PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Dad Vail Regatta has returned to Philadelphia. The annual collegiate rowing competition is set to start Friday morning.
With 22 total victories, no one has won the Dad Vail Regatta more than Temple University. They were nice enough to take CBS3’s Ross DiMattei out on the water, and show him the level of teamwork it takes to row your way into the winner’s circle.
“This is something we take very seriously and we work towards this regatta in September,” head coach of Temple rowing Brian Perkins said.
The Dad Vail is the largest collegiate regatta in the country, and every year it’s held on the Schuylkill River.
About halfway through the race route along the shore is Temple University’s boathouse, where every year the rowing teams make this competition a point of pride.
“This is something we build all year for, so it’s big for these guys,” Perkins said. “It’s very important to them and we try to defend it like it’s our backyard.”
Perkins says the key to crew is getting every rower to repeat the same stroke in perfect unison. And he maintains that mental strength is more important than physical.
“What it comes down to, I think, is we use the phrase ‘Temple Tuff’ a lot, is sometimes in the middle of a race when you’re just in the hurt locker, it comes down to who could hold their hand over the candle the longest, you know, the first kind of flinch might lose that race,” Perkins said.
Ross wanted to feel the burn firsthand, so he kicked off his shoes and grabbed an oar before getting some last second advice from team captain Kenneth Raynor.
“I think rowing is a bit of a funny sport,” Raynor said. “The best rowers kind of go by unnoticed because at the end of the day, there’s nine of you in the boat and if one person is standing out that’s generally a negative thing.”
Ross stood out like a sore thumb, struggling to synchronize my strokes, and hurt the team much more than he helped.
Thankfully for Temple’s team, in a sport often separated by seconds, they won’t have to worry about Ross slowing them down, and they’re focused entirely on the task at hand.
“This is the event we circle,” Perkins said. “The second Saturday in May in Philadelphia is the event we circle.”
“The goal is always to win,” Raynor said. “Obviously, we’ve been working for a long time towards that.”
Philadelphia has at least six local schools competing in the regatta this year.
One of Temple’s toughest rivals is Drexel University, who has already beaten the Owls this year.
The first race is scheduled to start at 7:30 a.m.