Oak Ridge hosts national rowing competitions

(WBIR - Oak Ridge) About 1,500 rowers, their coaches, relatives, and friends spent nearly a week in East Tennessee for the 2014 U.S. Rowing Club National Championships.

Races were held on Melton Hill Lake, a body of water that was made with water athletes in mind.

Terry Holley, executive director for the Oak Ridge Rowing Association, said, "TVA actually dredged this so that it would be a very nice venue for water sports."

Melton Hill Lake has seen its share of U.S. Rowing events over the years. One reason is because the Oak Ridge course is straight, with not a curve in sight.

"If you've got a coxswain, they can pick a straight line in a straight point, which is obviously much faster than having to make any curves. Rowers who are sculling, if they get a good point and they can stay on that point and stay in the middle of their lane they can pick up some real time going through here," Holley said.

Businesses in the area picked up a lot more cash as a result of the influx of people.

Meghan Rhinebolt, assistant general manager for Staybridge Suites, said, "We are a 90-room hotel and we're completely sold out with a 10-mile long waiting list."

Aubrey's Restaurant cook Josh Berry said, "Friday night was extremely busy. We had I think about 75 of them in here at one time between 7:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. and then last night we had over 120 of them in here."

The Oak Ridge Rowing Association is planning to bid on the 2016 U.S. Rowing Club National Championships.

For information on rowing, visit www.usrowing.org.


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