Another year and another victory for Drexel.
The Dragons won the Aberdeen Dad Vail Regatta overall title for the third straight year Saturday. They dominated the Schuylkill River races, recording 44 points, the highest total for Drexel during its run.
The 77th installment of the event was filled with Drexel students and alumni.
"It was loaded with blue and gold," head rowing coach Paul Savell said. "You could just see the grandstands were packed with Dragon fans."
It was a big weekend for Savell, personally, and for his rowing program. On Friday, he was named the Matt Lediwdth Award winner by the Dad Vail Organization Committee. It's presented to the rowing coach of the year as deemed by the committee.
"To have Paul Savell recognized as the Dad Vail Coach of the Year is a great honor for Drexel University," Drexel Director of Athletics Dr. Eric Zillmer said in a statement. "Winning the Aberdeen Dad Vail Regatta is the greatest of accomplishments because the Schuylkill River is only a stone's throw away from our campus.
"Drexel history is so intertwined with the history of urban Philadelphia, and the Dad Vail is part of that fabric that makes our city very special."
Drexel was the men's and overall winner. Bucknell and UMass tied for the women's points lead.
A few other local schools had a good showing Saturday, including Delaware, seemingly Drexel's biggest competition. The Blue Hens won the men's freshman/novice four and the men's varsity lightweight eight, and took second in the men's freshman/novice lightweight eight and men's freshman/novice heavyweight eight.
Temple made some noise throughout the day, winning the women's freshman/novice heavyweight eight and men's varsity lightweight four. But more importantly, it challenged Drexel in what may have been the most entertaining race of the day. The Dragons beat the Owls in a photo finish, 5.45.747 to 5.45.829 in the men's JV heavyweight eight. Temple finished sixth overall.
In 2013, Drexel took home its first Dad Vail Regatta victory. By now, it's old hat to the Dragons. Savell is prideful of the three-peat, but acknowledges that on race day, the success is due to the crew members.
"On a day like this I'm just a big fan out there," he said. "I'm just hoping that they are able to pull through and row to the best of their capabilities and I really do feel like they did."
The Dad Vail Regatta takes place on the second Friday and Saturday in May. With over 100 schools taking part and over 170 races taking place, it's not always easy to follow every single race all the way down Kelly Drive.
"I personally have to taper off so I can be ready for my bike event," Savell joked about biking down the Schuylkill during races. "It's really energizing to tell you the truth. But you're sore at the end of the day."
That soreness is something he can live with after Saturday's results.