Published: Wednesday, July 16, 2014 at 12:08 p.m.
SARASOTA – International rowing officials confirmed Wednesday that the 2017 World Rowing Championships will be held in Southwest Florida in early fall, pushed back somewhat from the initial target to avoid hurricanes and accommodate the athletes.
More than 42,000 rowers, coaches and support staff from across the globe will travel to Southwest Florida for racing days scheduled from Sept. 24 to Oct. 1 at Nathan Benderson Park in 2017.
An opening ceremony is scheduled for Sept. 23, said Paul Blackketter, chief operating officer of the Suncoast Aquatic Nature Center Associates, the nonprofit group in charge of operations at the rowing park.
The dates were determined recently by the International Federation of Rowing Associations Congress, or FISA, the governing body for international rowing.
Blackketter spent the weekend in Lucerne, Switzerland, working with FISA officials on setting dates.
Traditionally, the championship is in July or August, but because of weather concerns and hotel availability, the date for the 2017 event was pushed back to the early fall.
“It was important for us to find that sweet spot,” Blackketter said. “We wanted the weather to be calm and cool and there be no threat of hurricanes, but also not conflict with athletes’ training schedules.”
The event will fall just before the start of Sarasota-Bradenton’s high tourism season, where part-time residents from northern states and Canada flock to the area during the winter months.
Hotel room availability is often scarce during that time.
READ MORE : Dates Set For World Rowing Champiionships