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Drexel Crew Prepares to row into School History at Dad Vail Regatta
By Eddie Levin 
 
From the moment Paul Savell stepped onto the Drexel University campus after being named Director of Rowing in 2007, his goal was to raise the bar for the Dragon rowing program, especially at the Dad Vail Regatta. 
 
An event contested on the Schuylkill River since 1953, Savell was eagerly anticipating the moment his team could experience the euphoria that accompanies winning in front of the home crowd. 
 
Back in 2013, with the sun shining down and the crowd reaching a fever pitch as the Men’s Varsity Heavyweight Eight race was nearing the finish line, the Dragons came from behind to stun perennial powers Michigan and Florida Tech to earn the program’s first Dad Vail gold medal. 
 
The victory not only cemented a place in school history for the Men’s Varsity Heavyweight Eight but it also secured the Overall Point Trophy (Jack Bratton Cup) for the entire team for the first time in school history. 
 
Little did Savell know that would be the first of three consecutive overall point championships and put this year’s senior class in a position to become just the second school since 1999 to win four consecutive Overall Point Trophy titles (with Purdue being the other institution) when the 78th annual Dad Vail Regatta presented by the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Thomas Jefferson University takes place on Friday, May 13 and Saturday, May 14. 
 
“Of course, every team hopes to be successful but there is such a high level of competition at the Dad Vail that it is always difficult to be among the top teams,” Savell said. “Sometimes you reach that success quicker than you expect, sometimes it takes longer. Each year there has been great racing and our team has risen to challenge to be the best. To be at the top of the Dad Vail in any year is a feat.” 
 
“Winning a fourth straight Dad Vail Overall Point Trophy is important to me because it would represent the culmination of all of the effort that I have given to rowing and the bonds I have formed with the men I consider my brothers, from teams past and present,” added senior Dave Hanrahan, who rowed on the Freshman 8 his freshman year and has rowed on the Second Varsity Eight for the past two years and will do so again this year. 
 
The Dad Vail will mark the first time Drexel returns to competition on the Schuylkill since April 23 when the men’s varsity heavyweight eight won the Bergen Cup for the for the sixth year in a row and the women’s varsity heavyweight eight won the Kelly Cup for the fifth straight year. 
 
With Dad Vail right around the bend, the Dragons are gearing up to hopefully send their seniors out on a historic note. 
 
“As we prepare ourselves for our final Dad Vail Regatta as a senior class, we view it as one of the final components of our class’s legacy and an opportunity to leave the program at a higher level than we found it when we arrived as freshman,” said Hanrahan. “We believe that we have done that each year in the past by repeatedly winning the Men’s Title (2013 & 2015) and the Overall Title (2013, 2014 & 2015). This year we want to push further still and cement ourselves as the team, underclassmen and upperclassmen combined. I believe in the strength of each member of our current team and trust they will all come through, to the last person. If we do this, as a team, we will win a fourth consecutive Dad Vail overall title.” 
 
Savell added, “We really have an outstanding unit of unselfish student-athletes. They are dedicated, focused, hard-working and appreciative. It is special to have so many athletes that are mature and insightful enough to realize just how lucky they are to have each other and this team. To know that your athletes will go out on race day and give their all then go back to the boathouse and help their teammates and coaches until the last boat is away is a great thing to have. I think it is their unselfish attitude that has propelled them this far as a team and what will help them on the water.” 
 
About Jefferson  
Our newly formed organization, Jefferson, encompasses Thomas Jefferson University and Jefferson Health, representing our academic and clinical entities. Together, the people of Jefferson, 19,000 strong, provide the highest-quality, compassionate clinical care for patients, educate the health professionals of tomorrow, and discover new treatments and therapies that will define the future of health care.  
 
Jefferson Health comprises five hospitals, 17 outpatient and urgent care locations, as well as physician practices and everywhere we deliver care throughout the city and suburbs across Philadelphia, Montgomery and Bucks Counties in Pa., and Camden County in New Jersey. Together, these facilities serve nearly 73,000 inpatients, 239,000 emergency patients and 1.7 million outpatient visits annually. Thomas Jefferson University Hospital is the largest freestanding academic medical center in Philadelphia. Abington Hospital is the largest community teaching hospital in Montgomery or Bucks counties. Other hospitals include Jefferson Hospital for Neuroscience in Center City Philadelphia; Methodist Hospital in South Philadelphia; and Abington-Lansdale Hospital in Hatfield Township.  
 
Thomas Jefferson University enrolls more than 3,800 future physicians, scientists, nurses and healthcare professionals in the Sidney Kimmel Medical College (SKMC), Jefferson Colleges of Biomedical Sciences, Health Professions, Nursing, Pharmacy, Population Health and is home of the National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center. 
 
For more information and a complete listing of Jefferson services and locations, visit www.jefferson.edu. 
 

Content reviewed and published: 5/10/2016 8:41:01 AM
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