No one has enjoyed more success in the illustrious history of the Dad Vail Regatta than Temple men's crew coach Gavin White.
Since he took over the program at his alma mater in 1979, White has captured an unprecedented 19 varsity eight titles at the Dad Vail. And with the Owls' varsity eight ranked second behind favorite Florida Tech heading into today's qualifying heats on the Schuylkill, White is confident his rowers can make it 20.
"I think we've got a pretty good shot at winning if we row well," said White, whose team is ranked 19th in the latest USRowing/Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association NCAA Division I Coaches poll, but hasn't secured the varsity eight gold since 2004. "But there's probably about five or six teams that could win it."
Temple split two previous meetings with the Panthers this season. The Owls were victorious by two-tenths of a second at the Keuper Cup in Florida, but lost by three-quarters of a length at the SIRA Regatta in Tennessee.
"I definitely think we can beat them," said senior stroke Patrick Curran. "But we'll have to wait and see who takes the rubber match."
Added senior two-seat Thomas Masterson: "We're very confident and we're hoping to put on a show. As a senior, this is my last opportunity to win the Dad Vail. Last year we didn't even make the grand final, so we're hoping to end our careers with a victory this time around."
Coming off a win at the Bergen Cup, on the Schuylkill, Curran knows the expectations are high - but he's ready for the challenge.
"We're not going to be satisfied with anything but the gold," Curran said. "I really think we have a good boat of guys and I think we can pull it off."
The Owls' men's second varsity eight is projected to repeat as Dad Vail champion.
Drexel women have hope
Drexel coach Paul Savell believes his women's varsity eight is deserving of its No. 5 seeding. However, with a strong stern pair of Candice Webb and Dana Haneman leading the way, Savell thinks the team can exceed its expectations and finish higher.
"I think it's pretty accurate as to where we stand," Savell said. "The field is big. That's why we race a lot of close and tough competition. We're hoping to move up from fifth by the end of the weekend."
Webb and Haneman each earned All-Colonial Athletic Association team honors following Drexel's third-place finish at the conference championships.
"They're the ones that sit in front of the boat and set the tempo," Savell said. "Every seat is important. We need everyone to be pulling at their full strength, but those are the two that set the tempo."
Drexel will send 10 boats (six men's and four women's) to the Dad Vail.
What: The 72nd edition of the Dad Vail Regatta.
When: Today and tomorrow.
Where: The Schuylkill River, northwest of Boat House Row.
Field: More than 100 universities from the United States and Canada are expected to compete in the nation's largest collegiate regatta.
Times: Qualifying heats take place today, starting at 7 a.m. Last races begin at 5:48 p.m. Semifinals tomorrow start at 7 a.m. Grand finals begin at 1 p.m. The women's varsity eight grand final is scheduled for 4:29 p.m., while men's is at 4:51 p.m.