Rowing regatta returns this weekend after 9 years

Preparations are underway here at Langley Pond for the first time in nine years for a rowing regatta.
Published: Mar. 9, 2023 at 6:08 PM EST
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Preparations are underway here at Langley Pond for the first time in nine years for a rowing regatta.

Also happening right now, Aiken County is getting ready to welcome dozens of boaters to Langley Pond for the Augusta Invitational Regatta this weekend. Officials already closed the pond to the public ahead of the competition.

We got a closer look at what to expect Saturday.

From buoys to racing shells, Thursday has been all about preparations for what is to come after a nine-year pause. While the invitational was expecting to see 13 teams, one coach says the four that are coming is a perfect start for growth.

Brad Holdren, Augusta rowing coach, says, “Saturday is going to be a bit of a small day. We were hoping for 12 or 13 teams and we ended up with only four teams.”

After a nine-year pause, the turnout did not come as a shock.

“That’s because we’ve been gone. We’re just not on people’s regular schedules yet,” Holdren says.

Saturday is set to change that.

“Saturday will help. You know, getting people back here on an annual basis, we’re going to have probably 250 kids here. We have a small team in Augusta, and then we have tristar, Asheville youth, and Charlotte youth, all from different areas of North Carolina this time,” Holdren says.

He says it’s the perfect kickstart for future growth.

“The growth potential, we could have a rowing club in North Augusta. We could have a rowing club here on Langley Pond in addition to the Augusta rowing club. We could start a rowing club up in Columbia County. The area is ripe for growth,” he says.

Thursday an entirely new racing course was installed.

Holdren says, “We had to install a brand new race course. And that takes a lot of time and energy from people who know what they’re doing. The race course, each line of the race course has 2000 buoys that are supporting a stainless steel cable that it’s all connected so that when you’re out on the course, it looks like swimming pool lanes.”

And with construction turning the pond into a top course, he says future growth with more teams will come.

“This could become the epicenter of the sport for the whole southeast region. This course is one of the top three rowing courses in the southeast region now, and it’s the best one for nearly 400 miles,” Holdren says.