Wednesday, October 26, 2011

41st Annual Head of the Schuylkill Regatta® This Weekend Draws Over 5,800 Competitive Rowers As 2011 Philadelphia Classic Regatta Series Continues

Philadelphia, PA - October 25, 2011 - This weekend, more than 5,800 rowers will compete in the 41st annual Head of the Schuylkill Regatta®, continuing a tradition of exceptional fall racing for the first time as part of America's first organized year-long series of rowing events, the Philadelphia Classic Regatta Series.

The Head of the Schuylkill Regatta begins Saturday, October 29th at approximately 8 a.m. and concludes at approximately 3:30 p.m. Day two, Sunday, October 30th, begins at approximately 8 a.m. with high school trainer singles, and concludes at approximately 4 p.m.

"Competitors in the 2011 Head of the Schuylkill Regatta are continuing a tradition of head racing for all ages, skill groups and genders, that began more than four decades ago," said Lisa V. Dunlop, president of the Head of the Schuylkill Regatta. "While the expansive scope of the two-day Regatta today bears little resemblance to its 1971 roots, its spirit endures with a fair, but competitive race, that has grown to include high schools, colleges, masters, open, adaptive and recreational rowers. An estimated 180 competitors participated in the first race."

This weekend's Head of the Schuylkill Regatta will include approximately 5,800 rowers competing in 1,325 boats from 23 different states as well as competitors from England, Canada and Australia. Pre-event registration by competitive rowers is up 21 percent for this year's regatta.

Returning to the tradition of presenting elaborate trophies, this weekend "The Commodore's Cup" will be presented by John Hogan, Commodore of The Schuylkill Navy, to the winner of the women's college freshman/novice 8+ on Saturday, at 1p.m. in the festival tent. Another elaborate trophy will be given to the winner of the men's masters’ doubles (ages 50-59) in honor of Fred Duling, a Boathouse Row icon, who was seriously injured earlier this year.

For the second year, points trophies will be awarded in high school, college, open and masters categories. The teams to beat this year are Connecticut Boat Club (high schools), Drexel University (college), Penn AC (open) and Vesper (masters). Award ceremonies are scheduled for 10 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. Saturday, and 10 a.m., 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. Sunday.

The Head of the Schuylkill Regatta, like the other remaining events in the 2011 Philadelphia Classic Regatta Series, is what is commonly referred to as a "head" race: A rowing head race is one where competitors race the clock over a course typically two to three miles long, compared to sprint races of 1,000 to 2,000 meters. Head races are a format that began in England.

The starting line for this weekend's Head of the Schuylkill Regatta is above the Strawberry Mansion Bridge with the finish line above the "Viking" statue on Boathouse Row. The launching site for out of town crews and festival site, including awards ceremonies, vendors, exhibitors, artists, entertainment and food, is approximately one mile north of Boathouse Row on Kelly Drive at the "Three Angels," the popular name for the Carl Milles' sculpture "Playing Angels." Free transportation will be provided to spectators this weekend, from Lloyd Hall on Boathouse Row to the "Three Angels" statues, as well as to nearby parking areas.

The Philadelphia Classic Regatta Series has been recognized by the Philadelphia Sports Congress as one of the "Premier Annual Events" for the city, state and region along with the Penn Relays (April); Blue Cross Broad Street Run (May); Devon Horse Show (May); TD Bank Philadelphia International Cycling Championship (June); Philadelphia Insurance Triathlon (June); ING Rock 'n' Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon (September); the Philadelphia Marathon (November) and Army-Navy Football.

The Philadelphia Classic Regatta Series schedule runs from March through November, and features over 35,000 competitors in over 7,700 boats representing not only high schools but colleges, clubs, masters and open programs from around the country. The remaining regattas on this year's schedule include:
  • Saturday, November 12 : Hutchinson Cup Regatta (masters/open/coll/h.s./juniors)
  • Sunday, November 13: Philadelphia Turn & Burn Regatta (masters/open/coll./h.s./clubs)
The Philadelphia Classic Regatta Series brings together for the first time 20 previously independent events in the first organized year-long series of rowing events of its kind in any major U.S. city. The Philadelphia Classic Regatta Series is organized by the Schuylkill Navy, which is the oldest amateur athletic governing body in the country, representing the 12 rowing clubs based on Philadelphia's landmark Boathouse Row.

This weekend's Head of the Schuylkill Regatta has its roots in 1971, when three members of University Barge Club launched the idea for a new fall race, transforming the 1,000 meter Graduate Sculls race into a head racing format. The aim of 1960 Olympian Lyman Perry, Jay Pattison III, and the late Raul Betancourt was to offer rowers of all ages congenial autumn competition. At a time when only elite, college and junior athletes competed in "head" or distance races, the newly-established Head of the Schuylkill Regatta emphasized graduate oarsmen and opened racing to newly emerging masters' and women's teams. Twelve women entered the first regatta; this weekend, there will be more than 2,300 female competitors, including local elite women rowers who recently competed in the Pan Am games in Mexico. In time, the Head of the Schuylkill Regatta became the world's largest one-day rowing competition, but its popularity soon exceeded the river's capacity, so in 2008 the format was changed to a two-day event.

The official host restaurant of the 2011 Philadelphia Classic Regatta Series is Buca di Beppo-Philadelphia.

The official host hotel of the 2011 Philadelphia Classic Regatta Series is the Crowne Plaza Philadelphia Downtown.

Presenting sponsor of the Head of the Schuylkill Regatta is NSM Insurance Group: Platinum sponsor is STUDENTS FIRST; Gold sponsors are Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corp and Exelon Power.

With three of the largest regattas in the Mid-Atlantic region on the schedule, as well as two of the nation's oldest regattas, the Philadelphia Classic Regatta Series connects the rowing competitors of today to the historic home of the international rowing elite. It is built upon a tradition that launched November 12, 1835 with the first organized regatta on the Schuylkill (a full eight years before the start of the rowing program at Harvard). Over 175 years later, the Schuylkill River hosts more regattas annually than any other river in the nation. Additional information is available at http://www.BoathouseRow.org.

Media Contacts:
Jim DeLorenzo, Jim DeLorenzo Public Relations, 215-266-5943, jim@jhdenterprises.com
Ellen Carver, Head of the Schuylkill Regatta, 215-280-0483, Ncarver528@aol.com