004 WIRA: Novice Lightweight 4+
- PCRC: Varsity Lightweight 8+; Novice Lightweight 4+
- 2003 WIRA: Lightweight 8+; Lightweight 4+; Novice Lightweight 4+
- PCRC: Varsity Lightweight 8+; Varsity Lightweight 4+
- 2002 WIRA: Lightweight 4+
- PCRC: Varsity Lightweight 8+
- 1997 PCRC: Novice Lightweight 8+
- 1995 PCRC: Varsity Lightweight 8+
- 1987 PCRC: Varsity Lightweight 8+
- 1975 Western Sprints (now PCRC): Varsity Lightweight 8+
Women’s Racing History & Results
- ACRA National Championships
- 2018: 2nd of 5, Lightweight 4+; 3rd of 14, Collegiate 1x
- 2017: 1st of 18, Collegiate 2x; 1st of 13, Collegiate 2-
- 2016: 2nd of 18, Collegiate 2-
- Dad Vail Regatta,
- 2018: 1st of 6, Lightweight 4+; 1st of 21, Collegiate 2x
- 2008: 1st of 3, Novice Lightweight 8+
- Regional Championships (1st Place Finishes)
- 2015 WIRA: Lightweight 8+
- 2009 WIRA: Lightweight 8+; Lightweight 4+ ; Novice Lightweight 4+
- 2008 WIRA: Lightweight 8+; Novice Lightweight 4+
- 2006 WIRA: Lightweight 4+; Novice Lightweight 4+
- 2003 WIRA: Novice Lightweight 4+
Sam Saylor ’05 was a member of the USRowing Senior National Team, finishing fifth in the Lightweight 8+ at the 2006 FISA World Championships, and sixth in the Lightweight 4x at the 2007 FISA World Championships.