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Stanford Men's Rowing History

Stanford Rowing was created in 1903. The first boathouse was built by the oarsmen in 1907. From 1904 to 1921, the Cardinal competed against the University of California and the University of Washington. In 1906 under the direction of Coach Dan Murphy, the Stanford Cardinal raced the University of California in the first eight-oared shell race in the western United States. In 1912, Stanford participated in the Poughkeepsie (NY) Regatta. Stanford was the first West Coast crew to participate in the regatta. Due to financial difficulties, the Cardinal was forced off the water from 1921 to 1938.

In 1939, Stanford was able to renew the rowing program through donations from the University of California and the University of Washington. The rebirth proved to be short-lived. The onset of World War Two forced all universities to shut down their athletic departments. The team once again resurfaced in 1946 with Coach Asa Clark and has created a niche for itself in the rich rowing tradition on the West Coast. From 1946 to the present, the Stanford Cardinal has become a regular participant at the Intercollegiate Rowing Association (IRA) championships, considered by most universities to be the National Championship race.

The Stanford/California racing tradition began in 1902. It has almost one hundred years of history behind it, making it one of the oldest and most time-honored races on the West Coast. The two Varsity eights race for the possession of the Schwabacher Cup. California leads the all time series, 50 to 18.

Although the Cardinal maintained club status for the first eighty years, many Stanford rowers have represented the United States on the International level. In fact, eight former Cardinal rowers are Olympic medallists. The Cardinal is well represented at the elite level.


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