We herein report an experimental study on the morphological evolution of a vortex ring formed inside a liquid pool after it is impacted and penetrated by a coalescing drop of the same liquid. The dynamics of the penetrating vortex ring along with the deformation of the pool surface has been captured using simultaneous high-speed laser induced fluorescence and shadowgraph techniques. It is identified that the motion of such a vortex ring can be divided into three stages, during which inertial, capillary and viscous effects alternatingly play dominant roles to modulate the penetration process, resulting in linear, non-monotonic and decelerating motion in these three stages respectively. Furthermore, we also evaluate the relevant time and length scales of these three stages and subsequently propose a unified description of the downward motion of the penetrating vortex ring. Finally, we use the experimental data for a range of drop diameters and impact speeds to validate the proposed scaling.