Although fall is not its traditional competitive season, the Penn women’s rowing team still races to gear up for the spring and get a first look at opponents.

Last weekend, the Varsity Eight made an appearance at the prestigious Head of the Charles Regatta in Boston, finishing an impressive 13th out of 37 boats, covering the course in 17:01.33.

In 2010 Penn finished 11th out of 30 boats.

Coach Mike Lane was “more than pleased” with his team’s performance.

“We had a much more inexperienced crew this year than we did last year, so I was overall really happy with how we did,” he said.

This weekend, the Red and Blue return to the river twice, competing in the Head of the Schuykill on Saturday and at the Princeton Chase on Sunday. Lane plans to send four Varsity Eights and two Freshman Eights to the various contests, because he wants to give everyone on the team the chance to race at least once this season.

“Because the fall is our non-traditional season, it’s really just an opportunity for [the coaches] to trick the kids into training really hard,” he said. “The spring is our priority, but if we have a good fall training-wise then we should be pretty successful, and if we don’t, we know what we need to work on.”

The Head of the Schuykill will feature mostly local competition, Lane said, adding that he thinks Penn has a good chance at winning the race.

“The Princeton Chase is the important race because almost all of the in-league competition will be there,” he said.

“Sunday is pretty important in terms of how the results stack up. It will be a great gauge to see where we are at this point.”

Overall, Lane is confident with his team going into this weekend, based on their weeks of practice and their results in Boston last weekend. Chemistry, rhythm and ratio have been the main focus, he said, and this past week the results have been “outstanding.”

“We’re just always looking for ways to improve,” Lane said. “This weekend will be one of those perfect opportunities to see where we are and to see where we need to move forward. I’m ready.”

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