HomeTop StoriesThe Drexel Dragons crew team aims to retain the title at the...

The Drexel Dragons crew team aims to retain the title at the largest collegiate rowing competition in the US

PENNSAUKEN, NJ (CBS) — The largest collegiate rowing competition in the country kicks off Friday and ahead of the for the first time in history it will be held in South Jersey. Philadelphia’s top college teams rode their final laps Friday morning for the 2023 Dad Vail Regatta, including the defending champion Drexel Dragons.

“We’re getting a little bit rushed. We’re very excited,” said Drexel Crew Team’s Jake Miller.

Miller is a 5th year senior and a resident of Warminster. He said his crew circles this event on the calendar every year, knowing how much it means to their team and the local rowing community.

“This is what we’re looking forward to at the end of the year. It’s kind of the big race that we’re looking forward to right before the National Championship,” Miller said. “It’s kind of our gateway to get there, so it means a lot to us personally, but in the city, of course, it’s huge.”

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The big difference this year is due to a dredging project on the Schuylkill River. Rowers instead race down the Cooper River in Camden.

Camden’s comeback: Dad Vail Regatta is held in South Jersey


“The Schuylkill has a bit more current and the Cooper River is a bit more just standing water, which makes for really good, fair racing,” said Drexel coach, Paul Savell.

Savell knows what it takes to win the Dad Vail.

After getting a clean sweep last year, he said he’s seen a level of focus and ferocity from his team that puts repeat performance into play.

“From a distance it’s a sight to behold, but up close they really grind it out,” Savell said. “The way they come together and are just ready to give everything they’ve got for each other. It was just beautiful to watch, all of their work came to fruition last year. And we’re hoping for a repeat this year.”

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Of the nearly 70 schools competing this year, Drexel is considered the favorite to win the overall event. However, Colgate and Temple are also considered strong contenders. The Owls have won the Dad Vail more times than any other school in the country.

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