Nathan Benderson Park Awarded 2022-23 US Rowing Masters National Championships
For the first time in nearly a decade, the nation’s best masters rowers will once again convene under the Florida sun. The 2022 and 2023 US Rowing Masters National Championships will be held at Nathan Benderson Park. Nathan Benderson Park Conservancy will play host, with support from Visit Sarasota County. This year’s regatta will be Aug. 11-14, while next year’s regatta will be Aug. 10-13, 2023. The regattas will feature racing in more than 200 masters categories.
“This recent awarding of the USRowing Masters Nationals is a telling tale of the benefits and success of Nathan Benderson Park and its operator, the Nathan Benderson Park Conservancy,” said Stephen V. Rodriguez, the Conservancy’s chief operating officer, and interim chief executive officer. “Being awarded a national championship event just four months away from the event date shows the park’s ability to be ready at a moment’s notice to take on new opportunities for the benefit of our community.”
He said it’s a testament to “the hard work of the Conservancy staff and the trust it has earned from event rights holders to be able to deliver.”
Rodriguez pointed to the park’s growing masters program, the NBP Community Rowing Club, and said its athletes, along with other masters programs in the community, will benefit by having the event in their backyard.
“This is a benefit that is often overlooked when we announce that we are hosting events,” he said. “It isn’t just about bringing visitors to our area. It’s also about connecting our area athletes to competitive opportunities in their backyard.”
NBP Programs and Aquatics Manager Miriam Ward said the regatta will be a shot in the arm.
“I believe that Nathan Benderson Park having the opportunity to host USRowing Masters Nationals will be transformational for the NBP Community Rowing Club,” she said. “As the masters team grows and flourishes with a community-driven focus, it will be a chance to host the entire country’s fellow masters at our home base, welcoming everyone with open arms to show them what the NBP Community Rowing Club is all about.”
Rowers obtain masters status in the year of their 21st birthday, according to USRowing. They compete in distinct age group classifications.
When the USRowing Masters Nationals were at NBP in 2013, the venue was in its infancy, said Sarah McAuliffe, USRowing’s director of event planning and services.
“We’re looking forward to hosting our masters athletes in Sarasota the next two years,” she said. “Since 2013, Sarasota has hosted several national championships and World Rowing events, including the highly-successful World Rowing Masters Regatta in 2018. We hope that all of our masters rowers will take advantage of the opportunity to race at this world-class venue.”
The nation’s premier rowing venue, Nathan Benderson Park has hosted numerous national rowing events including the 2019 USRowing Youth National Championships and 2021 USRowing Youth National Regatta. The venue also has hosted premier international and trials events including the 2017 World Rowing Championships, 2018 World Rowing Masters Regatta and 2019 World Rowing Under 23 Championships, as well as the 2016 and 2020 U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Rowing.
The venue is slated to host the 2022 USRowing Youth National Championships this June and the 2022 USRowing Southeast Regional Championships and NCAA Women’s Rowing Championships for Divisions I, II and III in May.
In addition to racing, rowers will be able to soak up the sun along Sarasota’s white-sand beaches or treat themselves to diverse dining, enriching arts and culture, shopping districts of all sorts, and natural Florida fun.
“We are so thrilled to welcome the masters rowing community back to Sarasota County this summer and next,” said Virginia Haley, Visit Sarasota County president. “Our local hospitality partners always enjoy hosting masters athletes, and we look forward to working with them to provide a few special programs for attendees to experience all that Sarasota has to offer.”
About USRowing: USRowing is a nonprofit organization recognized by the U.S. Olympic Committee as the governing body for the sport of rowing in the United States. USRowing has 83,000 individual members and 1,350 member organizations, offering rowing programs for all.
About Nathan Benderson Park Conservancy: The Nathan Benderson Park Conservancy is a not-for-profit 501c3 business created to manage Nathan Benderson Park (NBP), a community/public asset, and world-class, multi-use sports venue. Our mission is to improve the quality of life for our community and be an economic generator for our region. The Conservancy’s primary purpose is to develop and promote NBP as a world-class event center, team training site, and Sarasota County park, while providing outreach programs through recreation, safety training, education, and volunteering as a service to our community. For more information, go to Nathan Benderson Park.
About Visit Sarasota County: Visit Sarasota County leads and supports the tourism industry in Sarasota County by providing the highest quality, and most innovative, marketing programs and promotions to ensure the continued growth of tourism and travel from visitors around the world. It is the mission of VSC is to make Sarasota County the must experience destination on Florida’s Gulf Coast. To learn more, visit the website.
Photo from US Rowing Website