On Sunday, Penn women's rowing finished its final race of the fall season in Princeton, N.J. Despite not being able to put out a first-place performance on the day, the Quakers still found success against conference rivals in several categories.
Before the Princeton Chase, Penn competed in two other regattas this fall. The team got off to a blisteringly fast start to the season, both figuratively and literally. At the Navy Day Regatta in October, Penn's A boats won all three of the events they competed in. Penn’s B boats weren’t far behind as the Quakers were able to claim the top two spots in the results table for both Women’s Eights divisions. In many ways, Penn was the fastest boat on the Schuykill that day.
The competition at the team’s next race — the Head of the Charles — was much fiercer. Penn traveled north to Boston and raced against a multitude of top programs from around the country and world. Compared to the Navy Day Regatta, which involved mainly local crews from the Philadelphia area, the Head of the Charles matched the Quakers against top opposition. Ultimately, the best performance on the day came from Penn’s A boat, which placed third in the Club Eights, with no championship boat cracking into the top ten.
The Princeton Chase took place on a three-mile segment of Lake Carnegie, located near Princeton's campus. Among opposing crews were Ivy League rivals Harvard and Princeton, as well as other boats representing a variety of other American collegiate programs.
The first women's race of the day came in the Open Eights division. Penn’s A boat earned an impressive second-place finish out of 54 crews, trailing only Princeton. Penn’s B boat also performed very well, finishing fourth ahead of three of Princeton’s remaining boats and all of Harvard’s. The Quakers also had C, D, and E, boats on the water in the same race, placing 14th, 37th, and 27th, respectively.
Later in the day, a second round of Women’s Eights racing took place, this time with only nine crews involved. Penn’s only boat finished in the middle of the pack at seventh, as the Tigers went on to secure another victory. Princeton, Indiana, and Rutgers each saw their A and B boats finish above the Quakers on the results table.
The Tigers went on to win four of the six women’s divisions, with Penn only competing in two. The Quakers fared reasonably well in the two races they saw action in, but Princeton appeared dominant throughout the day's racing. Rowing on home waters may have played a role, but the Tigers' performances were impressive nonetheless.
Heading into the team's winter break — and with it chances to train, build chemistry, and strategize — it remains to be seen how much these fall performances by Penn will predict success at May's Ivy League Championships.