The Drexel men’s crew team wrapped up its season with a 19th overall finish at the Intercollegiate Rowing Association National Championships. The team participated in the three-day event from May 30 to June 1 at Mercer Lake in West Windsor, N.J.
Among the highlights of Drexel’s six boats was the varsity boat, the Lois Krall with Marc Smith as coxswain, pulling in at 20th overall. The second varsity, rowing the Annette Pennoni, finished in 17th place and the Peggy Greenawalt boat finished 18th in the third varsity heat.
As a bubble team that received an at-large bid, Drexel was expected to finish 22nd overall. Head coach Paul Savell considered the weekend a success, having exceeded expectations.
“Anytime you beat your rank from when you walk in the doors, that’s success,”he said.
“The guys really rowed as well as they could. You always want to do better, but it is a great spot for us to try and grow from next year.”
Savell was particularly impressed with the varsity boats, as they were able to beat a few schools that are perennial crew powerhouses.
“I’d say varsity had some good races,”he said.“They beat Dartmouth and beat Holy Cross twice over the weekend.”
The seven-year head coach was also pleased to finish ahead of University City rival University of Pennsylvania. The Quakers were able to top the Dragons in a few different heats throughout the spring, more times than Drexel was victorious, but Savell was glad to see his team get one back in the season’s final race.
“That was big because we’ve raced them a lot of times this year, and to finally get them on the last race of the year was nice,”Savell said.
A nice finish to the season, it was a positive end to the year for Drexel. In a year in which they were able to capture victories at both the Kerr Cup and Bergen Cup, and overall team championship at the Dad Vails, Savell called the season “solid.”
The IRA Championships represented the final time in a Drexel boat for five seniors. They leave on a strong note, which Savell was happy to see because they were tremendously positive influences on the program throughout their tenure, but especially this season.
“I think the seniors did a great job this year,”Savell said. “There weren’t that many of them, but they really laid the ground work for the team and let the team have fun.”
He credits the seniors with creating a fun atmosphere around the team, which allowed for everyone to enjoy their time around the team this season —something that could not hurt their performance on the water.
“There was just such a great vibe around the team this year and you really have to tip [your] hat to them,”he said.
Savell expects that the foundation the seniors contributed to will roll into next year and the program will sustain their success. With plenty of Dragons performing, including respective second and third varsity eight coxswains Christopher Henderson and Tyler Lee, Savell has high hopes for even more success on the water next season.
“I really feel like we can do some more damage next year,”he said.