The event got a huge boost from Augusta Rowing Club.
The club provided teams for several events in addition to four referees, including Tim Jannik, a 16-year club member and its treasurer. In addition to his duties as a referee, Jannik finished first in the male masters doubles event with teammate David Young. They finished with a time of 4 minutes, 1.2 seconds, beating the runners-up by five seconds.
Jannick, a 14-year referee, said the support for the two-day event is to help U.S. Rowing teams from all over the Southeast feel comfortable.
“Since they come here every year, we supply all the launches and volunteers,” Jannick said. “We arranged for some people to referee in addition to the people that travel here from other places.”
Ian Yeager, a five-year junior rower, raced to a second-place finish in a mixed family double event with his mother, Catherine. He said the mixed double presents a different element to the sport.
“We have gone to Boston and other events so we’ve gotten accustomed to it now,” Yeager said. “It goes at a slower pace than with my nationals partner, Steven Santiago, but it’s great.”
Young and his wife, Nancy, competed as a mixed pair on Sunday, after spending Saturday solely as referees. They finished first, coming in at 4:19.7. Nancy, who also serves as vice president of the club’s board, said this event is one of many ways the club is trying to promote the sport.
“The club is working on trying to get growth in the area. We are trying to get it out there that we are here,” she said. “As awesome as the sport is in our area, there are a lot of people who don’t even know that we have rowing here in Augusta.”
Young said this event could have major economic implications for Augusta by enhancing the sports following in the area.
“The spring rowing can help set up for the fall head races,” Young said. “We host the Head of the South competition on the Savannah River, which is one of the top 10 head racing regattas in the United States.”
The club has one prominent fan to help the building of the sport in the area. Honorary club member Igor Grinko, a former coach of the Soviet, Chinese and U.S. national rowing teams, said Augusta is a prime spot for people looking to get into the sport.
“I love the Savannah River,” Grinko said. “It’s good water with not very many motor boats. You can train for miles uninterrupted. More people should come here to try it.”