College rowers square off at Benderson Park

jdela@bradenton.comApril 7, 2013 

LAKEWOOD RANCH -- Collegiate athletes and their fans from across Florida and the United States enjoyed a day of sun, sand and water Saturday on the second day of the Florida Intercollegiate Rowing Association championships at Nathan Benderson Park.

Twelve Florida schools competed Saturday -- Barry University, Embry-Riddle AeronauticalUniversity, Florida Tech, Jacksonville University, Nova Southwest, Rollins College, Stetson University, the University of Florida,Florida State University, the University of CentralFlorida, the University ofTampa and the University of South Florida,Sarasota-Manatee.

Some out-of-state programs were also invited, including Georgia Tech and Rutgers.

The fledgling USF Sarasota-Manatee rowing program, which was formed in 2010, did well, said Jay Riley, the team's advisor. "We made it to the finals for the first time," he said.

Karen Brainard of Bradenton, wearing a green and gold USF Rowing sweatshirt, was cheering for her son, Andy Gould, the captain of USF's crew club.

"The team's doingwell," she said after her son and his three teammates crossed the finish line. "They've made so much progress."

She said her son comes by his interest in rowing honestly. His late father was a rower. "And we've always been by the water," she said.

Rowing competition continues today as high school and youth club teams get their chance on the water at the Florida Scholastic Rowing Association's West District championships.

For the schedule of events at the rowing facility, nestled along Interstate 75 between University Parkway and Fruitville Road, visit www.worldclassrowing.com.

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