Ready, set, row! Aberdeen Dad Vail Regatta begins in Phila.
PHILADELPHIA - May 13, 2011 (WPVI) -- It is one of the more festive and colorful events in Philadelphia that turns the Schuylkill River into a blue strip of graceful motion and healthy but intense competition.
It is the Aberdeen Dad Vail Regatta, cementing Philadelphia as one of the major outposts in the world of collegiate rowing.
It was gorgeous weather for much of the day with beautiful sights and sounds along the Schuylkill River.
Lauren McGuire is a Villanova Freshman who had never rowed before.
"Actually, I'm a walk-on this year," said Lauren. "First year, decided to try it."
She is among the thousands of athletes hitting the water for the Aberdeen Dad Vail Regatta, the largest collegiate race in the country with over 100 colleges and universities from the US and Canada participating.
One LaSalle freshman thought she'd give crew a try in high school; a surprise to her mother who didn't know much about the sport but quickly learned.
"I grew up in Western Pennsylvania. We didn't have crew. I didn't know where this was coming from," said Kathy Isola.
"So many more involved in it now," said Nichole Isola. "When I was a freshman, I never imagined this many people knew about rowing."
Many people look forward to the Aberdeen Dad Vail Regatta each year for the competition and for the die-hard fans that come to town.
As the teams whizzed by on the water, inside a nearby tent winners of a high school art contest were recognized for depicting competitive rowing in a single action packed theme.
The Regatta Organizing Committee sees the contest as a means of boosting awareness of the sport.
But whether through painting, watching, or word of mouth, fans of the sport are happy to see the popularity rise, and the level of competition with it, as younger and younger athletes get involved.
"In South jersey, I guess in like the last 5 or 10 years it caught on," says Joe Antonoli. "Now it's real big down at the shore."
"More media coverage, it's like everyone's really excited about that. Crew is becoming a bigger sport," says Temple Freshman Sarah Barber.
dad vail regatta, philadelphia, pennsylvania, local/state
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