Aberdeen Dad Vail Regatta weekend kicks off

May 10, 2013 9:28:01 AM PDT
Preliminary heats got underway Friday morning for this weekend's 75th annual Aberdeen Dad Vail Regatta.

More than 3,500 student athletes are competing in the Philadelphia tradition on the Schuylkill River.

"It's really special being a Philadelphia school and having everyone come here," said Marie Weber.

For Philadelphia University rowers, taking part in the Aberdeen Dad Vail Regatta is a thrill after all their hard work.

"Getting to row in it this year was the most amazing feeling. It's just a really good, positive environment," said Shannon O'Donnell.

From near and from far, 3,700 rowers from more than 120 colleges and universities are taking part this weekend.

Thousands of spectators will line the banks of the Schuylkill River.

While qualifying rounds took place outside, winners of a local high school art contest were honored for their rowing themed works.

"I wanted to do Boathouse Row and do the rowers. That's kind of hard for me so I went with that," said Kathy Nguygen.

Adding to the day's excitement was official word that the Regatta will be in Philadelphia for three more years.

It's an event that showcases the city and boosts the local economy.

"It heightens the profile, the international flavor for Philadelphia. Those people are going to be here through the course of the weekend. They're going to eat, they'll shop, they'll stay in our hotels. So there is an economic impact," said Mayor Michael Nutter.

Officials say there will also be heightened security during the event to ensure the weekend runs safe and smoothly.