Sarasota, FL (April 26) – Three nationally ranked collegiate women’s rowing teams will join several other Florida teams to compete for the Sunshine State Conference (SSC) championship title on April 28 at Nathan Benderson Park (NBP). The next day, more than 1,900 high school rowers will gather at NBP for the Florida Scholastic Rowing Association’s (FSRA) 52nd Sweep Championships April 29-30. At least 40 teams from across the state will be vying for the state youth rowing title and the chance to qualify for the Scholastic Nationals and eventually the USRowing Youth Nationals competition also being held at Nathan Benderson Park June 7-11.
Women from Florida Tech, currently ranked number two in the nation, will look to capture their sixth SCC championship in twelve year. Barry University will enter the competition ranked number five and Nova Southeastern, this year’s SSC competition host, sits at number eight according to a recent poll released by the Collegiate Rowing Association. Rollins College and University of Tampa will also be competing in the 2017 SSC Rowing Championships.
“It’s always exciting to host championship competitions and we are happy to welcome Florida’s elite collegiate women and high school youth rowers, along with their families, to the Sarasota-Bradenton area,” said Robert J. Sullivan, president, Suncoast Aquatic Nature Center Associates Inc. (SANCA). “It’s a great thrill for these athletes to be able to share the same course as future world champions and Olympians.”
The sweeps competition, taking place on the heels of the FSRA’s sculling championships, will include teams from Tallahassee to Miami and Jacksonville to Naples for the second of this state rowing championship series. Due to the increased popularity and growth of youth rowing, the Florida state finals have recently been broken out into two separate events—sculling and sweep.
“The sculling championships, which was the first of the two competitions, brought 34 clubs to Nathan Benderson Park and we are confident we will have at least 41 teams participating in the sweep event,” said Brice Crossley, regatta director, FSRA. “All in all, we expect about 1,800 athletes will compete in this championship, bringing many spectators with them.”
The SSC championship will begin on Friday, April 28 with an Exhibition Four race at 8:45 a.m. The Varsity Four boats will take to the water for their race at 9 a.m., and the Varsity Eight race will begin at 9:15 a.m. There will be an awards ceremony following at 10 a.m. to recognize the All-SSC Team, the Varsity four and Varsity eight winners and the 2017 SSC Champions.
For the upcoming sweep event, heats and repechages will take place Saturday 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. with the semifinals and finals taking place Sunday 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. The races will be 1500 meters long and each sweeps’ rower uses one oar as opposed to the two used by scullers.
For more information visit www.nathanbendersonpark.org.
The Suncoast Aquatic Nature Center, Inc. (SANCA), is a not-for-profit business created to manage Nathan Benderson Park, a community/public asset and world class, multi-use sports venue. Its mission is to improve the quality of life for our community and be an economic generator for the region. SANCA’s primary purpose is to develop and promote Nathan Benderson Park as a world class event center, team training site and Sarasota County Park, while providing outreach programs through recreation, safety training, education and volunteering as a service to our community.
FSRA is the governing body of scholastic-aged youth rowing in the state of Florida. FSRA operates as a non-profit organization established to promote rowing as a sport among the youth of Florida. All FSRA member youth teams (club and high school) active during the Florida spring racing season will be invited to participate in the season ending Florida State Championship Regatta.
Founded in 1975, the Sunshine State Conference has risen from a single sport organization to the Division II “Conference of National Champions.” Since its inception, the conference has grown steadily in sports played, membership and national prominence. Member institutions include Barry University, Eckerd College, Florida Southern College, Florida Institute of Technology, Lynn University, Nova Southeastern University, Rollins College, Saint Leo University and University of Tampa.