By Jericka Duncan And Tim Jimenez

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – There’s a lot of tradition at the Dad Vail Regatta, now running for the 74th time. The college athletes got up bright and early, but so did Ed Clark.

He is the main announcer for the event and this is his 48th year in the booth.

“I rode in it for four years at La Salle back in the early 60s. And once this river gets in your blood, it doesn’t get out.”

And sitting next to Ed in the booth, Tom O’Keefe, who helps record times. He says the college athletes never cease to amaze him and that’s part of why he and Ed keep coming back every year.

“Enthusiasm of the volunteers and the rowers themselves obviously. Year after year, the faces change, but I think that enthusiasm is the big thing, makes people come back.”

The 2012 Aberdeen Dad Vail Regatta is off to a great start. A record 125 colleges are participating in what’s known as the largest collegiate regatta in North America.

Spectators will be watching from the stands and cheering for their favorite teams.

“This is awesome,” said University of Massachusetts of Lowell Sophomore Rachel Paquette. She says her job as an alternate coxswain, is to push her teammates when they get tired and encourage them through the finish line.

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