84th Annual Jefferson Dad Vail Regatta Program Book

By Ed Levin When the Drexel Dragons men’s rowing team puts the blades in the water each spring, their focus is making improvements each day to gear up for their penultimate event – the Jefferson Dad Vail Regatta! The past five trips to the regatta have included one bronze medal finish, one silver medal finish and two trips to the podium to be presented with the coveted gold medal with the most recent trip being last year. “It felt like we finally emerged from our Covid state with crowds and cheering and a great celebration,” said Paul Savell, Drexel’s Director of Rowing and Head Men’s coach. “It felt “right” for all the competitors that have had to deal with the problems of the previous years. So glad they were all able to have that experience that they will never forget for the rest of their lives.” After emerging through the heats with the fastest time albeit by a few hundredths of a second, Savell knew his team would have to be at their best if they were going to row to victory. For the entire 2,000-meter race the crews from Colgate, Temple, St. Joseph’s and Drexel battled throughout with each team ramping up their stroke rate. With the four crews battling each other, the Dragons began to separate from the pack at 1,250-meter mark. By the time they reached the island with 500 meters remaining, the Dragons upped their stroke rate and had to fend off a late charge from Colgate who is a fourth quarter team to earn their second gold medal in three years. “To win the Jefferson Dad Vail Regatta meant a lot to me and our team, because it felt like it was the pinnacle of our rowing season last year.” said senior Damian Lis, who rowed in the 5 seat. “The atmosphere on the river was exhilarating and it was amazing to see so many rowers and supporters attending from all the teams.” Savell added, “It was a great battle with Colgate, Temple and St Joes all ramping up their stroke rate to charge for the finish line. To see the Drexel bow out in front was awesome and humbling. Our team worked so hard to make that happen and yet we have a high regard for our competition.” With less than three weeks to go until the Jefferson Dad Vail Regatta, the Dragons have had a successful spring earning wins over Navy at the Occoquan Invitational, a 2nd place finish at the Princeton Invite and Knecht Cup Regatta and finally a successful defense of their Kerr Cup title. Even with all of their early success they know that defending their Dad Vail title will certainly be a challenging task. “I think it would be a great accomplishment if we can win Dad Vail,” said Lis. “The task will be challenging for sure. In addition to the talented crews we face each year, part of rowing at Drexel includes half the team having co-ops in the spring and summer. This provides great career orientated learning and experience. Since some of the rowers have full time jobs, morning practices are very early and can be hurried, and sometimes it can be hard to organize a second row in the evening.” The 84th Annual Jefferson Dad Vail Regatta, presented by AmeriHealth, PECO and Coca-Cola will be staged on the Cooper River, in Pennsauken Township, New Jersey on Friday, May 12, and Saturday, May 13. The Jefferson Dad Vail Regatta will kick off a summer long celebration for the 100th year of the Cooper River. DRAGONS READY TO ROAR AT 84THANNUAL JEFFERSON DADVAIL REGATTA