Snow, rain and sleet fell on the Drexel coxswain during their Head of the Schuylkill Regatta Oct. 29. The mighty Dragons braved the weather, coming away with the overall team title for the second year in a row. The crew team was able to race most of their boats except for the first varsity eight due to the inclement weather.
“Saturday was a day none of the rowers will forget,” Director of Rowing Paul Savell said. “Through rain, sleet, snow and freezing temperatures our boats launched ready to race. While the conditions were horrendous, our rowers were focused and ready to prove themselves. There was a lot of very good competition this week. We knew we couldn’t hold anything back.”
The results were good all around with each boat finishing in the top two. The women’s second varsity eight finished first out of 16 with a time of 14:35.72, a full 27 seconds ahead of the second-place boat. The women’s freshman eight took second out of 28 crews clocking in at 15:00.73. The men’s freshman eight finished second out of 40 crews clocking in at 12:47.51. Finally the men’s second varsity eight finished second out of 28 other crews. The second varsity eight finished with a time of 13:02.33, just one second behind the race winner, the University of Virginia, who finished with a time of 13:01.74.
“We had our heads clear and just raced comfortably because when the weather is so bad, you have to relax and not try to overdo things,” senior Kevin Rorabaugh, coxswain of the second varsity eight, said. “Being on our home course is always helpful too.”
Rorabaugh didn’t think the river itself was an issue. He mentioned that the real challenge was the cold weather, rain and snow all in one race.
“Those conditions certainly take a lot of your focus and can mess with your head while rowing, but the sport is all about being consistent no matter what’s happening,” he said.
The weather did play a factor with the scheduling. The men’s and women’s first varsity eights were not able to race because of “severe weather.” They didn’t get a chance to redeem themselves after uncharacteristically finishing 14th and 34th respectively at the Head of the Charles Regatta in Boston, Mass.
“It was good to see our boats row as well as we did,” Savell said. “The rowers from the Boston race did not get [a chance] to compete this weekend because the later races were canceled. Judging from how the rest of the team performed, we were looking forward to a good performance from them as well.”
The Drexel crew team’s next action will be the ironically named Frostbite Regatta Nov. 12 in Philadelphia. Savell likes the way that the team competed during the Head of the Schuylkill, and he thinks it will make the team that much better for the next regatta.
“Overall, I like the progress we have been making as a team,” Savell said. “Winning the men’s point trophy, women’s point trophy and team title at the Head of the Schuylkill was an impressive feat for the team. While we wish the varsity eights could have raced, the boats that did compete raced well.”