For Immediate Release
Jefferson Dad Vail Regatta
Philadelphia – The Temple Men’s Crew program is synonymous with success at the Jefferson Dad Vail Regatta. Owners of 21 Gold Medals in the Varsity Heavyweight Race throughout the 82-year history of the event, the Owls rowed into history again at the 2021 Jefferson Dad Vail Regatta, presented by Independence Blue Cross, PECO, and Coca Cola.
Though the pandemic limited the number of teams participating in the 2021 regatta, the field of Varsity Eight Heavyweight Men was stacked with talent. But the Temple Owls were up for the challenge.
To make history they would have to get by a talented field that included local rival Drexel who were hot on Temple’s heels and seemed to get faster every time the two raced. George Washington University had just been cut as a varsity team and were extremely motivated on going out on top and then there was Colgate, the reigning champions in the race.
Knowing the pace would be fast, the three boats got off the line quickly and continued that pace throughout with each of the three boats trading strokes. As they approached the final five hundred meters, the three teams pushed each other to the limit with the Owls holding on to earn the victory with a record setting time of 5:29, narrowly beating George Washington who finished second with a time of 5:30.
“Winning last year was a surreal experience,” said junior Kenneth Raynor, who rowed in the three-seat last year. “As a boat we meshed well, and just trusted that our coxswain would make the correct calls when needed. The welcome we got on the dock after rowing back upriver was when it really hit home; the entire team was there to celebrate with us.”
Coach Brian Perkins added, “To win the Varsity Heavyweight Eight in 2021 felt great. They were great guys, many of whom were granted a fifth year of covid eligibility, so they were super veteran. We reminded them every day of what a blessing and opportunity it was to even be able to row and compete after having a year ripped away from them. They gelled pretty early and despite differences in opinion and approach, had a shared goal of Dad Vail ’21.”
The victory in the premier event gave the Owls their second victory in the past three years the event was held and helped Temple clinch the Men’s Overall Point Trophy for the first time in school history.
Perkins said, “In 2019 we put every single athlete on Temple Crew into a Dad Vail final but we did not place high enough to win the point trophy. We felt like we could do that again and chip away at the point trophy and I am super proud of the men for getting it done. We even had a guy come back from an injury and “point” for us in the single. So it really was a team effort and the team supported each other like never before. There are not many things that I can call long time Temple coach Gavin White and say “Hey! Look what we did!” but this is definitely one of them.”
With a memorable season behind them, Temple has plenty of work to do if they want to repeat as champions. Returning only two rowers from last year’s boat gives Perkins a chance to re-invent Temple crew that will feature youthful energy. With 75% of the roster being relatively new to collegiate racing there were bumps in the road, but it was fun as the young racers were able to get acclimated to new surroundings.
“Our Fall was a lot of fun despite the issues that Hurricane Ida caused,” said Raynor. “We spent a lot of time indoors but when we got onto the water it was back our standard morning routine. At the moment we are taking every day as it comes, and the focus is mainly on what challenges need to be overcome when we next get back in our boats.”
Thomas Jefferson University is a leader in transdisciplinary, professional education. Jefferson, home of the Sidney Kimmel Medical College and the Kanbar College of Design, Engineering and Commerce, is a preeminent university delivering high-impact education in 160 undergraduate and graduate programs to 8,400 students in architecture, business, design, engineering, fashion and textiles, health, medicine, science and social science. Jefferson is re-defining the higher education value proposition with an approach that is collaborative and active; increasingly global; integrated with industry; focused on research across disciplines to foster innovation and discovery; and technology-enhanced. Student-athletes compete as the Jefferson Rams in the NCAA Division II Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference.