Big day at the 77th annual Aberdeen Dad Vail Regatta

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- The grandstands were packed all day with fans, parents and athletes for the 77th annual Aberdeen Dad Vail Regatta.

It's a premier rowing event that took over Kelly Drive and thousands of collegiate rowers went to work on the Schuylkill River.

"I love it, it's great and every year it gets bigger and better - it's a lot of fun," said Rosemary Woodruff, Temple University mom.

About 3,500 student athletes from more than 120 colleges and universities across the U.S. and Canada competed on this river race course.

So many schools represented and our local guys and girls were right there.

We couldn't miss those Drexel Dragons, last year's champions, who came with quite a few fans.

"They work hard every day. They're out on this river first thing in the morning - they make it a priority. They just work their hardest -they deserve it," said Theresa Motz, Drexel University mom.

The Temple Owls and their women's rowing team got a big win in the finals.

They walked away with some nice hardware around their necks to prove it. And as tradition would have it, their coxswain - the person in charge of steering - was thrown right into the river.

For the 5th year in a row, 6abc has been proud to broadcast this historic regatta.

Our own Matt O'Donnell anchored the live coverage of the heart pounding races.

"You just yell, you ring your cowbell and you pray a little," said Janet Boone, University of Delaware mom.

It was all business on the water but on the banks of the river, it was a party.

Vendors lined up to feed spectators who were thrilled to be cheering on these amazing student athletes.

"I can't imagine a better atmosphere. There are so many people and so many people cheering, I couldn't be any better," said Lily Guttentag, University of Delaware senior.

It was a thrilling day on and off the river. It was an overcast start to the Aberdeen Dad Vail Regatta but as we moved into the finals, the sun came out.

In the end the Drexel Dragons rowed away as the overall champion again for the third straight year.
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