National rowing championships kick off in Sarasota

2017 World Rowing Championships being targeted

SARASOTA, Fla. - It takes hard work and sometimes teamwork to be successful in competitive rowing.  

More than a thousand athletes from 66 cities across the country are taking part in U.S. Rowing's Masters National Championships at Nathan Benderson Park in Sarasota. The competition is fierce.

Since the rowing center held its first event just four years ago, a high school regatta, Sarasota has quickly become a major player in the rowing world.

"If you're in-tune to the rowing world, you hear Sarasota come up all the time. 

People talk about this area and all that's been done to develop the park, all the money that's been funneled into this facility; and it's just amazing," said Allison Frederick with U.S Rowing.

The Suncoast Aquatic Nature Center Association, a non-profit that oversees the facility knows that this national event could be a springboard to even greater success.

"The fact that they come here, they stay in our hotels, they eat in our restaurants, they shop in our retail centers and there's an economic impact on many different levels. 

So it's just not just this venue, but it goes well beyond this venue," explained Paul Blackketter, SANCA's president.

State and local leaders think so too. 

Governor Scott helped kick off the event Thursday morning. Support funding has come from all levels with hopes resting on being chosen to host the prestigious World Rowing Championships in 2017.    

"Going out and searching for those big bids, having this type of facility of Olympic caliber, makes things quite successful for us," Blackketter said.
 

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