19th Century

The Rives Boat Club, 1883

The first intercollegiate athletic competition that any University of Virginia team ever took part in happened on June 30, 1877. The University’s newly formed rowing team, known then as the Rives Boat Club (named after its benefactor, Francis R. Rives), raced the Tobacco City Club of Lynchburg, Virginia, on the James River. Nearly 3,000 spectators watched from the shore that day. The first incarnation of the University’s crew lasted for six years, until 1883, during which time the boat club lost just two races—its first and last.