The 92d annual Stotesbury Cup Regatta's last-minute move from the Schuylkill to the Cooper River in Camden County because of weather and river safety concerns suits Haddon Township High in terms of convenience.
Haddon Township is located just over a mile from the course and shares the Camden County Boathouse with fellow South Jersey schools Bishop Eustace, Haddonfield, and Moorestown.
"It's a shame that the regatta had to be moved from the Schuylkill, but we can't complain about having a boathouse and being about to stay dry if there's heavy rain," Haddon Township coach Gregg Francis said.
Stotesbury Cup Regatta directors decided early in the week to switch venues because of the recent rain that caused the Schuylkill to move rapidly and crest at nearly eight feet.
"I think it was the right call," Francis said. "Had the race been kept at the Schuylkill and the rain continued, the swift river flow could have made it too dangerous for rowing."
Stotesbury is the world's oldest and largest scholastic rowing event. On Friday and Saturday, it will feature teams from 195 schools in the United States and Canada, 975 boats, and 31 championship events.
Leslie Pfeil, president of the Philadelphia Scholastic Rowing Association (PSRA), said Thursday that the Cooper River course has altered the schedule "to control traffic and get boats on and off and the water." She added that Friday is for time trials only and that some of Saturday's semifinal races have been reduced or eliminated.
Malvern Prep is making a return trip to the race's fill-in home, as the Friars competed in the Cooper Cup last month.
"It's kind of a tradition to have the Stotesbury on the Schuylkill, and it's our home course," Malvern Prep senior Johnny McGlinn said. "But I don't think rowing on the Cooper River is going to lessen the importance of the race or the competitiveness of it."
With McGlinn as the stroke, Malvern Prep won the senior quad at the Cooper Cup in 5 minutes, 7.66 seconds. "The Cooper River is a little calmer because there's a dam that regulates the flow of the water," the 18-year-old said. "Another positive thing is that there's a lot of good viewing spots for spectators along the river."
McGlinn and teammate Drew Brady will continue their rowing careers at Cornell. The other members of the senior quad, Christian Franck and Casey Lauder, are headed to Dartmouth and George Washington, respectively.
Malvern Prep's senior double of Andre Quintiliani (Dartmouth) and Pat Keenan (Michigan) won the Cooper Cup in 5:07.66.
Moorestown girls' coach Harry Carroll said that the 2,000-meter Cooper River course "is going to be a little crammed with boats, but a good thing for competitors is that the river was dredged about a year-and-half ago."
The Moorestown girls' senior eight is coming in on a roll. The Quakers won the PSRA city championships earlier this month in 4:54.07 and the Cooper Cup in 5:06.11.
"It's a really good group of girls," said Carroll, who rowed at St. Joseph's Prep in the mid-1980s. "They've embraced the underdog role."