2022 North Carolina Rowing Championships
Apr. 6—HIGH POINT — About 800 rowers from six states have registered to compete this weekend in what is expected to be the largest rowing competition in state history.
The N.C. Rowing Championships at Oak Hollow Lake will be an all-day series of boat races Saturday for youth, collegiate and masters teams from North Carolina and surrounding states.
Festival Park offers an ideal venue for rowing regattas, according to Triad United Rowing coach Gene Kininmonth, a former Australian national team oarsman who has more than 25 years of coaching experience in the sport of rowing, including at UCLA and the University of Southern California and for several Olympic oarsmen and world champions.
"It's an incredible venue," Kininmonth said. "It's without question the best venue for hundreds of miles around within North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee. I'm grateful we can do our rowing events there."
To support the growing sport, a local tourism agency invested $63,000 in 2020 to install an additional floating dock and buoys needed for competitive tournaments at Oak Hollow Lake, Visit High Point President Melody Burnett said.
"We want to make sure that the lake is easy to accommodate," Burnett said.
This will be the third year the event is held at Oak Hollow. Because of COVID-19 restrictions in 2020-21, the championships were limited to 150 boats to ensure everyone was well spaced out in the park, Kininmonth said. With gathering restrictions relaxed, race organizers expect close to a 50% boost in participation, Burnett said, adding that registration went from 220 to 315 boats in the last month.
Regatta officials are preparing for about 800 rowers to bring with them thousands of supporters for an estimated economic impact of close to $1 million.
"We love to walk up the driveway at Oak Hollow Festival Park and see the variety of license tags where we know they are driving from our neighboring states," Burnett said. "The event generates more than 1,800 room nights in our area hotels."
Kininmonth expects the rowing championships to attract nearly 4,000 people to Festival Park.
"This level of participation will make this year's event the largest rowing event ever held in North Carolina," Kininmonth said, adding that rowers will travel from Virginia, Georgia, Tennessee, South Carolina and Pennsylvania.
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