West Coast Scholastics Sees Substantial Growth, Now an SRAA Qualifier

Now in its third year, the USRowing West Coast Scholastic Championships has seen tremendous growth since its inaugural running.

In 2017, 44 crews from six clubs came to Chula Vista, Calif., to compete. This Sunday, 193 crews from 14 clubs will take to the waters on Lake Perris in Riverside County, Calif. More than 500 athletes from Arizona, California and Washington are scheduled to compete across the 44 events.

In addition, the regatta will serve for the first time as a qualifier for the 2019 SRAA National Championships. The SRAA event will be held May 24-25 on Dillon Lake in Nashport, Ohio.

“We are so happy to see that the idea of a West Coast Scholastic Championship – an idea that started five years ago – has taken off and is now a recognized as a qualifying race for the SRAA Championships,” said James Rawson, USRowing’s National Events and West Coast Programs Manager.

Newport Aquatic Center will make the 60-mile trek with 26 boats, while Seattle-based Holy Names Academy will be bringing 26 crews down from Washington. San Diego’s Cathedral Catholic High School has 22 boats entered in the event.

“It really helps to raise the bar in San Diego,” said Art Sloate, head girls’ coach at Cathedral. “It gives us a great opportunity to compete against high school programs that are more like us. (As a qualifier), the regatta has attracted some real heavyweights like Holy Names from Seattle, but it’s also encouraged others to start rowing. I really have to thank USRowing for seeing the need for this regatta.”

The West Coast Scholastic Championships also will be the first time USRowing has held one of its events on Lake Perris, a developing venue east of Los Angeles in Riverside County.

“We’re excited to bring this year’s race to Lake Perris,” Rawson said. “The Southwest region needs more race courses, and this lake has the potential to be a great venue.”

The Southern California region is one of the fastest growing rowing communities in the country, with Empire Rowing, Newport Aquatic Center, Cathedral Catholic High School and Lake Casitas Rowing Association having taken the lead in helping USRowing with the logistics for running the regatta.

“The region, as a whole, has been instrumental in working together to make sure that this year’s regatta is a success,” Rawson said.

“The regional cooperation has been huge,” Sloate said. “Newport Aquatic is bringing down launches and others are providing all sorts of support. Empire Rowing is hosting and really working to develop the course. The region sees the need for the regatta and for another course and supports this event fully.”

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