Led by an experienced and talented group of seniors, the 2001-02 Penn heavyweight crew headed into the fall season ready to develop the foundation for a competitive and successful year. The Quakers started their season with a second place finish in the Heavyweight Eight Championship at the Navy Day Regatta on October 13th. Two more solid races followed this performance, including the Head of the Schuylkill, where the crew captured another second place in the Heavyweight Eight Championship. The Quakers ended their fall season on a high note by finishing first in their heat at the Frostbite Regatta with a time of 7:05.54.
After an intense winter training schedule, the Quakers began their spring season on March 30 with a win against Georgetown, beating out the Hoyas by nearly four seconds. The following week, the Penn Heavyweight Crew team opened up cup race competition with a second-place finish at the Adams Cup with a time of 5:42.06. Harvard claimed the cup in a time of 5:33.7. After its defeat in the Adams Cup, the Quakers looked for it's first Childs Cup victory since 1993 when they battled Princeton and Columbia the following week on the Schuylkill River. Unfortunately, bad weather and a strong head wind affected the race and the Princeton Tigers won the varsity eight race in a time of 6:13.3. The Quakers went on to claim their second consecutive second-place finish with a time of 6:16.8.
Penn's season continued on April 20th at the Blackwell Cup which was contested on the Housatonic River. The Quakers, who had lost the two previous Cup races, pulled out an exciting victory over Yale in a time of 5:46.2, defeating the home team by seven-tenths of a second to win their first Cup victory of the year and their fourth consecutive Blackwell Cup. Penn next competed as a guest at the annual Content Cup at Lake Carnegie. The team fared well, as the varsity eight boat finished second, just 3.4 seconds off Princeton and seven-tenths of a second ahead of Brown.
The Quakers returned home the following week for their final cup race before the Eastern Sprints. Penn's heavyweight crew battled Northeastern for the Burk Cup, falling just short of victory in their final home race of the season. The Quakers finished second with a time of 5:52.5.
With cup races winding down, the Penn Heavyweight crew looked toward the postseason with hopes of improvement over last year, and the Quakers got just that. The Quakers rowed to a sixth-place finish in the Grand Final of the 2002 Eastern Sprints with a strong time of 5:49.59. This time was good enough to give Penn a fourth-place finish in Ivy competition, up one spot from the previous year. Penn finished behind Cornell, Princeton and this year's Ivy champions-Harvard.
Following Eastern Sprints, Penn closed the 2002 cup race competition at the Madeira Cup in Ithaca, N.Y. The Quakers, who finished second with a time of 6:08.0, fell to Cornell for only the second time in 20 years. With this final Cup race completed, Penn had compiled a 6-5 overall record including a victory at the Blackwell Cup.
The Quakers concluded their season at the 2002 IRA National Championship where they rowed against national powerhouses such as California, Wisconsin, Washington and Harvard. Penn's varsity eight boat finished sixth in the Petite Final with a time of 5:42.27, which placed them third in Ivy League standings and 12th overall. Penn's second varsity eight boat finished fourth in the Petite Final in a time of 5:54.23. The Red and Blue varsity pairs won the Petite Final with a time of 7:05.20, while the freshman eight boat finished second in the Third Level Final with a time of 5:58.27. The Quakers also made a good showing in the varsity four with coxswain, where they finished fifth in the Grand Final with a time of 6:32.45. This boat was the highest placing Penn boat at the IRAs