Junior rowing, for those under 19 years old, has grown by leaps and bounds in the southeastern United States during the past 10 years. Whether due to the extensive opportunities for rowing college scholarships or the general improvement in quanity and quality of rowing programs offered, junior rowing is quickly becoming one of the fastest growing sports in the nation.
This weekend, Oak Ridge will welcome about 2,000 junior rowers from all over the Southeast and Midwest to compete in the Dogwood Junior Regional Regatta. The regatta is one of the largest in the Southeast.
A crew’s performance at the event will be considered heavily for seeding purposes at the USRowing Regional Championship, where rowers compete to qualify for the Junior National Championships.
“If you’re a junior rower (from the Southeast) you’ll want to be in Oak Ridge this weekend,” said Shannon Moore, head coach of Atomic Junior Rowing in Oak Ridge. “It’s going to be the best opportunity for crews to test their speed prior to the regional championships. This regatta will inform coaches on how to train for the weeks leading to regionals, and (it) can be the difference between qualifying for nationals or not.”
Rowing races will begin at 7:30 a.m. Saturday, April 30, and continue throughout the weekend, ending at 5 p.m. Sunday, May 1. The race distance is 2,000 meters, with the start line at the soon-to-open Calhoun’s Restaurant and the 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,” Explore Oak Ridge said in a press release. “There is no admission fee for the event!”
Refreshments and souvenirs will be for sale on the peninsula in Melton Lake Park. Parking will be limited to the Melton Lake Drive roadside.
There will be a detour for non-local traffic at Melton Lake Drive and Emory Valley Road to reduce congestion and increase pedestrian safety. The Melton Lake Greenway will be open as usual, but users should be cautious as there will be considerably more activity on the section that parallels the rowing racecourse. The parking lot and boat ramp at Melton Lake Park will be closed to the public on Saturday and Sunday.
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