Youth Rowing National Championship underway in Sarasota

WWSB ABC7 News at 6pm
Published: Jun. 8, 2023 at 8:23 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 8, 2023 at 9:34 PM EDT
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SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - Thousands of people are heading to Sarasota over the next few days for one of the biggest competitions in rowing.

The Youth National Championship began Thursday and will go until Sunday.

Over 4,000 athletes, 1,000 coaches and staff members and 5,000 spectators are expected to be at Nathan Benderson Park.

“Nathan Benderson Park is a world class rowing facility. Our partnership with them and Visit Sarasota enables us to deliver the fairest, safest regatta in the country and a great experience for everybody in attendance,” says Rich Cacioppo, executive director of U.S. Rowing.

Young athletes from 38 states will compete against the best of the best, including a team from Sarasota.

“We have this joke that this is our swamp and It’s so cool to race in a place where everyone came here and I just got to sleep in my own bed. It’s so cool to represent the hometown team,” says Julia Halbreich, recent Pine View High School graduate and team captain.

And with the influx of visitors coming to Sarasota for the next few days, local business owners like Jeff Miller of Der Dutchman Restaurant see a huge economic boost during this week’s event.

“We have 30 rooms just for athletes, and their families are staying in other rooms at the hotel, and they do eat a lot of food on campus as well. It’s a pretty big deal for us for sure,” says Miller.

The championship races will be held on Sunday.