'This one's for the athletes': Jefferson Dad Vail Regatta continues without fans

The Jefferson Dad Vail Regatta took place for the first time in over a year on Saturday after the COVID-19 pandemic canceled the event last year. 

Fans were not allowed to attend the regatta, which included dozens of schools from across the country. General Manager of the Jefferson Dad Vail Regatta Perry Hamilton said fans provide important support for athletes but organizers could not work out a health plan to include spectators.

"This is a sport that requires a lot of support from family and friends, so it does matter, yet we're still grateful that we can even do this," Hamilton said. 

"The health plan just would not work by having spectators and family and friends, so this one is for the athletes."

Since 1953, the Schuylkill River has hosted the largest collegiate rowing tournament in the country, including more than 100 colleges and universities, according to the regatta's website. The regatta, which takes place on the second Saturday of May, was cut down over 45 schools with more than 1100 rowers in its return run. 

Athletes and coaches who did their best to stay in shape during the layoff used the regatta as a rower evaluation for future events. 

"For us to see where we are, and I think probably for a lot of crews, after not racing all last spring where a ton of young rowers, half the roster now is in their first college spring, so just to see where people are I think is a really important measuring stick," Adrian College Head Coach Bart Thompson said. 

Drexel women's Varsity 8 and Temple men's Varsity 8 each took home gold medals. 



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