Masters Rowers Come Together in Oak Ridge

OAK RIDGE, Tenn. — This week, masters athletes will travel from all over the country, and a few from across the globe, to compete at the 2017 USRowing Masters National Championships at Melton Hill Lake in Oak Ridge, Tenn., from Thursday, August 17 to Sunday, August 20.

The venue will welcome more than 1,300 athletes ages 21 and over to compete in 202 events. Oak Ridge is a well-known regatta site with an experienced local organizing committee, as it has hosted USRowing’s Youth, Club and Masters National Championships in previous years.

“We are very excited to bring the Masters Nationals event back to Oak Ridge,” said USRowing Events Manager A.J. Dominique. “The fact that it has become one of the largest USRowing events is great validation for those who have put so much time and effort into development and maintenance of the course.”

Last year at the 2016 USRowing Masters National Championships, Chinook Performance Racing from San Diego, Calif., took the overall team points trophy with an impressive 935 points, winning 53 total medals.

This year, Chinook will be back to defend its title. With 108 entries this year, the team is looking to be competitive while also having fun.

“We are hoping for a more relaxed and fun event, and are trying to serve our athletes well,” said Chinook Performance Racing President Deborah Davis. “We have also been strategic in our entries in order to maximize our points, so it is all about the fun of training, organizing and executing, using our resources wisely and providing a great service to our athletes. We really are a special team, and we so much look forward to the camaraderie and competition Nationals brings.”

Camaraderie and competitive spirits permeate through Masters Nationals each year, bringing out the best in some of rowing’s most seasoned and enthusiastic masters athletes.

Dean Smith, 91, is the regatta’s oldest competitor. Rowing with Rocky Mountain Rowing Club of Aurora, Colo., Smith is scheduled to race in the lightweight and open men’s J double sculls events.

The state of California will be the most represented in Oak Ridge, with 12 clubs sending a total of 174 entries. Other states with a large presence at this year’s championships include Connecticut and Texas, with 165 and 152 entries, respectively. Three clubs hail from the state of Tennessee including Oak Ridge’s own Atomic Rowing Center, which is entered in 23 events.

Racing kicks off Thursday at 9:00 a.m., with the first 50 events of the regatta. Medals and trophies will be awarded daily once final race times are marked “official,” beginning at 1:30 p.m.

Watch each day’s live broadcast of afternoon finals on USRowing’s YouTube Channel.

Competitors and spectators can also enjoy a beer garden on site near the finish line. From 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., each day of racing, Oak Ridge’s own “Crafter’s Brew” will be providing an assortment of local craft brews. After racing commences on Friday, August 18 and Saturday, August 19, attendees can enjoy live music performed by “The Gosh Darn’s” and “Robie & James Lewis,” on respective nights.

Check out photos of the 2016 and 2017 USRowing Masters National Championships at USRowing.Photos.

Interested in covering the event? Apply for a press credential here.

2017 USRowing Masters National Championships Press Kit available here.

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