Crews pick Augusta for calm water, nice climate

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When the crews at American University and the Hun School of Princeton were mapping out a plan for spring break, they searched for a destination where they could take their rowing shells, instead of a place where they might step on some.

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Members of the American University women's rowing team train on the Savannah River.  Rainier Ehrhardt/Staff
Rainier Ehrhardt/Staff
Members of the American University women's rowing team train on the Savannah River.

They are two of a handful of crews from across the country that chose the Augusta area to train during their weeklong vacation.

For years, teams have found both the Savannah River and Langley Pond ideal locations to prepare for their upcoming seasons, because of the warm weather, quality of water for racing purposes and number of hotels in the area.

"The weather was great all week. It's much warmer than what we're used to in Princeton," said Madeline Davis, the girls crew coach at the Hun School of Princeton. "The water is beautiful. It's very flat, and there's very little wind. The conditions for rowing are perfect."

The private high school crew from New Jersey spent the week in Augusta for the first time. Accustomed to heavily populated waterways in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, the team sees advantages on the less-crowded Savannah River.

"We do a lot of rowing in Philadelphia. So obviously rowing here, and the process of getting the boats here, is much quieter," Davis said.

Along with being a popular destination for crews in training, the area is also a hot spot for major regattas.

Today, Langley Pond will play host to the 27th annual Augusta Invitational Regatta. Crews from 18 states are entered in the 30-event regatta.

The Augusta Invitational Regatta is the first of three major regattas being held between the two sites this year. The Aiken-Augusta Masters Regatta takes place at Langley Pond in May; the Savannah River will be the site of the Head of the South Regatta in the fall.

The number could increase in the coming years.

According to Michael Cobb, of the Augusta Rowing Club, plans are in the works to make Langley Pond more "spectator-friendly for rowing," which could include stadium-type seating.

Cobb said this could help the area land more prestigious regattas, such as the U.S. Nationals, U.S. Youth Nationals, U.S. Masters Nationals and World Masters.

"We're continuing to grow and evolve into the one of the best areas for rowing in America," Cobb said. 

If you go

WHAT: 27th annual Augusta Invitational Regatta

WHERE: Langley Pond

WHEN: Heats begin at 8 a.m. today, finals at 12:30 p.m.


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