Sarasota, FL (February 21st) The 2017 rowing season is set to get off to a roaring start Feb. 25 and 26 with record-breaking turnout for the Sarasota Invitational Regatta.
Youth, masters and adaptive athletes will compete at Nathan Benderson Park, a Sarasota County public park that is becoming a premier venue for rowers and spectators and will host the World Rowing Championships in 2017. The eighth annual event, with races running back to back from 8 to 5 Saturday and 8:30 to 4 Sunday, will feature exciting head-to-head racing by up to 8 boats at a time.
This year’s Sarasota Invitational Regatta has drawn over 70 clubs from all around the country, more than 800 boat entries and approximately 1,500 athletes. The youth rowers are primarily from Florida and will compete in 70 events on Saturday. The participants hale from much farther afield, with athletes coming from as far away as San Diego, and as close to home as Sarasota. These athletes range in age from early 20’s to mid 70’s and will compete in 50 races on Sunday.
Saturday will also feature the second annual Rowing for Life event, scheduled for noon. In this special race, boats that combine youth and adult rowers will race in eight-person boats for a $1,000 prize that will to go to the winning youth team.
Sunday also will include special events, including two races reserved for military veterans, called Operation Showdown. These rowers will be seated into rowing shells by military service.
The Sarasota Invitational Regatta is always great viewing for spectators, whether at the south end of Nathan Benderson Lake to catch the splashing and yelling excitement of the starts or on the beach of Regatta Island to witness the often-close finishes. Vendors will be set up on Regatta Island to serve up food and drinks and sell rowing-themed T-shirts and other gear.
Admission is free; parking costs $5.
The Sarasota Invitational Regatta is co-hosted by Sarasota County Rowing Club and the Suncoast Aquatic Nature Center Associates, Inc. (SANCA), the nonprofit that operates Nathan Benderson Park.
For more information on the event, visit www.SarasotaInvitationalRegatta.com or contact Mary Chadsey at MaryChadsey@me.com.