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Spring began with a frosty morning on the Schuylkill River for all three of Penn’s rowing teams Saturday.

The men’s lightweight squad overcame its recent struggles against Delaware, taking three of four races, while men’s heavyweight split four races with George Washington. Meanwhile, on the women’s side, the Quakers were swept by a top-ranked Yale squad.

The teams quickly forgot about the wintry, near-freezing conditions of their opening day as they relaunched team rivalries — some that left off as recently as last fall as in the case of the lightweight squad.

“Delaware is a crew that beat [our varsity teams] all three times we faced them in the fall,” lightweight coach Nick Baker said. “It’s a very sharp crew, and I’m happy we were able to perform at a level where we could beat them today.”

Baker also said that, despite the reversal of outcomes, the result was no fluke.

“It was all our hard work over the winter, the dedication we put into each practice,” he said. “Learning that each stroke counts — and they really put it on the end of the oar today.”

Meanwhile, the Quakers’ heavyweight squad dueled with a George Washington team that enjoyed a breakthrough season under Penn’s current coach Greg Myhr just a year ago.

The Red and Blue defeated the Colonials in their second varsity eight and freshmen eight races, while falling in both the varsity eight and second freshman four.

“We’re going to need more speed early on in the race,” Myhr commented. “Particularly today, with the tail wind, it was a short race — you don’t have a lot of forgiveness for not taking care of business early.”

But Myhr still found the motivation he was expecting out of his team.

“There was no lack of fire and no lack of heart from these guys,” he said.

The ability to get the most out of his rowers is apparently not a new phenomenon. In fact, George Washington men’s heavyweight coach Mark Davis has enjoyed reaping Myhr’s past coaching contributions to his current team.

“[Myhr] left me with a fantastic group of guys,” Davis said. “They have a good work ethic, so it’s made [coaching them] very easy.”

Penn’s women’s team lost all five of their races to a Yale team that is currently ranked No.1 in the nation. However, they finished ahead of Columbia in four of those races.

“The bottomline is, this was a great opportunity to learn from our mistakes,” women’s coach Mike Lane said. “Yale is a very fast team, the fastest in the country. Getting faster each week is going to be very important for us.”

The women’s rowers were also generally optimistic about their performance.

“The end of our races was our strongest point,” junior Elizabeth Fitzgerald said. “For the last 650 meters of the race we all decided we were going to make a move and we did.”

The women’s team will have their next meet April 10, when they will host Northeastern and Syracuse for the Orange Challenge Cup.

Men’s lightweight will travel to Cambridge, Mass., to face Dartmouth and MIT on April 3. The heavyweight squad, meanwhile, will not see action until a week later, when the Quakers will head up to Pelham, N.Y., to face Princeton and Columbia in the Childs Cup.

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