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A Golden Weekend at the 2018 Sarasota Invitational Regatta

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A Golden Weekend at the 2018 Sarasota Invitational Regatta
What an incredible weekend of racing at Nathan Benderson Park! Florida and other rowing teams from across the United States kicked off the 2018 sprint season with two days of sunshine at the Sarasota Invitational Regatta. The event had a record number of entries (822) spread across the two days.

Both days of the regatta went so well. On the kids’ day, I volunteered at the recovery docks all day. We were hustling to get those boats off the water, and the youth did a great job as always. Local team Sarasota Scullers won one of the two Rowing for Life $1000 prizes; West Cambridge Boat Club received the other. I know the youth team had a strong showing in all their events, as they earned a slew of medals.

Sarasota Invitational Regatta 2018 Mixed 2x GoldPersonally, I am still basking in the glow of winning a gold medal with Sarasota County Rowing Club coach and former Romanian Olympian, Dragos Alexandru. There are some races you will always remember, and this is one of them. We hadn’t practiced together at all before the Sunday row to the start. Dragos said, “Don’t worry about anything. Just do what I tell you to do. “ And I did. I just kept my composure, and that was it. Next thing you know, we were crossing the finish line.

I also raced my single and earned a bronze, which I am very pleased with as I don’t race my single often. I did hit a starboard buoy and lost some time there. Plus, the level of local Masters’ competition is really increasing in Sarasota. There were boats posting times on par with winning at the World Rowing Masters Regatta. For instance, Sarasota Scullers’ Women’s Masters 2x winning team rowed a raw 3:40. Scullers composited with ladies from Vesper, Treasure Coast, S&M Rowing, and other teams to row a Women’s Masters 8+ in 3:16--raw! And they were not the only ones: Miami Rowing Club Men’s 4x won in 3:14, a composite Men’s 8+ raced down the course in 3:06, and a Mixed 4+ from Asheville had a raw 3:40.62.

Sarasota Crew Masters brought the heat, too. Their Masters’ National Champion, Anne Marichal, won the Women’s 1x. She later placed second in the Women’s 2x. Crew’s Mixed 2x and Men’s Novice 1x won gold; the Women’s Lwt 1x, Men’s 2x and Men’s Lwt 2x placed 2nd; and the Women’s 8+, Women’s 4x, Men’s 4x, Women’s Novice 1x was third.

Sarasota County Rowing, the regatta’s host and LOC, had a tremendous day between racing and running the regatta. It goes to show how great coaching (thank you, Dragos!) can improve a team. In addition to my two medals, we had winners in the Women’s Novice 1x, Men’s 2x, Freedom Rows Veteran 1x, Women’s 4x, earned silver in the Women’s 1x, Men’s 1x, Men’s Novice 4x, Mixed 2x, Women’s 4x, Men’s 4x, Mixed 4x, and Mixed 8+; placed third in two entries in the Men’s 2x, and the Women’s 2x; a special mention of going 1-2-3 in the Women’s Novice 4x.

I would especially like to thank Nathan Benderson Park, SANCA, and all the volunteers for their continued support of this regatta. We are extremely fortunate to have a passionate community that has rallied around this incredible sport.Sarasota Invitational Regatta Medals

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