County facility has hosted numerous regattas over the years
Rowing News magazine has named Sarasota County’s Nathan Benderson Park (NBP) the top rowing venue in North America, the Benderson Park Conservancy has announced.
Formerly known as the Suncoast Aquatic Nature Center Associates (SANCA), the Conservancy is the nonprofit that manages the park for Sarasota County Government.
“We’re overjoyed that Nathan Benderson Park (NBP) rowing facility has received this distinguished designation,” Nicole Rissler, director of the county’s Parks, Recreation and Natural Resources Department, said in the release. “As one of Sarasota County Board of County Commissioners’ strategic priorities, the county strives to provide residents and visitors with state-of-the-art athletic facilities, and NBP is nothing short of world-class,” Rissler added in the release.
“Our park has been home to a variety of local, state, national and international rowing and paddle events,” she continued in the release. “And in partnership with the Nathan Benderson Park Conservancy, we look forward to the expansion of park amenities and welcoming even more events.”
“We are thrilled with this recognition,” said Bruce C. Patneaude, chief operating officer of the Conservancy, in the release. “We take great pride in our course and always look forward to welcoming rowers from across the world to train and compete.”
The course, which sits on a 400-acre lake within the 600-acre park, includes nine 2,000-meter racing lanes, straight shorelines, coaching lanes, starting huts and a finish tower, the release points out.
The park has hosted regattas since 2009, and it welcomes training teams from December through June, the release adds. “Many notable regattas have been held at the park,” the release notes, including the 2017 World Rowing Championships, the 2018 World Masters Regatta, three NCAA Women’s Rowing Championships, 2019 World Under 23 Championships, and numerous state and local rowing regattas.
This year, the park will host the USRowing Youth Nationals from June 8-11; the Florida Intercollegiate Rowing Association championships, March 30 to April 1; and the Florida Rowing Scholastic Association’s Sculling and Sweep Championships, April 14-16 and April 28-30, respectively, the release says.
“Not only do we have a world-class course, but we strive to provide a world-class regatta experience for athletes, coaches, organizers and spectators,” Patneaude of the Conservancy added in the release. “There is ample spectating along the shoreline and hundreds of volunteers who work hard to ensure regattas run smoothly.”
In addition to serving as home to the rowing course, Benderson Park is a community park that welcomes thousands of visitors 365 days a year, the release points out. The facility offers a 3.4-mile walking, jogging and cycling path; the Frank Balducci playground; onshore fishing; and rental space, the release notes. “The park also hosts dozens of runs and walks for community organizations throughout the year.”