And they’re off!
Penn rowing kicked off its season this weekend with a busy Saturday morning. All three teams — men’s lightweight, heavyweight and women’s — competed for the top spot in a number of races, hoping to begin the spring on a good note.
Lightweight remained at home on the Schuylkill River, competing in four different races – varsity eights, junior varsity eights, third varsity eights and fourth varsity eights – alongside MIT, Delaware and Temple.
Penn cruised past the competition overall, taking home first in the varsity, JV, and 4V races, while the 3V boat finished in a respectable second place. These results certainly set high expectations for the team going forward.
“The biggest [expectation] is that we get better and that we continue to improve and keep working,” lightweight coach Colin Farrell said.
These races were important not only because they set the tone for the remainder of the spring, but also because the freshmen got their first chance to prove themselves in the heat of collegiate competition — and they did not disappoint. At least one freshman sat on each boat, and, given the results, they all pulled their weight.
“Just seeing [the freshmen] being able to contribute at all levels is really big,” Farrell said.
The heavweights traveled up north to the Charles River in Boston to take on Northeastern in the annual Burk Cup. The Cup honors Penn alum and former rowing coach Joseph Burk, an accomplished athlete with an unwavering legacy. The race began in 1970 to honor him and his dedication to Penn.
Three Penn boats competed at the Cup – first, second and fourth varsity – coming short in both the first and second varsity races but picking up a win in the 4V race.
Women’s rowing didn’t travel too far this weekend, racing in Cherry Hill, N.J. on the Cooper River for the fourth iteration of the Doc Hosea Invitational, previously known as the Orange Challenge Cup.
The Quakers faced numerous competitors on the water, including both local programs like Temple and schools as far away as Dartmouth and Minnesota, making for a competitive regatta early on in the season. Finishing fifth out of the 12 teams present, Penn was in the top half of competition, but the Red and Blue certainly left room for improvement throughout the season.
“The outlook is still very much us up to us,” coach Wesley Ng said. “We can create great improvement, or we can stagnate.”
The second varsity eights secured a third-place finish in their Grand Final, falling out of second by a mere .07 seconds. The third varsity fours, a team of walk-ons, also impressed, finishing third in their only race of the day.
“[The regatta] gave us a good sense of where we need to go,” Ng said.
Overall, the hard work and dedication displayed by all the boats this Saturday churns up an enormous amount of promise within each program as each approaches its respective Ivy League Championship.
Full speed ahead.