The Penn men's heavyweight and lightweight crew teams opened their seasons at Saturday's Navy Day Regatta on their home waters of the Schuylkill. The heavyweights put forth a strong effort with their varsity eight finishing second to the Dowling Boat Club by five seconds. Navy and Temple finished third and fourth, respectively. This marked the first time since 1997 that the Quakers defeated both the Midshipmen and Owls at Navy Day. "We rowed solidly in the championship eight race," senior commodore Doug Sieg said. "Obviously, we would have liked to win, but it was a solid performance." The second varsity boat finished in first place, beating Navy by 13 seconds, while the freshman eight finished in second place, five seconds behind Navy. Freshman coxswain Mark Albert was pleased with his boat's first race. "We really stepped it up for the race -- it was a much stronger row than we've had in previous practices," Albert said. "We have a bunch of good guys from all over with lots of potential and are optimistic about the upcoming season." The varsity four finished in third place behind Temple and Dowling. "Everyone did a great job," Penn coach Stan Bergman said. "One of our goals for the fall is to gain valuable racing experience, and with everybody rowing in two races we certainly met that goal on Saturday." The Red and Blue will face Dowling, Navy and Temple again this weekend in Boston at the Head of the Charles along with crews from Brown, Princeton, Yale, Harvard and Wisconsin. "We are going to Boston to win the Charles," senior captain Keith Sutter said. "We will go down the Charles swinging. We are racers and competitors and give everything we have every day, so race day is just another walk in the park for us." With their first race behind them, the Quakers know what adjustments they need to make to achieve victory. "Our goal is to build off the weekend and make improvements so that we can come out on top in Boston," Sieg said. "We raced with aggression and intensity. We just need to row a little cleaner." For both the heavyweights and lightweights, the fall season is still a time of preparation for the sprint races of the spring season. "We are still training hard and keeping sight of our long-term goal of winning Eastern Sprints and IRAs," Sutter said. "Results in the fall are icing on the cake, building a base and getting in lots of miles." The Penn lightweight varsity eight finished third behind Rutgers and Navy. "I think it goes without saying that we were all disappointed this weekend because practices have been going so well and everyone has been making tremendous improvements," senior captain Eddie Hetherington said. "There is a great deal of room for improvement, and I think we are making good progress every day." Penn's eight also rowed in the heavyweight race. Again, they were unable to achieve the results they had hoped for, in part because they rowed a new lineup they had never used before. "We are hoping that constant mixing will allow for a much more competitive team attitude, which seems to have taken hold," junior commodore Brian Conley said. "I think the results of the race do not reflect accurately what this team is capable of this year. If we can just optimize each stroke a little more, we will give Rutgers and other top crews a good race." The freshman four rowed to a third-place finish in their first race. Like the varsity rowers, Penn's freshmen are mixing their lineups in an effort to row better as a team. Although not the finish they had hoped for, the freshmen are looking to fine-tune their technique and build off their Navy Day performance. Unlike Penn's heavyweights, the lightweights will not be rowing in the Head of the Charles this weekend. "In the next few weeks, we look to work more on our technique than anything else. We all feel that we did not row technically well, but everyone fought the whole race," Conley said. The Quakers will work on getting stronger over the next two weeks and are incorporating more weight training into their workouts. They are looking forward to seeing the results of these efforts in the Head of the Schuylkill.Comments powered by Disqus
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