DELAND, Fla. – After a two-week layoff, the Stetson University rowing team will get back on the water this weekend for the FIRA Regatta in Sarasota, Fla. This year the Hatters will be racing in 17 events over the course of the two day event, starting Saturday, Apr. 5 and wrapping up on Sunday.
The FIRA or Florida Intercollegiate Rowing Association is made up of a group of colleges from around the Sunshine State, including Rollins, FIT, Tampa, Jacksonville, Florida, USF, Florida State, Nova Southeastern and out of state guest Georgia Tech.
“The racing will be fast for everyone and we are looking to come in with all of our athletes ready to do their best,” said head coach Mark Wilson. “We have made some changes in our Varsity and Second Varsity 8 for this week and practice has gone really well, so I feel that we have more speed than we did two weeks ago.”
The Hatters will be using the FIRA races as preparation for the MAAC conference championships, which takes place later this month. Stetson will see conference rival Jacksonville on the waters this weekend, who it will be looking to defeat in competition for the first time this season.
“Our goal in the Varsity 8 is to be much closer in time to JU,” Wilson said. “We will see fast boats from Nova (Southeastern) as well, but they are not in our conference, so JU is the measuring stick for the V8.”
Wilson thinks his Varsity 4 boat has the best shot to bring home a medal following (delete space) competition at this year’s event .
The 2014 FIRA Regatta is set to take place at Nathan Benderson Rowing Park in Sarasota. Wilson and his team will leave DeLand on Friday in time to get some warm-ups in on the course. Racing begins at 3 p.m., Saturday, with Stetson’s final heat on the first day to take place at 3:30 p.m.
For live race results, fans can go to www.firarowing.org or sign up for Hat-Alerts, the athletic department’s official text messaging system for match updates.