The 2017 USRowing Masters National Championships will be held in Oak Ridge in August.
The championships are scheduled for August 17-20 on Melton Hill Lake in Oak Ridge. USRowing announced the dates and location on Friday.
There were more than 2,000 entries from 165 clubs for the 2016 event on Lake Quinsigamond in Worcester, Massachusetts, in August. It was the largest USRowing event ever, according to USRowing. (Oak Ridge rower Michael Schay won several gold medals there.)
The bar has been set even higher for 2017, USRowing said, citing Oak Ridge Rowing Association Regatta Director Sarah McAuliffe.
“Oak Ridge Rowing Association is extremely excited to provide an excellent athlete experience for rowers at Masters Nationals 2017,” said McAuliffe. “With our race course recognized as one of the best in the country, and an organization that has decades of experience hosting high-caliber events, rowers will have the ability to connect with other athletes socially and competitively…With our race course that is recognized as one of the best in the country, and an organization that has decades of experience hosting high-caliber events, rowers will have the ability to connect with other athletes socially and competitively.”
The championships will be hosted by Oak Ridge Rowing Association and Oak Ridge Convention and Visitors Bureau (also known as Explore Oak Ridge). They will feature athletes 21 and older competing for national titles in 202 categories.
“Masters can look forward to another unique competition experience at the 2017 event with a beer garden and viewing area with TV screens for close-up viewing of each race,” a press rerelease said. Athletes will also get the chance to meet their fellow competitors for a special Tennessee-favorite meal during competition.”
Melton Hill Lake has hosted a number of USRowing national championship regattas, including the 2014 USRowing Club National Championships, as well as NCAA and SIRA college events. In 2004 and 2007, the venue hosted the USRowing Masters National Championships.
“Oak Ridge has shown how much the community values the sport of rowing, and they are anxious to welcome the masters community back to Tennessee,” said USRowing Events Manager A.J. Dominique. “Their history of hosting events shows they are more than capable of hosting USRowing’s largest regattas, and the venue makes for a great backdrop for this event. Competitors can expect great racing conditions, enhanced off-the-water amenities, and a welcoming, local atmosphere.”
“Late summer in Oak Ridge promises long, sunny days with calm, protected water and ideal racing conditions,” said Jim Rogers, Oak Ridge Rowing Association regatta chairman. “Our racing venue on Melton Hill Lake has long been a favorite for competitive rowing, hosting high-profile 1,000-meter and 2,000-meter events for nearly 40 years. We are delighted to welcome masters rowing back to East Tennessee.”
The first regatta was hosted on Melton Hill Lake in 1978. It was the training venue of choice for the United States women and the Swiss team prior to the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, Georgia.
“We’re all very excited and honored to host the 2017 Masters Nationals,” said Marc DeRose, executive director of Explore Oak Ridge. “Rowing is strong part of Oak Ridge history and is associated with a lot of civic pride. I know that in addition to a fair and consistent racing venue, visiting rowers will find Oak Ridge to be an extremely welcoming community.”
For more information about the venue, visit the Oak Ridge Rowing Association website at orra.org.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
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