80th Dad Vail Regatta underway on the Schuylkill River

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80th Dad Vail Regatta returns to Schuylkill River. Gray Hall reports during Action News at 4 p.m. on May 11, 2018. (WPVI)

It's that time of year again, when the Schuylkill River comes to life with rowers and boats.

Athletes from all over the country are descending to the area for the 80th Dad Vail Regatta. It's the largest collegiate rowing event in the nation.

"The big news this year is competition...very heated competition between Drexel and St. Joe's. Drexel last year commanded the trophy for both women and men, so this year it is going to be a top-notch competition," says Jim Hanna, with the Dad Vail Organizing Committee.

3,500 rowers, representing more than 100 schools from the U.S. and Canada, compete in the event every year for bragging rights. The course is 2,000 meters long and promises to be an intense and fun event for athletes and spectators.

"It is completely different than anything you have ever been on, just because of the history that is associated with the river and Boat House Row and being here in general. It is almost impossible for me to put into words but if you can think about flying and then putting it on the water that is what this river is," says, Mackenzie Schoenagrr, a student at Ohio University.

The two-day event wraps up Saturday and the competitors will be putting all their training and hard work to the ultimate test hoping to walk away champions. While Drexel walked away on top last year, this is a new year and anything could happen.

"I rode with La Salle and won this event in 1957, so that is bit of time back but I understand from my La Salle friends they say they are coming back one of these years. I also heard that St. Joe's is doing very well," said Jack Galloway, chairman with the Dad Vail Regatta.

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