Youth rowers converge for Salt Watta Regatta

More than 150 youth rowers from across the region recently joined together for the Salt Watta Regatta, hosted by Bainbridge Island Rowing.

The regatta provided the first taste of spring racing for many of the 56 novice and 44 varsity rowers on BI’s team that competed against athletes from Clam Island, Vashon Island Rowing Club, and Olympia Area Rowing.

“Many youth sports are in the process of rebuilding their teams after years of pandemic closures and cancellations, and our local rowing teams are no exception,” BIR novice girls coach Sue Entress said.

“In 2020, Bainbridge Island Rowing managed to temporarily continue scaled-back programs on a borrowed fleet of privately owned single shells [one-person boats],” Entress said. “We were thrilled to welcome over 100 enthusiastic youth athletes into our junior program this spring and finally giving those crews the opportunity to race other local teams really felt fantastic, and the kids loved being back in big boats.”

The races made use of nearly the full length of Eagle Harbor, with 1500-meter time trials running single-file from the inner harbor out to Pritchard Point. Crews were then seeded by their finish times and placed in heats for 1000-meter side-by-side races back toward City Dock with families and friends cheering for rowers from the shore.

BIR is raising funds to complete a rowing center at Waterfront Park, with the goal of providing affordable regatta opportunities to adult and youth rowers from throughout the West Sound region.