Rowers converge on Philly for N. America's largest collegiate regatta

Mike DeNardo
May 11, 2018 - 9:29 am

Mike DeNardo-KYW Newsradio


Two days of competition are underway along the Schuylkill River, as thousands of collegiate rowers gather for the Dad Vail Regatta.  

Fans line the river to cheer 100 rowing teams. Dad Vail organizing committee head Jim Hanna says it's a tradition that endures.

"We're celebrating an 80th anniversary this year. Very, very big. We're attracting crews from as far north as Canada, as far west as California, as far south as Florida," Hanna said.

This weekend is one that Ohio State crew captain Jake Bridges anticipates all year. He says the Dad Vail is special.

"This is definitely one of the huge regattas that we come to in the spring. Definitely one of the highlights of the season," Bridges said. "This is a really nice buildup into it to get some of our novices experience with a big regatta. You really don't see anything of this scale any other time in the season, so it's a big weekend for sure."

This year's regatta marks the first of six years under new title sponsor, Jefferson University.

"We cannot run a regatta in Philadelphia based on entry fees alone. They would be overpriced," Hanna said. "So we need help from sponsors in order to cover the costs."

On the river, Drexel University is defending its heavyweight eight men's and women's titles.