SPONSORED BY: Sarasota Scullers
Area rowers raced the clock in inaugural
regatta in Venice ...
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VENICE — You can rest assured that you are going to have a good day when you enter a race, win it, and then they name the trophy after you for all of eternity.
That happened to Savannah Stewart on Saturday as she took part in the inaugural Battle of the Bridges Regatta held in the Intracoastal Waterway in Venice.
Just a junior at Riverview High, Stewart is already a savvy sixth-year veteran rower for the Sarasota Scullers, who hosted the event. She joined forces with Sculler teammates Charlize Simpson, Samantha Tanaka, Emily Naidel and coxswain Shannon Chan to win the girls four in 18 minutes, 12.53 seconds on a twisting 5K (3.1 miles) course.
The trophy for that race will now be named the Savannah Stewart Cup. This (5K head race) is a very popular style of racing,” Stewart said. “It’s basically for the fall season. In the spring we’ll be doing sprint (2K) races.”
Nathan Benderson Park in Sarasota is known for hosting sprint races, such as the World Rowing Championships held there last September.
Saturday’s races were a different scene as rowers took off at intervals and raced against the clock instead of side-by-side in lanes like in sprint races. There is also enough of a bank along the way to prevent dreaded side winds.
“This waterway is phenomenal,” Stewart said. “The red tide has pretty much gone away. It’s well protected from the wind.
“You see people outside of their homes on the Legacy Trail cheering us on and taking some pictures. It’s always nice to see the support.”
Like Stewart, Sarah Nevelus of the Scullers took part in three races on a hot and humid day. Nevelus was part of the championship boat in the girls lightweight four, along with Abigail Sanders, Ella Gerdes, Winnie Lu and coxswain Michaela Chan.
Those who took part in three events rowed about nine miles during racing and nine more miles just returning to the dock. That’s a tough day at any pace.
“30K in one day is a lot of training,” said Nevelus, a senior at Pine View School who also took part in a quad race and rowed in an eight. “It was really hot. I was sweating so hard.”
The Scullers also won the girls double with Julia Stone and Naidel on board.
Tristan Cochran of the Scullers was head and shoulders above the rest in the boys competition. In addition to winning the boys single, Cochran was part of winning boats in the double, quad and lightweight four.
No team standings were kept. Some Masters races were also held at the first Battle of the Bridges. Randy Higel, Ray Giannini, Jorge Gonzalez, Dragos Alexandru, Jeff McKibben, Norman Thetford, Rick Elbrecht, Joe Dobson and coxswain Helen Richardson of the Sarasota County Rowing Club joined forces to win the mens eight.
Giannini was also on board with Joe Dobson, McKibben and John Eisnor to win the mens quad.
Melanie Smith and Ruth Schock of SCRC teamed up to win the women’s double. The SCRC’s Missy Oberly, Jill Veitkus, Linda Herrera and Gale Harding won the women’s quad.