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Head of the Schuylkill Reignites Philly Rowing

BY LUKE REYNOLDS
PHOTOS BY ED MORAN

Lining the banks of the Schuylkill River this weekend were fans of rowing.

Lots and lots of fans of rowing. And that’s a beautiful thing.

After a 2020 cancellation due to Covid, the Head of the Schuylkill raged back to life providing competitors and spectators a chance to understand why the event has been dubbed the best head race in America.

It has been a while since school tents, vendors, and spectators packed the venue, and not even the mud and hay from the rain dampened spirits. But it was not just the crowds that made the event. It was—as it always is—the racing.

From early Saturday morning through two days of a schedule packed with rowers of every level, crews streamed non-stop down the Schuylkill River.

And Sunday offered the full monty of youth and masters racing.

In the women’s high school eight, RowAmerica Rye won the high school women’s varsity eight. Saugatuck came in second, narrowly edging out Mount Saint Joseph.

In the men’s high school eight, St. Joe’s managed to pull off a win two seconds ahead of the Rye America men and nine seconds ahead of third-place Saugatuck. Their win was not the only one of the day for the Philly club, with their men’s frosh/novice eight coming in first and their B-entry in the same event not far behind. Saugatuck’s frosh/novice eight finished between the two.

St. Joe’s success this weekend is a triumph considering the club’s battle with flooding only a few weeks ago. The weather could have been a problem again for the regatta, but a strong coastal storm stayed offshore for the most part and while periods of overnight rain Thursday and Saturday filled the river with debris and tore out buoy lines, the racing was unhindered.

Today’s racing continued the streak of well-run fall regattas allowing crews to get back on the water and return to a sense of normalcy despite a laundry list of odds against them.

A list of full results from today’s racing can be viewed here.

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