By Howard Monroe

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The 95th annual Stotesbury Cup Regatta wrapped up Saturday on the Schuylkill River. Thousands of young rowers competed.

Some of the morning races got delayed but teams still showed up for each other.

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“These are my guys and it’s going to be a good race,” Mihir Steingard, of Lower Merion crew, said. 

For the crew team from Lower Merion, the day began at the crack of dawn. They were on the banks of the Schuylkill River preparing their boats.

“These guys, we went from the novice level,” Steingard said. “We’ve only been on the water for about three months. To compete with some of these really big guys that have been rowing for three years.”

 Thousands Of Young Rowers Compete In 95th Annual Stotesbury Cup Regatta On Schuylkill River

Lower Merion crew coach Amy Beckman says COVID has drastically changed her team. They went from one freshman to 23 in two years. But she says their perseverance got them to Stotesbury.

“This is it,” Beckman said. “Stotesbury is the race. It’s what we all look forward to. It’s what we all aim for the whole season,”

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“This group, they never missed a practice. They have been in it to win it,” she added.

Friday’s storms delayed the regatta Saturday morning. Debris going downstream forced organizers to cancel the semifinals. 

The girl’s team from Haddonfield made the most of it by playing Uno in the parking lot. For many of them, this is also their first Stotesbury. 

The pandemic canceled the race in 2020 and last year’s was much smaller. The key to winning they say is becoming one. 

“You kind of all have to almost end up becoming like one person,” Charlotte Lucas, of Haddonfield crew, said. “Because you have to move at the exact same time for it to work best, so I think it really is the ultimate team sport to understand mentally, but also like physically.”

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With more than 5,000 student-athletes from the United States and Canada, Stotesbury is the largest high school regatta in the country and the largest sprint race in Philadelphia.