BY CHIP DAVIS
PHOTO BY ROB PUNGELLO
These rankings are based on demonstrated boat speed, not the quality of the student-athlete experience. Division III colleges recruit, train, and develop crews and athletes differently than schools in Division I and II. Division I creates the fastest crews but not necessarily better experiences for its rowers.
There were no Division III schools in the top 25. Because Division III men’s crews now have a proper professionally-administered national championship as part of the IRA (which women’s D3 programs have had for years with the NCAA), a legitimate ranking order can be established from the official regatta results.
1. Williams College
The Ephs won the 2022 IRA National Championship Division III grand final by more than three seconds and the women finished fifth at the NCAAs. In 2022 Williams was the best overall rowing college in Division III.
2. Bates College
The Bobcats’ streak of four-straight NCAA D3 national championships came to an end in 2002 as they finished one point behind Wellesley. That impressive finish, combined with their men’s fourth place showing at the IRA earned Bates—the smallest school (enrollment 1,821) to be ranked— number two among Division III colleges.
3. Worcester Polytechnic Institute
WPI’s women’s third-place team ranking at NCAAs, only two points behind Bates, and the men’s fourth place at the IRA, lands them third in the rankings.
4. Wellesley College
Despite not having a men’s program, the original member of the Seven Sisters Colleges ranks fourth on the merit of winning the Division III NCAA National Championship.
5. Tufts University
The Jumbo pride propelled the men to second at the IRA, edging Trinity by half a second. The Tufts women finished a solids sixth at NCAAs to land the Brown and Blue fifth overall in D3.
6. Ithaca College
Ithaca’s fourth-place finish and the NCAAs makes the Bombers program sixth overall in Division III.