The world class 2017 World Rowing Championships were held in Sarasota, Florida from September 24, 2017- October 1, 2017 at Benderson Park.
We were excited to attend on Thursday and found the event extremely well organized and a first class, professional venue. It was a huge operation with athletes and fans representing 69 countries. There were 930 athletes.
It was just the second time ever that this event has been held in the United States.
It is now being said that the event has put us on the map on par with the top rowing facilities in the world. Sarasota is on the West Coast of Florida one hour south of Tampa and two hours from Orlando.
The park includes grandstands to hold 3,600 people, picnic tables, beach chairs on the sandy lake shorefront, and the six story Benderson Finish tower. There were at least 4 huge Jumbotron sized screens so you could view all the details up close which was really fabulous.
It all started in 2009 with a hole that was dug for material used to build the I-75 interstate and other roads. Adjustments were made in the roads so the lake that was formed could be the necessary 2000 meters for rowing. A 30 acre island was created to allow room for events. In 2013 a bid was made and accepted to host the 2017 World Championships and then the race course and needed facilities were built.
Nathan Benderson Park was built to FISA racing standards and has 8 x 13.5 meter lanes. The race course specifications include 2,180 meters in length, 630 meters wide and on average 6 meters deep. In addition to the race course the lake has multiple 1500 meter warm-up and cool down lanes.
The park also has a state of the art floating wave attenuator platform that doubles as a dedicated TV lane for broadcast requirements, and exclusive 3m wide paved coaches cycle path.
In conjunction with the Rowing Championships, the book “The Boys in the Boat” by Daniel James Brown was showcased throughout our area and by our library system. We both read the book and it was a wonderful way for us to learn more about the sport prior to the event.
The book is an inspiring true story of the University of Washington rowing team and the incredible story of the nine young men who rowed to victory in the 1936 Olympics in Germany. It begins during the fourth year of the Great Depression when the country was in deep despair. Rowing was a very popular sport then and sports were a way for people to feel optimism and have something to celebrate.
We learned how extremely challenging rowing is both physically and mentally. There was great emphasis on how the respect and love of teammates form powerful bonds. It reminds us of how much can be accomplished when everyone pulls together.
The story is not only heartwarming and encouraging – but it also reveals a fascinating glimpse of history at that time.
The boys beat the odds in desperate times and brought joy to our country when it really needed it.
We highly recommend this book. It really helped us appreciate the immense efforts and sacrifices that the athletes and their families, coaches and sponsors put forth for their sport.
We have several local teams in our area and we hope this venue will help to expand the sport and provide additional opportunities for those involved.
Bravo for Sarasota and all those who put this event together.
Let us know if you would like a world class effort to help with your real estate needs.