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A hundred years of Drexel crew

May 7, 2014

Today and tomorrow, Drexel crew competes in the Dad Vail regatta on the Schuylkill River.  Let's take a quick look back on the history of crew at Drexel.

In the summertime, Drexel students of the past century sought to escape the smoke and dirt of their concrete and brick city, and where better to do so than the lazy-flowing Schuylkill, with its leafy canopy of shade trees? Surely some went to the river to swim, but the gentlemen pictured in this 1915 photo are no bathers. They are rowers on Drexel's crew team.

Four members of the 1915 Drexel University crew team pose next to a tree

Like many of Drexel's athletic endeavors, crew was an intramural activity in the first years of the Institute.  It wasn't until the 1950s that crew became a varsity sport at Drexel. A January 1959 Triangle article promises a 'workout on the river' to 'anyone, frosh or upper classman, who want a sport which requires a lot of energy, stamina, and conditioning.' In little more than a decade Drexel's team made its mark on the Schuylkill, as the four-oar crew won a Dad Vail Regatta medal in 1972. Numerous Drexel crews have since won gold medals in their categories at Dad Vail, but it was not until 2013 that Drexel won the overall team title... a title they begin to defend today.

Adapted from an essay in the summer 2012 Drexel Quarterly.

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