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The Penn women's crew team's fall season began last weekend with an impressive showing on the Schuylkill River at the Navy Day Regatta. In the varsity eight, Penn finished in first place with a time of 14 minutes, 59 seconds. The Quakers' second varsity boat took second place with a time of 15:36. The varsity four placed first in their race also with a time of 16:14. Penn coach Barb Kirch was very excited about her team's performance. "Last year, Navy beat us by one second," Kirch said. "I was impressed by our 28-second difference ahead of Navy this year. However, this was only our first race of the year." The Quakers have a number of challenges still ahead in their fall rowing season. Their next test will come this weekend in Boston. The Quakers will be traveling to Boston to compete in the 36th annual Head of the Charles Regatta. This competition is world famous and includes some of the best rowers in the world. Each year, it draws over 300,000 spectators to the banks of the Charles River to watch the two-day event. Kirch knows that it's going to be a difficult event because so many tough teams will be there, but it's bound to be a great experience builder for the Red and Blue. She and the team are naturally excited. Head races are a class of regattas. They are generally three miles, in which long boats race against not only each other, but also the clock. The boats start sequentially, approximately 15 seconds apart. The Quakers are scheduled to start 40th, and Kirch's goal is for Penn to finish 15th overall. After this weekend's event, Penn will return home to the Schuylkill for next week's Head of the Schuylkill. "We are significantly faster, at this point this year, than we were at this point last year," Kirch said. "The only question is, OHow much faster are the other teams?'" The Penn women's rowing team will get its first answer to that question this weekend up in New England.

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