The Sarasota Scullers won a record 11 gold medals and tied for the overall team championship at the 45th Florida Scholastic Rowing Association championships Sunday.
The Scullers, comprised of boys and girls from local high schools and middle schools, tied Winter Park High School for the 2010 title in the two-day event, said Teresa Rawe, whose daughter, Cara, 17, is a rower on the Sarasota Scullers.
The championships were held at Nathan Benderson Park, a venue rapidly gaining attention from rowing fans in the state.
“It’s an amazing facility,” Teresa Rawe said of Benderson Park, near the southwest corner of Interstate 75 and University Parkway. “We had a crowd of about 10,000.”
Cara Rawe, a junior at Manatee High School, was the lone participant from Manatee County in the competition, her mother said.
Cara’s varsity four-person boat plus coxswain captured the state championship title.
“The Scullers’ 11 gold medals set a state record for most golds in a state championship regatta,” Teresa Rawe said.
Scullers’ rower Shannon Simms, a senior at Pineview School in Sarasota, won two gold medals, in the girls varsity four-place boat and the girls quad, where each girl has two oars.
“It was insane,” Cara Rawe said of the Scullers’ performance.
Another Sarasota team, the Sarasota Crew, won a gold medal in Freshman Boys eight-person boat, Teresa Rawe said.
After more than 15 years in Hillsborough County, the rowing championships have seemed to have found a home at the Nathan Benderson Park. The park also hosted the rowing championships in 2009.
The U.S. Southeast Regional Youth Championship Regatta is set for May 8-9, also at Benderson Park.
“These kids practice six days a week,” Teresa Rawe said. “Rowing is one of the hardest sports for preparation. It’s second to swimming in creating best overall conditioning for a participant, and it’s very easy on the joints.”
Richard Dymond, Herald reporter, can be reached at 748-0411, ext. 6686