By Mike DeNardo

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — It’s been a Philadelphia tradition since 1953. The Dad Vail Regatta is underway along the Schuylkill River once again.

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Pitt, West Point, Purdue, Georgia Tech, 100 college crew teams have converged on the Schuylkill River for the 78th Dad Vail Regatta.

It is the signature event on the rowing calendar for Frank McCarthy, a junior on the UMass-Lowell team.

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“We focus more on the spring season so this is definitely number one for us. The Head of the Charles would be our number-one for the fall, but all the fall work is for the spring. So this is the fun sprints and what we really look forward to during the year.”

Becky Robinson, the head women’s crew coach at Ithaca College adds, “In 1976, the Ithaca women won the Dad Vail women’s Eight race. And that was the first year that women’s rowing was offered at the Dad Vail Regatta. And this is 40 years later, and we were looking for something exciting to train for all year. So we set our goals in September to come and win the Dad Vail in the women’s eight!”

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The two-day competition also means that Kelly Drive is closed to cars, between Fountain Green and Strawberry Mansion.