Saturday marked the first day of the Regatta - a crew race with teams competing for the fastest times on the 2.5-mile course instead of going head-to-head. More than 6,800 competitors from high schools, colleges, and clubs near and far have taken over Boathouse Row for the weekend.
Drexel's rowing club had plenty to revel in aside from its win in the championship eights - the marquee race for men's collegiate and club teams. The Dragons were also winners in the men's and women's college and open club eights finals, and took third in the women's championship eights.
"It's just a product of our culture of working hard," said Drexel senior Sebastian Ryan.
In the masters division, which includes rowers ages 27 to 59, two teams from out of town took home first place in eights. Potomac (Md.) turned in the fastest men's time, and New Haven (Conn.) won the women's event.
Competition continues Sunday at 8 a.m. with a variety of high school, masters, and veteran races throughout the day.
Gold Cup returns. The Gold Cup, a sprint race featuring four of the world's top men's and women's single scullers, will return to Philadelphia next year for the first time since 2011.
The Gold Challenge Cup Foundation announced Saturday that the Gold Cup race will be run next year on Oct. 25, during the Head of the Schuylkill Regatta.
The cup, also, known as the Gold Cup, gained prominence in the rowing world after the Schuylkill Navy commissioned it in 1920 to honor the world champion of single-scull rowing. The first winner was gold medalist and Philadelphian John B. Kelly, and the event has been compared to the Davis Cup in tennis and the America's Cup in yachting.
Before 2011, the race had not been held since 1966 and not in Philadelphia since 1962. The trophy disappeared sometime in the '60s, but was rediscovered in 1996 in a Philadelphia antiques shop.
Iztok Cop of Slovenia and Mirka Knapkova of the Czech Republic were winners in 2011, and both earned medals in the 2012 Olympic Games in London.