Pulse: The Brief: The Dad Vail Regatta

Close call!  The iconic collegiate regatta — a Schuylkill staple since 1953 — almost charted a new course this year. Amid rising costs, Dad Vail brass were lured by shiny sponsorships to Rumson, home of New Jersey’s upper crust (and Bruce Springsteen). But Congressman Bob Brady helped the Mayor helm negotiations, and won. The race is back home — along with some 3,500 rowers and 30,000 fans — and in April, Philly’s own Aberdeen Asset Management announced a four-year sponsorship of the event: May 7th and 8th mark the first annual Aberdeen Dad Vail Regatta.

Training generally includes:
• Getting on the water by 6 a.m.
• Rowing on the river for 2 hours in spring and fall, on the rowing machine in winter.
• 1-hour afternoon run, swim or rowing machine.
• Thrice-weekly weight lifting.
• Wash, rinse and repeat, 6 days a week, from September until race day.

Old Dad Vail: Fans bring kegs. Kegs chill in river. Fans drink kegs, sometimes swim out to -congratulate winning teams.
New Dad Vail: Officials crack down. Beer tent goes up. Fans can buy brews … if they’re 21. No Schuylkill swimming.

“The best part of the race?
The first couple hundred meters … that’s before you feel the pain.”

— St. Joe’s team captain — and, coincidentally, Rumson native — Conor Malone

Average Weight of an Oar:
7 lbs.

Feeding the Beasts
“If these guys see food, they go after it,” says Temple head coach Gavin White. “My wife and I had five guys over for dinner. The pasta was gone, the bread, gone. We were clearing up, with nothing left on the table but butter. We came back, the butter was gone. We still don’t know where it went.”

Wanna watch?
The grandstands have the -finish-line view, but biking along with the boats is the best way to follow a race — one eye on the bike path, one eye on the river.