Athletes enjoy brighter weather for second day of Jefferson Dad Vail Regatta

Athletes soaked up the sun for Saturday's championship after braving some less-than-ideal conditions Friday.

Beccah Hendrickson Image
Saturday, May 11, 2024
Athletes enjoy brighter weather for second day of Jefferson Dad Vail Regatta
Athletes enjoy brighter weather for second day of Jefferson Dad Vail Regatta

PENNSAUKEN, New Jersey (WPVI) -- Thousands of athletes from more than 100 colleges and universities converged on South Jersey for the 85th annual Jefferson Dad Vail Regatta over the weekend.

It's the largest intercollegiate rowing event in the country and for the second straight year, it was in South Jersey, rather than its traditional home in Fairmount Park.

"Our boathouse is on the Schuylkill River, so a home race is nice, but this venue is so nice and it's great to have the community come out to support us," said Caitlin Lawson, a senior on the Jefferson University women's rowing team.

The races, which took place over Friday and Saturday, were held on the Cooper River.

"Just see all these teams and have all this competition and everyone here just loves rowing and loves the community, so it's really nice to have this support for us," said Maggie Sher, Caitlin's teammate.

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Athletes soaked up the sun for Saturday's championship after braving some less-than-ideal conditions Friday.

"That is very typical for a regatta, I will say that. Yesterday, it was cold and rainy. Today it's sunny and beautiful and we will take it," said Kirsten Ledwith Morasco, the president of the Dad Vail Regatta Organizing Committee.

Ledwith Morasco is the first-ever female president of the Dad Vail, and in her first year, she brought a new club to the competition: the Survivor Rowing Network.

It's a community of athletes introducing rowing to cancer survivors.

"When people come out of treatment, they're looking for something and this survivor rowing brings that great opportunity for them," said Beth Kohl, the founder of the club.

It's also an opportunity for athletes, families, and spectators alike to experience the stiff competition that comes with such a large field.

"It is an honor to be part of it. I love the Dad Vail, I love all the volunteers who make the Dad Vail happen," said Ledwith Morasco. "We couldn't ask for a better event."

As organizers look ahead to 2025, the big question is whether the regatta will be back on the Cooper River or if it will return to its historic location on the Schuylkill.

The committee says they'll make that decision sometime this summer.