By Dan Koob

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – It’s a return to the river! The Dad Vail Regatta will take place Saturday on the Schuylkill. It will be a one-day event this year without spectators but college athletes from around the country are ready to race once again.

Eyewitness News caught up with the Drexel teams ahead of this year’s rowing competition.

On a calm Schuylkill River, Drexel’s Men’s and Woman’s crew teams are up with the sun.

“There’s still a sense of appreciating that we’re able to do this,” Paul Savell, Drexel’s Men’s and Women’s coach, said.

Paul Savell’s crew has worked most of the 414 days since it was announced 2020 Dad Vail Regatta was canceled. Saturday’s race will be the first since 2019.

“That was devastating. Especially being a senior last year, but it taught us to not take one race or one practice for granted so we really enjoyed this year,” Drexel senior Kylie Magee said.

This year’s 81st regatta will be the first coming off an inactive year, canceled in 2020 because of COVID-19. They’ll be no fans along the course but no shortage of excitement.

“Not quite the circus atmosphere that it usually has but I think the level of competition is still going to be there,” Savell said.

“It’s a weird adaptation for us because we’re used to seeing all the tents and all the fans and people getting ready for the event. With the guys, the energy is coming from within us,” Drexel senior Anthony Williams III said.

Connectivity on the water for the 14th ranked Dragons is something both Men and Women’s teams say has been the foundation of their year-long training and could propel them to victory.

“I think it means everything. We’re completely in sync in our whole stroke and our race plan has to be in sync as well,” Magee said.

“I’m excited. Ready to get back what I lost and ready to show the training and progress I’ve made in the past year,” Williams III said.