84th annual Dad Vail Regatta makes a huge splash

Camden County, N.J. (CBS) — The last races of the day are wrapping up at the dad vail regatta. For the first time collegiate rowing’s largest competition is being held across the river in South Jersey.  

Even though we still have one more day of competition, leaders in Camden County and Philadelphia are already thinking about where the regatta will be held next year.

It’s a day of firsts along Camden county’s Cooper River. 

It’s the first time in 84 years that the Jefferson Dad Vail Regatta is not in Philadelphia.

But just over the river being held in New Jersey and it’s the first time Ben Molnar and Serafina Dell are competing in the Dad Vail.

They came all the way from Brock university in St. Catharine’s, Ontario, Canada.

“Compared to Canadian weather, we’re enjoying the heat, but it’s pretty fun out here with all the other schools,” Dell said.


About 70 colleges a total of 2,000 rowers are competing in this year’s Regatta.

Including Grace Cheeseman and Katie Hess’ friend from high school, who’s competing for Florida Institute of Technology.

“It’s pretty incredible just like the camaraderie and seeing everybody cheer for their teams and it’s just such an amazing thing to be a part of,” Hess said.

Though Cheeseman wishes the regatta was back in its traditional home of Philadelphia.

“The Schuylkill is such like an iconic race course. It’s awesome there,” Cheeseman said.

Dad Vail Regatta Organizing Committee President Jim Hanna says because of a dredging project on the Schuylkill they chose to move the race.

“Cooper offered us a great opportunity and it’s really like visiting Valhalla to be here. It’s a beautiful site, immaculate,” Hanna said.

Besides referencing Norse mythology, Hanna also likes to quote Shakespeare prompting Camden County Commissioner Jeff Nash to make this quip.

“Shakespeare also said you should stay at ye Cooper River for years to come. I don’t know if you read that many years ago,” Nash said.

The Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau emailed CBS News Philadelphia saying while they wish their friends in Camden County all the best in hosting this year’s Regatta, they look forward to the Regatta returning to Philadelphia in 2024. 

Regarding where the Regatta will take place next year, a Regatta representative said the committee will cross that bridge when they get there.

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