PENNSAUKEN, New Jersey (WPVI) -- The 84th Jefferson Dad Vail Regatta kicked off Friday morning in Camden County.
For the first time in this event's history, the regatta moved from the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia to Cooper River Park in Pennsauken due to long delayed dredging of the Schuylkill.
"Coming to a new race, I have no idea what to expect. All I know is that when the coxswain says 'start'- and I say 'let's go!' We got 2,000 meters to go!" laughed Liam Bennett, a junior from the University of Vermont.
Thirty thousand spectators are expected to attend this weekend and athletes are coming from more than 70 schools, all over the country and Canada.
"The conditions look good. It's like a light tailwind - it seems as it's coming down the course, which means boats are going to be pretty fast," said Nick Gardner of Washington College.
The traditional course on the Schuylkill has a current and a turn, as opposed to this 2,000 meter narrow and sheltered straightaway.
"We've got a straight course, still water, no current, and those are attractive features for coaches and rowers," said Jim Hanna, president of the Dad Vail Regatta organizing committee.
"This course, what is a little different from the Schuylkill is that there's a current on the Schuylkill, whereas here, there's less current, so it's a truer measure of speed," said Bill McLean, head men's rowing coach at Washington College.
Cooper River is home to around a dozen regattas annually, infusing more than $20 million a year into the Camden County regional economy, not including Dad Vail.
"Every restaurant is filled, every hotel room is filled," said Jeff Nash, Camden County Commissioner.
"Dad Vail is really the crown jewel of the regatta season. We have 13 other regattas during the year. Each one is special, but Dad Vail is the largest scholastic regatta in the country, and we're proud to have it in Camden County," added Nash.
This regatta is free to watch and takes place Friday, May 12 and Saturday, May 13.
For more information on the 84th Jefferson Dad Vail Regatta, CLICK HERE.