Lightweights Host 60th Reunion, Matthews-Leonard Cup Saturday

Video of 1951 Henley Race (last 30 seconds of video)

A History of Lightweight Penn Rowing

Daily Pennsylvanian Article on 1951 Lightweights (April 8, 2010)

PHILADELPHIA - In addition to the Matthews-Leonard Cup race on the Schuylkill River Saturday, the University of Pennsylvania men's lightweight rowing team will also host the 1951 Lightweight crew, one of the most successful teams in Penn history. If not for the 1951 team, the current lightweights may not have had a chance to take on No. 2-ranked Harvard and No. 3-ranked Cornell on Saturday.

"Press on Regardless!" The motto of the 1951 Penn lightweights is still used around the boathouse and Penn rowing offices to this day. In the fall of 1950, the University had decided to discontinue lightweight rowing at Penn, but a select group of oarsmen kept the team going. They enticed Al Lawn, a graduate student and former Penn heavyweight stroke, to come on as the head coach.

In their first race, the crew lost narrowly to Yale. However, they rebounded to beat Princeton on the Schuylkill River before heading to the EARC Lightweight Championships. No strangers to adversity, the 1951 team was given another dose when their boat was damaged during practice. A boatman from M.I.T. was able to repair it overnight and the club-status Quakers and their volunteer coach, swiftly went on to win the Joseph Wright Trophy and the Lightweight Championship. They beat Yale, Harvard, MIT, Columbia, Princeton and Cornell by open water and came within two seconds of the Charles River course record.

After winning its final American race against Cornell, Crawford C. Madeira and the University helped fundraise to send the crew to Henley. The 1951 team marked the first Penn boat to appear at Henley in 50 years. After five races in four days against heavyweight competition, the Thames Challenge Cup was Penn’s. In the final, the Red and Blue took on Renngemeinschaft Florsheim-Russelsheim & Mindener Ruder-Verein, a heavyweight German crew. Just a few years removed from World War II, an enthusiastic crowd cheered on the American Quakers as they claimed Penn's first-ever Thames Challenge Cup.

One week later, the crew competed in the 64th Annual Hamburg International Regatta in Germany, and, naturally, won both races it entered.

Lightweight crew was at Penn to stay. In the early 1950s, the Quakers posted a 23-race unbeaten streak.

For more on the 1951 Penn lightweight season, see the excerpts from Peter Mallory's book, Evolution of the Rowing Stroke.

As for the 2011 edition of the Matthews-Leonard Cup on Saturday afternoon, the first lightweight event begins at 2:40 p.m. Penn's first race, the third varsity, is at 3 p.m., and the varsity race begins at 4 p.m. A complete race schedule and a list of Penn's tentative boatings can be found below.

To listen to the action over the web or on the phone, fans can visit or call 215.399.2864. The team will also provide live updates via twitter. These are all free services.

Last year in this race, the Quakers nearly claimed their first Matthews-Leonard Cup in 20 years. After the officials reviewed a photo finish, Cornell was declared the victor in Ithaca, N.Y.

In the season opener last week, the Quakers won all three freshman races against Delaware and Williams on the Schuylkill River. In the varsity race against the Blue Hens, the Quakers pulled in front at the start, but were caught and held off. Delaware's winning time was 6:10.7 and the Quakers finished in 6:14.6. Later in the afternoon, the Quakers took on the heavyweights from Williams. Once again, the freshman boat claimed a runaway victory, but the heavyweight crew from Williams claimed the varsity race with a time of 6:09.6 to Penn's 6:16.2.

A full recap of the Matthews-Leonard Cup can be found at following the conclusion of the day's races.

Lightweight Race Schedule
2:40pm 2F (no Penn crew entered)
3:00pm 3V
3:20pm 1F
3:40pm 2V
4:00pm 1V

Tentative Boatings
Varsity 8
Cox - J. Bernstein
Stroke - M. Fisher
7 - O. Hurd
6 - H. Nuckols
5 - A. McGrath
4 - A. Neinstein
3 - P. Shay
2 - W. Cooper
Bow - M. Gannon

Second Varsity 8
Cox - D. Nucci
Stroke - B. Adams
7 - P. Rivenburgh
6 - J. Napoli
5 - N. Mihalich
4 - A. McGinley
3 - J. Shovlin
2 - A. Chan
Bow - R. Andruszko

Third Varsity 8
Cox - M. Mitchell
Stroke - V. Valant
7 - S. Travers
6 - B. McGuire
5 - G. Callis
4 - O. Maxwell
3 - M. Cabrera
2 - M. Kozlow
Bow - S. Franklin

Freshman 8
Cox - A. Beauchamp
Stroke - C. Shoener
7 - Z. Seigel
6 - T. Smith
5 - S. Shaw
4 - E. Sezgen
3 - J. Howerton
2 - S. Myslinski
Bow - S. Shephard