Dad Vail: Speak softly and carry big oars this weekend

Qie Zhang, left, and Hugues McLean will anchor Aberdeen’s novice-eight boat this weekend.

Why should the college kids have all the fun? The short answer is they won’t.

Several local corporations will be throwing their collective oars in the water this weekend as part of the Dad Vail Corporate Challenge — including the event’s sponsor, Aberdeen Asset Management, Inc.

The Aberdeen team has been practicing twice a week since January, with some early Saturday morning dips in the Schuylkill.

“We’ve had to stay calm on Friday nights,” joked Hugues McLean, a 27-year-old investment analyst from Montreal, Canada. “We’re much better than when we started. I think we have a pretty good chance.”

McLean will row in Aberdeen’s novice-eight boat Saturday, which will shove off around 11 a.m. He’ll be joined by Qie Zhang, who works with McLean on Aberdeen’s North American Equities Team.

“Last year, we didn’t finish that strong,” said Zhang, who also rowed on the novice boat in 2010. “But we’ve been practicing inside all winter. We’re ready to go.”

Even though they’ll be lane-to-lane with the likes of Ernst & Young, Yellowbook and Vanguard, they are toeing the company line, insisting that no one is out for bragging rights.

“No rivalries,” said Zhang.

Then, McLean quickly chimed in, “But we are out to win.”


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