Rowers rejoice at Dad Vail Regatta

May 12, 2011 7:11:27 AM PDT
After a messy day yesterday due to the aftermath of all that rain, the Dad Vail Regatta was in full swing this afternoon.The Michigan Men's Varsity Heavyweight 8 were rowing like there's no tomorrow and went on to win the big one in the 71st annual Dad Vail, besting top seeded Purdue who came out second, and Fordham in third.

Michigan took the gold and the honor of winning Dad Vail's Richard O'Brien Trophy.

"We feel great, we're happy to be here in the city of Philadelphia and be able to participate and win this race today," Michigan's Roland Bisio said.

"It's always exciting racing in historic Philadelphia, a lot of rowing history here," Michigan's Bill Schnittman said.

30,000 people trek to this event to see the rowing athletes who have been preparing for this event for the better part of the year.

"We practice between 20 and 25 hours a week so it's a lot of time commitment, but it's all worth it for days like today," Michigan's Matt Zoufaly said.

Meanwhiel, the St. Joe's Woman's Varsity 8 was out for revenge. The team that won the event in 2006, and finished second in 2007 ended up finishing in 6th place last year.

This year they took the bronze with Grand Valley coming in first and Buffalo in second.

"I feel pretty good about it, I did my best, so there's nothing to complain about I guess," St. Joe's Heavyweight 8' s Breann Cameraman said.

In the men's varsity lightweight eight, Delaware took the gold, with Georgia Tech coming in second and St. Joe's third.

With 3,200 rowers from all over the U.S. and Canada taking part, it turned out to be a family affair along the banks of the Schuylkill jammed pack with folks coming to see their sons and daughters compete.

"The weather was great; we ended up with great weather. We thought it was going to be a washout, so it was great," Jeff Levitz from Atlanta, Georgia said.

The 71st annual Dad Vail Regatta is now in the record books.

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