Waters surrounding Lake Lanier Olympic Park, usually teeming with youth and college rowing crews in March, remain mostly quiet these days. A rowing season in flux due to the coronavirus has left oars hanging in boathouses and silenced coxswains for the second year.
Rowing programs that send crews for spring break training on Lanier are not coming. The John Hunter Regatta, that normally brings more than 1,000 participants and spectators for a double regatta weekend in March, has been called off again.
The American Collegiate Rowing Association season finale in May was moved to Melton Lake in Oak Ridge, TN, breaking a near 12-year tradition of crowning champions on Lanier. ACRA President Cam Brown said the organization would decide early this month whether the 2021 championship will go on.
Despite the loss of revenue from regattas and spring training, officials with the Lake Lanier Rowing Club and Lake Lanier Olympic Park reported financial stability. LLRC President Cliff Ward previously told Lakeside News that “fortunately, and thanks to good financial management over many years, reserve funds have helped Lake Lanier Rowing Club weather the current situation.”
“We hate to have lost some of our larger events,” said LLOP Executive Director Robyn Lynch, “but we’ve picked up some smaller ones.” She added the park met its 2020 revenue goals.
Regatta Central, an online headquarters for posting and registering for regattas, listed a few events in the Southeast this season. Among them were USRowing Olympic qualifiers in Sarasota, FL. in February and the Dogwood Junior Championships in April, and USRowing Southeast Youth Championships and Dogwood Masters Classic in May, all in Oak Ridge, TN.