About 1,900 rowers from 61 programs raced in the 2016 SIRA Championship in Oak Ridge on Saturday and Sunday.
Featuring 322 boats, it was the largest SIRA regatta ever.
SIRA, the Southern Intercollegiate Rowing Association, has been holding its championship in Oak Ridge for almost 30 years.
The Oak Ridge Convention and Visitors Bureau said the city’s rowing course has been attracting rowers since the late 1970s with its calm, flat water, and 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, and the one this past weekend had 61 teams.
Racing started Saturday morning with time trials, which were followed by afternoon heats and semifinals. Finals were from 8 a.m. to 1:05 p.m. Sunday.
You can see the results here. (Click on the Saturday button near the top of the page for the Saturday results, and click on the Sunday button for Sunday’s results.)
Of local interest, the University of Tennessee in Knoxville finished second in the Women’s 2nd Novice 8+ (Purdue was first), the Women’s Novice 8+ (Open) (Kansas State was first), and Women’s Varsity 8+ (Club) (Colorado was first).
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 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, and vendors set up on Melton Lake Peninsula during the regattas.
In addition to the rowers, parents, coaches, bus drivers, and others come to the region for the rowing races.
Conditions were ideal on Sunday, with no wind, mild temperatures, and calm, flat water.
“You can’t beat it today,” said Casey Baker, SIRA board member. “(It’s as) good as it ever gets.”
You can see a list of SIRA members here. The association includes universities in Tennessee, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Texas, and Virginia, among other states.
Here are more photos from the Sunday finals of the SIRA Championship Regatta, which was hosted by the Oak Ridge Rowing Association.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
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