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Penn rowing faced difficulty in the water this past weekend, struggling against familiar Ivy League competition.

Credit: File Photo

Red and Blue rowing was oars away this weekend as men’s heavyweight, men’s lightweight, and women’s rowing all competed this past Saturday against stiff Ivy League competition early into the season.

To start, the No. 14 men’s Heavyweight and women’s team both competed on the frigid waters of Lake Carnegie in Princeton, N.J. 

The heavies battled for the Child Cup, the oldest trophy in rowing, against bitter rival No. 5 Princeton and No. 15 Columbia, but came up short, finishing in second place behind the Tigers. This now marks the 26th consecutive year that the Quakers have not retained this accolade.

In the varsity eight boat race, the Quakers finished 5.3 seconds behind Princeton. In addition, Penn finished last behind Princeton and Columbia, respectively, in the second varsity 8 boat race. The Quakers did not have enough players in attendance to race in the third varsity eight race.

The women’s team competed later in the day after men’s heavyweight for both the Connell Cup and and the Class of 1984 plaque. The competition featured six out of the seven competitors representing the stacked Ivy League in women's rowing.

The Red and Blue came up short in the morning first varsity eight race for the Connell Cup against No. 7 Yale, No. 19 Dartmouth, and Columbia by finishing in second place. Yale scorched the competition, by beating the second place Quakers by 9.2 seconds. 

“I thought they rowed a very consistent race the first 1250 meters and the last 750 meters they were able to row a brave piece… it was a really encouraging result," coach Wesley Ng said.

However, the afternoon session bore a losing result for the women’s team, as they finished last place in the first varsity eight race for the Class of 1984 plaque. 

“The second race was definitely disappointing, the athletes were primed for a second effort, and about two to three minutes in we were in a very awesome race, and after that our rhythm broke apart,” Ng said. 

Lastly, No. 7 ranked Penn men's lightweight rowing fought No. 1 Cornell and No. 4 Harvard for the Matthews Trophy and the Leonard Point Cup in Ithaca, N.Y.

Harvard destroyed the competition by wining each of the five varsity races, but since the team rowed as a guest, Harvard was ineligible to win either cup.

The first varsity eight race decided the Leonard cup. Cornell retained the cup by finishing second behind Harvard, while the Quakers finished 5.6 seconds behind the Big Red.

The Red and Blue fought back hard, coming in second place in both the second varsity eight and fourth varsity eight races, prompting a tie in points with Cornell. However, the loss in the first varsity eight race would come back to haunt Penn, as the Leonard Cup winner provided the tiebreaker for the Matthews Cup.

Coach Colin Farrell has one point of focus he wants to drive home for his team after this past weekend’s result.

“We’re constantly trying to hone in on how we’re trying to move, and more specifically how we’re trying to move together, so that we feel our technique is not only solid but supporting each other," Farrell said. "It’s been called the ultimate team sport for a reason."

Penn rowing as a whole should gain confidence from this weekend because the potential to outrace some of the top teams in the country is something the Quakers possess. This weekend exposed the Red and Blue to many of the teams they will face later in the season, providing scouting experience and a baseline of expectations for how good opponents are.

All three teams will again be active for next weekend as heavyweight rowing will prepare for the Blackwell Cup, lightweight rowing for the Dodge Cup and women’s rowing for the Knecht Cup on Saturday.