Pennsauken, N.J. — Wellesley College crew won the 2023 NCAA Division III National Championship on Saturday on the Cooper River. With the team victory, Wellesley captured back-to-back NCAA national championships for the first time in program history while winning the program's third NCAA title (2016).
The Blue are now one of only three schools to earn at least three NCAA Division III rowing championships. It is also the first time a team has won the NCAA Division III rowing championships in back-to-back years since Bates won in 2018 and 2019. Wellesley has finished in the top three nationally every year since 2015, with the exception of 2020 and 2021 when the Blue did not compete due to the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Blue Crew's varsity eight (V8+) took gold in the V8+ Grand Final and the second varsity eight (2V8+) earned silver in the 2V8+ Grand Final to propel the team to a first place finish in the team standings with 54 points. Wesleyan finished in second as a team with 45 points. Tufts and Bates tied for third with 41 points.
Wellesley's V8+ got out in front early and started to pull away from the field between the 500m and 1000m marks. By the 1500m mark, the Blue held a four second lead over second place Wesleyan. Wellesley kept pushing through the final buoys, with the Blue winning with a time of 7:06.275, ahead of second place Wesleyan (7:09.949).
Blue Crew finished second to Bates in the 2V8+ Grand Final. Wellesley and Bates separated from the pack early, with Wellesley narrowly leading the Bobcats at the 500m and 1000m mark. Bates overtook the Blue between the 1000m and 1500m mark, with Bates leading by .142 seconds. In a near photo finish, Bates crossed the line first with a time of 7:10.463 followed by Wellesley with a time of 7:11.245, nearly seven seconds ahead of third place Williams (7:18.023).