A 50-year Legacy
The San Diego Crew Classic will once again return to the shores of Mission Bay in 2023 from March 31 – April 2, welcoming thousands of rowing athletes and spectators from all over the world t. This year will mark the 50th Anniversary of the regatta and will mark a major milestone in an event that has become an unparalleled feature of the rowing community.
The event’s development was spearheaded in the early 1970s by Patricia Stose-Wyatt, a local oarswoman affiliated with San Diego’s ZLAC Rowing Club, who sought to bring together the East and West Coast titans of collegiate rowing for an early springtime invitational regatta. The warm, sunny shores of Mission Bay made an ideal setting for the biggest collegiate programs to test their speed against one another. The lure of top competitive opportunities has been enough to keep crews returning to San Diego year after year – and the Crew Classic has grown into one of the largest, most anticipated regattas in the country.
In order to establish the marquee events at the regatta, Wyatt approached Joe Jessop Sr. and James S. Copley – both major benefactors of the San Diego giving community – to fund the event and its respective trophies. From its initial iteration as a three-hour event, the Crew Classic has grown into one of the largest rowing events in the world, with 140 races over three days of competition. The continuous growth of the regatta reflects the ever-increasing population and audience of the rowing community with events now being offered for junior and masters athletes, as well as para (adaptive) and elite rowers. As a place where rowers of all ages, genders and ability levels can come together at the same event, the Crew Classic now provides young athletes the opportunity to see and interact with rowers who represent the many different paths that the sport can offer. From representing a college or university in intercollegiate competition; to representing their country at the Olympic or Paralympic Games; or enjoying the lifelong opportunities for friendship, wellness and camaraderie; these interactions and experiences are real and impactful ways that the regatta encourages aspirational growth and challenges young competitors to reimagine what could be possible for themselves beyond this weekend in the spring.
The support of the Jessop and Whittier families (the Jessop-Whittier Cup Perpetual Trophy – Womens Varsity Eight) and the Copley Family (the Copley Cup Perpetual Trophy – Mens Varsity Eight) have allowed the events that are the cornerstones of the Crew Classic to continue to thrive for decades. 2023 will welcome fantastic lineups in both the Jessop-Whittier and Copley Cups, including the return of both event winners from 2022.
Whether as a competitor, a volunteer, a supporter or spectator, coming together fosters an appreciation of sport that allows every participant to have experiences that serve them long after the weekend is through. The Crew Classic is, and always has been, a place to celebrate the ways sport can bring people together, and with its dedicated and vibrant community of donors, stewards and sponsors, it will continue to grow to serve an ever-broadening pool of participants in order to welcome the best of us to the shores of Mission Bay for generations to come.