Sarasota is home to some of the world's most pristine beaches and estuaries, making it a boater's dream, and Nathan Benderson Park, located near the University Town Center mall, makes it a rower's dream. This weekend, the park will be hosting the 2021 National Women's Rowing Championship.
College athletes from across the country will gather to compete, with teams ranging from Division I to Division III levels. Rowers will come from as far as Washington and California, while some will be closer to home like Embry–Riddle Aeronautical University and the Florida Institute of Technology. Earlier this month, Florida Tech won the Sunshine State Conference; the team is now gearing up for a shot at a national title.
After a year of limitations and safety restrictions, sports teams have had to make adjustments to training. Since the Rowing National Championship in 2020 was canceled, this will be a long awaited event for teams who have missed multiple opportunities to compete, leading up to this year's event.
Nathan Benderson Park boasts a 2,000-meter rowing course that was designed to be the most efficient and fairest course in the world. Like rowing teams who had to innovate during the pandemic, the same went for the park. Over the course of the pandemic, the park's 2020 event schedule was scrapped and reimagined to allow people to follow social distancing guidelines. "For 2021, it seems everyone’s coming back to competition with a passion and a determination, and of course with all precautions in place to ensure success," says Douglas Jessmer, the park's communications director.
The National Women's Rowing Championship will be held at Nathan Benderson Park from Friday, May 28, to Sunday, May 30. For information visit the event website.