Olympic Glory Descends on Sarasota this Year


Olympic Glory Descends on Sarasota this Year

Sarasota, Florida – Most visitors flock to Sarasota this time of year to escape the cold winter, enjoy the beautiful beaches or have some festive fun. While many were counting down to Christmas and singing about five golden rings, athletes at Nathan Benderson Park (NBP) had their sights set on the five Olympic rings. More than 18 top rowers from around the country have been training at NBP since November, and more are arriving in the coming weeks, in the hopes of earning a spot in the Paris 2024 Summer Olympics.

Leading up to the world’s biggest sporting event, Sarasota will take center stage for three prestigious Olympic events: the USRowing Winter Speed Order Regatta, Olympic Selection Camp and the US Olympic Rowing Trials that will decide the team advancing to Paris. With such prestige on the line, this year more than ever, athletes are arriving not weeks but months prior to the events to fine tune their skills on NBP’s world-class course. Top rowers began arriving in October from all over the country, especially from the northeast region, due to Sarasota’s milder weather and the controlled, Olympic-level competition course at NBP.

Ranked the No. 1 rowing destination in North America two years in a row, NBP features a 10-lane, 2000-meter protected competition course with starting docks, adaptable to 500m, 1000m and 1500m distances.

The course features a floating wave attenuator to ensure calm water and a coach’s lane that spans the entire length of the course. Adjacent to the 2000-meter course is a protected practice area with an adaptable number of lanes as long as 1500 meters.

Thanks to the efforts and support of Visit Sarasota, NBP attracts attention from aquatic sports teams and organizations from around world. The area has become an ideal destination for visitors to return each year, benefitting local businesses, shops, restaurants, hotels and area attractions. In fact, many rowers who visit the area for a competition often end up moving here and become permanent residents. They are drawn to the area for the access to world-class aquatics, close proximity to both retail and leisure activities, and the emphasis on quality of life.

“Sarasota has made a remarkable investment in the community,” shared Casey Galvanek, head coach with Sarasota Crew and the men’s lead sweep coach for USRowing, the national governing body for the sport of rowing in the US. “Thanks to this investment, we have been able to bring events of this caliber to the area. The organizations and their athletes receive great support from the community and local businesses, which encourages them to plan multi-year events and keep returning. These teams share their positive experiences with other organizations and the ripple effect is felt far beyond what you would imagine. I’m so grateful to be a part of these efforts locally and on the national scale.”



  • February 14-17, 2024: USRowing Speed Order Regatta
  • March 4-April 1, 2024: Olympic Selection Camp
  • April 2- April 7, 2024: US Olympic Rowing Trials

About the Nathan Benderson Park Conservancy
The Nathan Benderson Park Conservancy is a not-for-profit 501(c)3 business created to manage Nathan Benderson Park, a community/public asset and world-class, multi-use sports venue. Our mission is to improve the quality of life for our community and be an economic generator for our region. The Conservancy’s primary purpose is to develop and promote the park as a world-class event center, team training site and Sarasota County Park, while providing outreach programs through recreation, safety training, education and volunteering as a service to our community. See more at www.nathanbendersonpark.org.

About Sarasota Crew

Founded in 2002, Sarasota Crew is a non-profit organization with a mission to provide elementary, middle, and high school-aged Sarasota County youth with positive, competitive rowing experiences that cultivate high standards of personal integrity and self-esteem, promote teamwork and sportsmanship, and instill a lifelong commitment to a healthful lifestyle and serving the community. It is one of the most well-respected rowing organizations in the country. They have more youth participating with them than any other in the country for good reason! To learn more, visit www.sarasotacrew.com or call 941-966-9791.


aerial shot of Nathan Benderson Park