Langley Pond

Langley Pond Park

USRowing Southeast Masters Championships draw hundreds to Langley Pond Park

Aiken County hosted the USRowing Southeast Masters Championships at Langley Pond Park this weekend.

Despite fears of rain earlier this week, the two-day regatta went off without a hitch with warm and sunny weather.

“Aiken County Parks and Rec does a phenomenal job getting the venue ready and helping us make sure everything goes well,” said Augusta Rowing Club President Megan Buckalew. “And it’s just nice to still see rowing in the area.”

This regatta has been held at Langley Pond for over 20 years, Buckalew said.

Spectators came to cheer on rowers from the banks of Langley Pond throughout the weekend. People either sat on the grass across from the starting line or hiked through the forest to sit in the shade and watch the boats cross the finish line.

Twenty-six clubs traveled from various states to compete in the championship with over 230 rowers competing in total.

“A lot of these crews are from the Southeast, like all the way from Louisiana up to Asheville (and) Charlotte, North Carolina,” Buckalew said. “They’ve been coming here for years, and they love it just because it’s a well-run regatta.”

The first day of the event featured the first 30 rowing events out of 52.

The Atlanta, Georgia club was the big winner of the day, winning 11 of the events including the Men’s Masters 8+, Women’s Masters 4+ A-C and the Men’s Masters 2.

The rowing clubs from Sarasota County, Florida and Nashville, Tennessee also won first place in four events each on Saturday.

The Sarasota Country club continued its momentum on Sunday with five first place wins, including wins in the Women’s Masters 2x F-H, the Mixed Masters 4x F-G and the Women’s Masters 4x E-K.

The New Orleans, Louisiana club, Lake Purdy, Alabama club and Atlanta club also won three events each.

Atlanta finished the championships with first place wins in 14 of the events while Sarasota County finished with nine.

The Sarasota County Rowing Club practiced almost every day in the inter-coastal waterways of Florida to prepare for this weekend, Ruth Shoch said.

“Coming here, we’ve got lots of other very competitive teams,” she said. “So, it’s fun to get pushed, and everybody goes faster when you have that.”

The coach from the Sarasota club drove two days to bring the boats to Aiken and even stopped to help transport another Florida club’s boats, Shoch said.

“That’s a cool thing about rowing, there’s just such camaraderie and teamwork,” she said. “And everybody’s nice to each other. It’s a great place to make friends.”

The teams who won first place at Langley Park will go on to compete in the USRowing Master’s Nationals.