Aberdeen Dad Vail Regatta - History of The Regatta

History of The Regatta

The first race, before the formation of the Dad Vail Rowing Association, was held in 1934 with "Rusty" and the University of Pennsylvania as hosts. Marietta College, coached by Ellis MacDonald won the first leg on the new trophy by finishing second to a Penn sub-varsity boat, which was an added entry. Rutgers, coached by Ned Ten Eyck, was third and Manhattan College, coached by "Skippy" Walz was fourth.

The race in 1935 was at Marietta. With the addition of Rollins College and Wisconsin, the order at the finish of the race was: Rutgers, Penn, Marietta, Wisconsin, Manhattan, and Rollins. There was no race held in 1937. In both 1936 and 1938, only Rutgers and Manhattan competed on the Harlem. Rutgers won both times. In February 1939, a meeting was held and the Dad Vail Rowing Association was formed in order to help promote the race and encourage schools to compete.

The growth of the regatta is pointed out by the following statistics: in the first association regatta, seven colleges sent seven varsity crews to Red Bank. At Philadelphia in 1961, twenty colleges sent forty crews to compete in varsity, JV, and freshman races. Currently, over a hundred colleges and universities from the United States and Canada compete, making the Dad Vail Regatta the largest collegiate regatta in the United States and bringing thousands of student athletes to Philadelphia.

Women competed for the first time in 1976.

The Dad Vail entered its 70th year in 2008.

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