Walter Schröder rowed with the eights in 1959, which won that year’s European title with an overwhelming margin of some 50 metres. The 1960 crew was known as the “Ratzeburg” crew, even though their members came from both the Ratzeburg and Ditmarsia Kiel clubs, and their prowess was attributed partially to their new oar design. They won the first non-US gold in the eights since 1900 and were subsequently elected West German Team of Year, as they were in 1959. They were also awarded the Silver Bay Leaf in both 1959 and 1960, the highest German sports award.
Schröder later became a rowing teacher and coach. He also wrote several textbooks about rowing, partly together with his teammate Hans Lenk. Schröder became professor at the University of Hamburg and taught sports, especially rowing.