In 2012 Williams College became the first
team to win the
ECAC Rowing Trophy & the
ECAC Jostens Instituion of the Year

Award in the same year: (l. to r.) Eph
assistant Meg Conan, Eph head
women's coach Kate Maloney,

Jim Dougher of Jostens and Eph men's
head coach Peter Wells.



2008-09 New England Champions with the spoils from
their historic year. (L to R) coxswain Mike Abrams, Dan
Kenefick, Crosby Fish, Andy Ward, Rob Buesing,
Cameron Skinner, Alex Treco, Joey Kiernan, Jack Wadden
and Coach Ben Lewis.



The 2008-09 Ephs posted the most successful season in their history with a win at the Head of the Charles in the fall and capturing the Little Three title, Onota Cup, NESCAC and New England championships under coach Ben Lewis.

Rowing was one of Williams first sports surfacing on campus in 1869 by the efforts of what was described by the school's administration as a 'decidedly burlesque' group. Williams continued to row up until 1879 when it left the Saratoga regatta along with Harvard, Yale and Bowdoin, to protest gambling and betting on collegiate rowing.

In the 1930's two very enthusiastic school boy rowers from St. Paul's School (NH) and Kent School (CT) started rowing at Williams. Although they attracted 30 to 40 converts each year, the college was not impressed, and felt the sport would 'spell the ruin of all sports in the balmy months of the year.' In the early 1940's, attrition and the effects of World War II left the program quite literally without anyone to man the oars.

In 1968 John A. Shaw '62 returned to Williams to teach history. Shaw's energy and financial backing started williams rowing once again, but unlike the previous two attempts, it was for good.

One of the college shells is appropriately named the Pride and Persistence

Head coach Peter Wells '78 strongly believes that the essence of Williams men's crew revolves around the will, determination, and spirit of every team member.

"My approach is to cultivate and nurture each individual to become the best athlete he can and to help each athlete see that the exercise and experience of rowing is much more than getting into a boat for practices and races, but an experience that parallels many things in life. Everything becomes practice, building winners both on and off the water, not just for the purpose of rowing, but for allowing each individual to grow and mature through his college experience."

Training Facilities/Techniques
Williams men's crew has some of the best athletic facilities of any college its size in the country. The John A. Shaw boathouse, located 21 miles south of the campus on Onota lake in Pittsfield, MA, has more than 25 Vespoli and Empacher Eights, Fours, Pairs and Singles dedicated to the program.

Onota Lake, two miles long, is one of the cleanest rowing bodies of water in the country and considered a Berkshire treasure, surrounded by lofty mountains rich in fall and spring color.

 Ephs win 2006 Little 3 race


On campus, the crew training facility provides a 10-person indoor rowing tank in Chandler Athletic Center and has Concept-II and Gamut rowing ergometers. The rowing tank is located directly underneath the Fitness Center, which was recently expanded to two levels and features free weights, Nautilus, Stairmaster and Lifecycle machines.

The men's crew rows fall and spring and takes full advantage of the natural resources surrounding Williamstown in terms of mountain trails for hill workouts. Regular team competitions and training occur year round in the form of running races, triathlons, ergometer pieces, cross country ski races, mountain climbs, field hockey tournaments, one-on-one basketball, a two-week fitness stint with the wrestling team, yoga and aerobic sessions.

In September and October there are two or three head races. winter training runs from November to march. Two weeks in Myrtle beach, SC and the Occoquan Sprints in Virginia prepare the Ephs for the spring season. The spring season includes competition with Amherst, Bates, Bowdoin, Colby, Connecticut College, Georgetown,  George Washington, Hamilton, Hobart, Holy Cross, Ithaca, UMass-Amherst, Miami (FL), Middlebury, MIT, New Hampshire, Temple, Trinity, Tufts, Tulane, U.S. Coast Guard Academy, Virginia, and Wesleyan. The New England Rowing Championships, NESCAC Championships, ECAC Championships and the Henley Regatta are season highlights.


In October of 2007 several Ephs participated in rowing 53 miles
on the Champlain Canal. L-R, back to front: Joey Kiernan '11,
Mike Abrams '11,Will Parker '08, Jenny Shnabl '10, Ben Byrne '08,
Coach Peter Wells, Andy Lee '10, Cameron Skinner '10, Peter
Clements ' 08, Mike Sacks '08, Ken Sluis '11, Dan Costanza '11
and Patrick Chaney '10


The 2008 Ephs swept the Little Three title races and finished second in the New England Championships. After the 2008 school year concluded the V1 boat headed to England where it succeeded in qualiffying for the Royal Henley Regatta, where the Ephs fell to Harvard in the quarterfinals.

The 2008-09 Ephs made their mark in Williams rowing history when they became the first Williams crew to capture the Collegiate Eight title at the Head of the Charles, defeated 38 other boats in the nation's largest regatta.  Williams' best prior showing at the head of the Charles was 11th. Williams pegged the top time of event at 15:11, despite the poor racing conditions.

2008 Head of Charles Champs