Second-Largest USRowing Masters National Championships Ready for Kickoff in Michigan
By John Bartman • August 14, 2019
The 2019 USRowing Masters National Championships will be held August 15-18, 2019, at Riverside Park in Grand Rapids, Mich.
Known as “Beer City, USA,” a collection of local craft breweries aim to make the beer garden at the event the “Best Beer Garden in Rowing.” The beer garden will provide both natural riverside viewing of the regatta action, plus close-up viewing on monitors covering the course. Beer lover or not, Grand Rapids is sure to impress as the racecourse is only three miles from downtown, home to a plethora of restaurants, breweries and shops.
In cooperation with the city and with volunteer assistance from members of the Grand Rapids Rowing Association, the event will be held in Riverside Park, Grand Rapids’ largest city park. Attendees and spectators can enjoy 250 acres of wooded landscape, pathways and great views of the Grand River. A 1,000-meter, six-lane buoyed course will begin south of boat ramp #2 (Guild Street), with the finish line at boat ramp #1 (Knapp Street).
“We are so excited to come back to Grand Rapids,” said James Rawson, USRowing Manager, National Events and West Coast Programs. “The athletes had such a great time here in 2014 that they insisted that we return – and this time, they brought even more of their teammates. We have 600 more entries this year than we did in 2014, and it is going to be a very full racing schedule. When the racing is done each day, the regatta beer garden will be busy, and the athletes will have a great time exploring Grand Rapids.”
The regatta is free to watch, with designated viewing areas in Riverside Park with large-screen monitors to show inaccessible parts of the course. Free shuttles to Riverside Park run from designated parking lots in Grand Rapids, and spectators are encouraged to use the free DASH bus service, The Rapid, or bicycle. Rapid/DASH bus information can be found at Mobile GR and Parking Services.
Rowing will begin at 8:00 a.m. Thursday, August 15. There are a whopping 2,123 entries from 149 clubs, the second highest entry total ever for this event. The largest USRowing Masters National Championships ever was in 2016 in Massachusetts, where there were 2,150 entries from 165 clubs. Masters crews are separated by age categories, which are designated by letters. The category AA contains rowers aged 21 to 26 years old. From there, A rowers are age 27 to 35, B rowers are 36 to 42, C rowers are 43-49, D rowers are 50 to 54, E rowers are 55 to 59, F rowers are 60-64, G rowers are 65 to 69, H rowers are 70 to 74, I rowers are 75 to 79, J rowers are 80 to 84, and K rowers are 85 years old and over.
The age category of a masters crew is determined by the average age of the rowers in the crew, rounded to the nearest integer. The age of a coxswain is not counted. The ages of individual rowers need not fall within the age category, so long as each rower is a masters athlete and so long as the average age of the crew falls within the applicable category.
Hosted in partnership with the West Michigan Sports Commission and the West Michigan River Sports Association, the event last took place in Grand Rapids in 2014, the first national rowing event in Michigan.
Each day’s finals races will be streamed live on USRowing’s YouTube channel. Results from each day’s racing and the upcoming schedule will be available on HereNOW. Entries, club lists, and more event information can be found on RegattaCentral.