Guide to the Dad Vail Regatta for Friday
What: The 81st Jefferson Dad Vail Regatta, the largest collegiate regatta in the United States, will take place Friday and Saturday on the Schuylkill River.
When: Competition will be held from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday, and from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday.
Why the name? The regatta was the creation of Penn rowing coach Rusty Callow, who wanted to provide competition for smaller colleges and larger colleges that didn’t feel ready to go against elite programs. Callow put up a trophy named in honor of Harry Emerson “Dad” Vail, a legendary former coach at Wisconsin.
Course: Racing will be held over the six-lane, 2,000-meter course on the Schuylkill, starting north of the Strawberry Mansion Bridge near the intersection of Kelly Drive and Hunting Park Ave., and heading south, finishing at the grandstand near the Columbia Avenue railroad bridge.
Last year: Drexel won the overall points title for the sixth consecutive year, with Delaware second and Temple third. Delaware and Temple finished 1-2 in the men’s points race, with Drexel and St. Joseph’s tied for third. The top three in the women’s points competition were Drexel, Fordham, and Massachusetts.
The big races: Temple won the men’s varsity heavyweight eight race for the first time since 2004, with St. Joseph’s finishing second. Boston University posted a convincing victory in the women’s varsity heavyweight eight by more than a five-second margin over UMass.
And this year? Trials for the women’s varsity eight will begin at 9:08 a.m. Friday, with the men at 9:24 a.m. Semifinal heats will take place that afternoon at 3:55 p.m. for the women and 4:10 p.m. for the men. The finals Saturday will be at 4:55 p.m. (women) and 5:05 p.m. (men).
A look at the locals:
Drexel will be seeking its seventh consecutive overall points championship and its third straight on the women’s side. The Dragons, who won seven medals – three of them gold – last year, have entered five men’s and four women’s events.
Temple’s men picked up gold last year in the freshman/novice eight and junior varsity eight in addition to the heavyweight eight. With the women competing for the first time since 2015 because of conflicts with the American Athletic Conference championships, the Owls, who are entered in eight women’s and seven men’s events, have their eye on the overall points title.
St. Joseph’s, which posted the fastest qualifying time in the first two rounds of the men’s heavyweight varsity eight last year, is seeking to medal in all three men’s heavyweight eights for the third straight year. The Hawks’ women will compete against city rivals Drexel, Temple, and La Salle for the first time this season.
What spectators should know:
Most of Kelly Drive is closed Friday and Saturday, and parking is allowed only by permit. Signs will be posted for parking areas in Fairmount Park. Shuttle bus service is available between the parking areas and the race course from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. both days.
The alumni and festival areas are along the race course. The grandstand is at the finish line. The athletes’ village is south of the finish line.
Entries and results of the events can be found at www.dadvail.org.