By Oak Ridge Convention and Visitors Bureau
Few partnerships have stood the test of time quite like that of the Southern Intercollegiate Rowing Association (SIRA) and Oak Ridge. For almost 30 years, SIRA has been holding their championship in Oak Ridge.
Oak Ridge and its beloved rowing venue have been attracting rowers since the late 1970s with its calm, flat water. SIRA rowers were among the first to compete in Oak Ridge back in the 1980s. Today, the regatta attracts more than 50 collegiate men’s and women’s rowing teams to Oak Ridge. In fact, the 2016 regatta will be the largest in SIRA history with 61 teams participating.
While SIRA offers races in many different boat categories, all eyes will be on the Men’s Eight race. Perennial men’s powerhouse teams (such as University of Michigan, University of Virginia, and Purdue University) will battle for SIRA’s ultimate prize—Men’s Eight Gold.
“The men’s eight final promises to be a brutal slug-fest; there are no clear favorites at this point,” said Marc DeRose, Explore Oak Ridge director and veteran rowing coach. “I also expect the heats to be just as competitive.”
Racing starts on Saturday at 8 a.m. with time trials throughout the morning leading to afternoon heats and semi-finals. Finals will be held from 8 a.m. to 1:05 p.m. Sunday.
The race distance is 2,000 meters (about 1.25 miles) with the start line at the former Riverside Grill and finish line at the UT-Battelle Rowing Tower. Coaches and spectators can follow the racing along the Melton Lake greenway or find a place to sit on the grass in Melton Lake Park. There is no admission fee for the event. Refreshments and souvenirs will be on sale on the peninsula in Melton Lake Park. Parking will be limited to the Melton Lake roadside.
Oak Ridge Rowing Association (www.orra.org) is the local host of the regatta and can be contacted for more information. Explore Oak Ridge (www.exploreoakridge.com) will be on site to provide visitors with information and smiles.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
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