85th Jefferson Dad Vail Regatta Program Guide

DREXEL MEN’S ROWING PROGRAM CONTINUED TO ROW INTO HISTORY BOOKS AT JEFFERSON DAD VAIL REGATTA Each spring when the blue and gold blades hit the water Paul Savell, Drexel’s Director of Rowing/Men’s coach knows the Jefferson Dad Vail Regatta is quickly approaching. While the thought of the event brings a smile to his face he knows it will also bring plenty of challenges! “There are always anxious moments,” said Savell. “There are many talented crews at the event, and you always want to have your best result.” Last year those anxious moments Savell mentioned began as his team prepared to face tough competition in the Grand Finale of the Men’s Varsity Heavyweight Eight. With LaSalle on one side and Colgate on the other, Savell knew his team would have to be almost perfect if they were going to defend their title. When the final race started, all three teams came off the stake boats clean. At the midway point of the 2,000-meter course, LaSalle and Drexel began to separate themselves from the field. With the two clubs having tight races throughout the fall and spring seasons, Drexel senior coxswain Sam Desilva knew when it was time to tell his boat make their move. “Sam was very important because we were being pressed all the way down the course and he just kept up calm and focused under the pressure,” said Savell. With about 750 meters remaining, the Dragons ramped up their speed and opened up a three-seat lead and used that cushion to fend off a late LaSalle charge to earn the win and their second consecutive varsity eight crown! “It meant everything to see our crew execute a complete 2000-meter race, especially when they were able to fend off such talented competitors’ said Savell in a recent interview. “They rowed like they were bullet proof, defending any shots other boats were taking all the way down the course. Then finally to pull away in our sprint was pure beauty. It’s a testament to their hard work, determination and trust they had in each other. It was incredibly rewarding as a coach to see them achieve success on the Dad Vail stage.” Savell added, “The varsity eight win was a testament to the total team effort. Every member of the team, from the rowers to the coaches and support staff played a vital role in each of our boats’ great performance and the team title.” “When I was in high school, I always said I wanted to go to college and be on a team that won a lot of races,” said senior Josh Diggons, who rowed in the sixth seat. “This was the second year in a row we won the varsity eight. The experience is something I will never forget.” As they prepare for this year, Drexel is looking to become the first program since Temple (1999-01 – the last three of 13 in a row) to win three consecutive Varsity Heavyweight crowns. The 85th Annual Jefferson Dad Vail Regatta, presented by Coca-Cola will be staged on the Cooper River, in Pennsauken Township, New Jersey on Friday, May 10, and Saturday, May 11.