A new rowing regatta makes its debut this month at Lake Lanier Olympic Park on Saturday, March 26. The John Ferriss Lanier Sprints Regatta, following on the heels of spring training for rowing teams across the country, actually takes the place of the John Hunter Regatta.

“For many years, the John Hunter Regatta offered teams the opportunity to compete on our Olympic course after their time here training,” said John Ferriss, board member and former coach of the Lake Lanier Rowing Club. “That regatta moved to another location, and our board saw the opportunity to create a new event this year.”

He said they hope for a good turnout of collegiate teams who are here for training, but that the youth portion of the competition had already committed to another venue by the time event details for the Gainesville event were determined.

“We got a bit of a late start, but we will be building this event in the years to come,” he said.

From January through the end of March nearly 700 athletes will have journeyed to Lake Lanier Olympic Park for spring training. Drawn to north Georgia because of the relatively warmer weather, teams have come from college clubs including Notre Dame/Men, Ithaca College, US Naval Academy/Men, Thomas Jefferson/Women and others.

Ferriss said he is honored to have the new regatta named for him, but he questioned the naming process.

“The board told me that everyone had unanimously agreed to the name, but both my wife Helena and I are on the board and no one asked us,” he said with a laugh. “So, I guess in reality, it wasn’t unanimous.”

The event is open to the public. For more information, visit lakelanierrowing.org.