Rowers arriving Wednesday

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Posted: Monday, August 12, 2013 2:18 pm | Updated: 8:53 pm, Mon Aug 26, 2013.

SARASOTA, Fla. - The sound of 'progress' is in the air at Benderson Park.  Workers are scrambling on big -- and small -- projects to get the rowing park ready for the start of a national race that starts Thursday.

Starting Wednesday, 1006 rowers from 107 clubs in 88 cities, in 28 states and 2 countries will be on the Suncoast.

Paul Blackketter is just back from Switzerland, where he pitched the venue for the 2017 International Rowing Championships. Members of the selection committee are heading this way currently.  "They're actually going to be here this weekend to see how we host a national championship. We are auditioning; actually every regetta is an audition and we're only as good as our last event," Blackketter said.

Mike DePriest, of Benderson Development, is overseeing the actual work going on there. He realizes there's a little extra pressure for this weekend, even though it's the 50th event held there.  "Little bit, that and getting it ready, and hopefully you guys can keep the rain away," DePriest said.

Racing starts Thursday morning at 8am and runs through 2pm through Sunday. Admission in $5. Parking is $5. Benderson is hoping you'll carpool, ride a bike or walk as parking is limited.

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