Schuylkill River – Philadelphia, PA – 80s with a slight tail – Buoys + Stakes
Sorry for the delay in posting!
This past weekend, the Aggies traveled down to Philly for the 80th Dad Vail Regatta: a historic event for everyone. For the first time in many years UMass had a presence in one of the most storied and treasured rowing events in the world.
Friday morning began with the freshman 3V8 posting a 6:04 time trial, good enough for 13th overall, allowing them to advance to the heats (top 18). Led by Kedar “Knife-Stopper” Seetal and his beloved band of knuckleheads, the 3V8 came within 2 seconds of Michigan St., Ohio St., and Bucknell.
Over in the 2V8, another top 18 time trial was in order. The JV posted a 5:52 time, just behind UNC and Lehigh. Good enough for 14th, they would advance to heats.
The V8 posted a 5:31 time for a really solid 10th place finish. Just 1.223 seconds off UNC, the Joe “Yeehaw” Wenzel-led Aggies re-established UMass as a Dad Vail crew. As they progressed into heats, all three crews rested up for the grueling summer heat ahead.
The heats pushed on into the scorching mid-afternoon sun, with crews racing for a chance to compete in the petite and/or grand finals. The frosh came in fourth with a time of 6:30, just off Perdue. The 2V, battling sickness on both ends of the boat, ended up with a poorer showing in fifth place. With a time of 6:16 (3s off Perdue), the JV men would have to pull themselves up by their bootstraps in order to shake off the defeat. The V8 had the best result of all, with a 5:51 finish, good enough for 3rd in their heat. This would move the Aggies into the petite final, with a chance to make a splash in the slightly muddy waters of the Schuylkill.
The 3V8 would start off Saturday with a frustrating last place finish in their final. With a time of 6:24, however, they were still within a respectable 4 seconds of Perdue and Bucknell.
The 2V8, full of anger from missing petites, came off the line so hard that Devin Caulfield’s seat blew clean off the track. With just meters to spare, the boat called for breakage and restarted the race with a warning. Now full of about as much fury as humanly possible, the Ekim Otucu-led shell lurched off the line at a 49 for a first place finish in the 3rd final. With a time of 6:06, this planted the 2V8 firmly in the running for a competitive petite final showing.
Over in the big, bad Spirit of ’66, the V8 men posted a 5:57 time, seven seconds off Lehigh. Although last is never the place you aim for, the V8 now turns its focus towards ACRA for a chance at redemption.
After a wild two days of Dad Vail action, the UMass Men came away with some very solid times and even a petite final showing. Each boat placed solidly in the time trials, and the 3V8 and V8 both had great heats. The 3V8 and V8 both struggled in their respective finals but the 2V8 stepped up to exact revenge on all those who wronged them in their own heat.
All-in-all, it was a great weekend of racing on a beautiful course. Many thanks to all who made it out, and to Wegmans for being the official grocery store of UMass Men’s rowing. For those who remember the last time UMass was at the Dad Vail, it was a great sight to behold. Now we push on to ACRAs with a singular focus in mind: winning.