Prep rowers make English counterparts feel at home
Jim Glavin sat at his desk in his office on the second floor of the St. Joseph's Prep boathouse Sunday afternoon. Every minute or so, the Prep rowing coach refreshed his computer's Internet browser.
His counterpart from the Abingdon School in Oxfordshire, England, kept ducking his head into the room to see if the results had been posted online yet.
The varsity eight race at the Head of the Schuylkill Regatta had been over for more than an hour, and the two crews, joined by a special partnership between their schools, gathered at the Prep's comfortable quarters to learn their fate.
Neither team came away with the ultimate prize Sunday. But the result, eventually posted on the regatta's website, seemed secondary to the experience.
For the last six years, Abingdon and the Prep have hosted each other during competitions.
Abingdon is the premier schoolboy eight in the world and has captured the Princess Elizabeth Challenge Cup at the Henley Royal Regatta for three straight years.
For the Prep, the hospitality is about more than just a chance to rub shoulders with rowing's elite.
"There's a Jesuit tradition, philosophy . . . that says you're a man for and with others," Glavin said. "And part of that is to extend yourself."
Abingdon rowers have been staying with Prep families, training out of its boathouse, and using its boats since arriving Tuesday.
They went to a school dance, attended the Prep's football game Saturday, and tested the local cheesesteak fare.
"We really get on with all the hosts," Abingdon's Luke Wiggins said. "They've been feeding us excessive amounts of food all week."
Abingdon, which is in the early stages of gearing up for its Henley defense next summer, did not sort its fastest rowers into the same boat. As a result, its two boats finished 14th and 20th, respectively.
La Salle's eight of Joseph Pinnola-Vizza, Andrew Schutta, Michael Savage, Zach Smith, Kevin Durning, Kevin Lindsay, Michael Galbally, and Tyler Little won by completing the 2.5-mile course in 12 minutes, 59.12 seconds.
The Prep's top boat came in 27th after a one-minute penalty was assessed for an out-of-bounds violation.
Abingdon flies home Monday, but their presence remains in the boathouse by the Strawberry Mansion Bridge.
Last year, the school gave the Prep a striking picture of boats racing on the River Thames. It hangs on the wall in Glavin's office.
"It's a good reminder to us of what it's all about," Glavin said.