Crew tent flooded, submerged in water

The tent was flooded shortly before the Dad Vail Regatta.

The equipment for the men’s crew team is submerged in water after torrential downpour sent the Schuylkill River over its banks.

Coach Gavin White estimates about 4-feet of water is surrounding the men’s tent on Kelly Drive after the river rose to nearly 15-feet over on Wednesday. When women’s rowing coach Rebecca Grzybowski visited the men’s tent this morning she said the water was at her hip.

“All of our equipment is wet, its muddy, it’s stinky,” crew assistant coach Brian Perkins said.

At least one of the boats came off the rack, which Perkins said could be damaged.

“It could just be laying on the ground, which is not great but not devastating or it could be like twisted in the rack, which will be bad,” Perkins said.

The men’s team also stored gas in the tent for its motorboat, which Perkins fears may have fallen into the water.

“I feel bad dumping gas into the river,” Perkins said.

Kelly Drive is closed today so the coaching staff will not get to view the full extent of the damage until Friday.

Grzybowski expects little-to-no equipment damage in the women’s tent, as only about a 1-foot of water got inside the team’s facility. There is also less equipment in the women’s tent.

“We seem to be in good shape, which is not the same as everyone else on Boathouse Row,” Grzybowski said.

The women’s team moved into its own tent on the opposite side of St. Joseph’s University boathouse about two months ago after sharing a tent with the men’s team.

In preparation for the storm, the Owls removed their motorboats from the river and tied them to a tree closer to Kelly Drive for what was estimated to be a flood stage of 11.5 -feet, Perkins said.

“Luckily we tied our boats to the tree or else they would have flooded away,” Perkins said. “We weren’t prepared for that.”

With eight days remaining until the Dad Vail Regatta – the largest intercollegiate rowing competition – set to kick off on May 9 – White said it would be “devastating” if it had rained next week.

The men’s and women’s teams will be practicing indoors today.

Danielle Nelson can be reached at or on Twitter @Dan_Nels.

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