The Drexel University men’s and women’s crew teams are looking to make a splash as they head out on their home course, the Schuylkill River, this weekend for the Navy Day Regatta.
The race serves as a big race to both collegiate and high school programs from the Philadelphia area, initially founded as a way to support the Navy and Marine Corps and celebrate the Navy’s birthday Oct. 2.
With their current undefeated streak, the Dragons too will be celebrating their success as they hit the water Oct. 11, hoping to continue their strong and steady racing.
The men of the first varsity eight boat will look to improve their performance after coming in third place at the Navy Day Regatta last year, finishing behind University City neighbor, the University of Pennsylvania, and the U.S. Naval Academy. Similarly, the varsity women will look to move up from fourth place, past competitors Saint Joseph’s University, UPenn and Navy.
After finishing 19th in the nation last year, the men will be looking to see where the strength of this year’s competition lies and test themselves in preparation for another challenging season where they hope to compete with the same national intensity.
“This weekend we will see some very fast competition to compare ourselves against,” said head coach Paul Savell, who is beginning his eighth season with the Dragons rowing team. Savell is confident in the strong racing that the Dragons have engaged in thus far.
“We will be facing four other top 20 teams at the Navy Day Regatta this Saturday,” he continued, which he believes will give the men the opportunity to gage where they will fall this year.
After coming off good wins in several races on the road at the Rumson Boat Race on the Navesink River Sept. 27 and at Bucknell University (Susquehanna River), both the men and the women are looking to extend their undefeated record on the water.
“The racing has been strong so far,” Savell said. “Bucknell’s team has historically been a tough competitor, so it was nice to get a win at their home course,” he commented, pleased with the team’s performance.
Women’s crew will rely heavily on their strong senior class this year, with six of 12 seniors leading all three of the varsity boats.
“Amanda Kleuser and Elise Levito have been a solid stern pair setting the tempo to the top eight. Seniors, Bridget Pfeifer and Jayme Batcher are in the bow pair, with seniors Sierra Baca and Olivia Babiec in the engine room,” Savell noted. “Their leadership early in the season has started us off in the right direction.”
The men’s team will also rely on the leadership from 12 members of the senior class, entering their last year rowing in a Drexel boat.
“The team is in a good place mentally and physically,” Savell concluded.
If the team continues to compete with the same strength that they’ve rowed with this far, it’s safe to expect that the Dragons will once again be competing on a national level.
The men and the women will each be racing Oct. 11 on the Schuylkill River.