The 147th Y-H Regatta – A Foreign Affair?

While we are used to reading that a large number of the Oxford and Cambridge crews are non-Brits, I think it came as a big surprise, at least to many of us, that nowadays there are also a lot of foreign oarsmen travelling in the reverse direction across the pond. This was stated in an article published in January this year in The Economist, which was brought up in an entry on HTBS on 18 January.

After the Yale-Harvard Regatta last Saturday, it might interest the HTBS readers to know how many non-American oarsmen (coxswains included*) are named in the Yale and Harvard rowing Varsity and Freshman programmes. According to the names of the rowers and coxes and their hometowns/‘High Schools’ given in the 147th Regatta Programme, among the 33 oarsmen in the Yale programme, eight are from abroad: three from Australia, one from New Zealand, two from England, one from Germany, and one from South Africa. 24% of the rowing Bulldogs come from overseas. Harvard has an even higher percentage of non-American rowers in their programme. Of the 60 oarsmen, 24 come from foreign countries: seven from Australia, three from New Zealand, nine from England, one from Scotland, one from Germany, and three from Canada, making 40% of the Crimson Ausländischer!

The percent is even higher if we take a closer look at the two Varsity crews: of the nine crew members in Yale’s boat, five came from abroad (55.5%), and six of the nine in Harvard’s boat were non-Americans (66.7%).

So, what do these statistics actually show? To be honest, I am not really sure. Maybe there is great financial aid at American universities for foreign scholars who can handle an oar, especially in an Olympic year like this, when the best of the best American oarsmen are out chasing an Olympic seat?

*Among the coxswains in the Varsity and Freshman programmes at both Yale and Harvard are also a few women.

One comment

  1. As a rower who recently stopped rowing at one of these two schools, I can say that on the end of the internationals, a Harvard or Yale degree is tempting regardless of the financial aid (which is very generous).

    But the reason that so many get recruited by the two schools is not that there is a dearth of worthy Americans during an Olympic year (obviously that would draw just as many, if not more foreigners away) but the men from abroad are simply better oarsmen all of the time. The ratio of foreign rowers really cannot spike that quickly for one year, especially in the varsity crews.

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