The Southeastern Regional Collegiate Sprints will have to wait at least another year before it returns to Aiken County.
Originally set to be held at Langley Pond, the regatta has been downgraded to a meet between Georgia, Clemson and possibly the College of Charleston. It will be held at the Tigers’ rowing facilities on Lake Hartwell, where its size proves ideal for the 2,000-meter sprints in which the teams will compete.
The UGA Crew was originally slated to play host to the regatta in an event which boasted rowing clubs from major schools from across the Southeast, including Clemson, Auburn, Emory, Georgia State and the College of Charleston.
The regatta fell through when teams either failed to register or opted out in favor of other events, UGA Crew coach Nathan Lantz said.
“The response I got from a lot of the other coaches is they’ve sort of found better things to do on that weekend,” he said. “The only two large teams that did register were us and Clemson.”
Lantz said he contacted coaches at Clemson and proposed a scrimmage between the two clubs on Langley Pond.
Those plans shifted again Wednesday afternoon when Clemson officials suggested moving the meet to their home course.
The move was made in part to cut down on travel expenses for the two clubs. Both schools are located more than 100 miles from Langley Pond.
“We won’t be getting the variety of competition that we have had in the past, but we are definitely excited to still be racing,” Lantz said.
The two clubs have history, last competing against each other in the Head of the South regatta in Augusta this past November. The Clemson Crew topped Georgia with 140 total points to the Bulldogs’ 131 to take home the team points trophy.
Clemson coach Zsofi Bende said she hopes to see a similar outcome during this weekend’s event.
“The Head of the South was really good for us,” Bende said. “However, we were competing in 6,000-meter races. This time we will be racing 2,000-meter sprints, and that event was canceled last year, I believe. I think we will be very competitive.”
While both clubs will use the meet as an opportunity to tune up for the spring season, UGA Crew men’s captain Will Hedgepeth said he was disappointed the regatta didn’t continue as planned.
“I like to compete,” he said. “The opportunity to compete against the best programs in the Southeast is what I want. Not having enough programs there to do that, obviously, is disappointing.
“At the same time, I’m excited that we get to face Clemson, and possibly a few other teams, and still get out there and row.”