March 6, 2023
SARASOTA, FL—Rowing News Magazine named Nathan Benderson Park the top rowing venue in North America.
“We’re overjoyed that Nathan Benderson Park (NBP) rowing facility has received this distinguished designation. As one of Sarasota County Board of County Commissioners’ strategic priorities, the county strives to provide residents and visitors with state-of-the-art athletic facilities, and NBP is nothing short of world-class,” said Nicole Rissler, director of Sarasota County Parks, Recreation and Natural Resources. “Our park has been home to a variety of local, state, national and international rowing and paddle events. And in partnership with the Nathan Benderson Park Conservancy, we look forward to the expansion of park amenities and welcoming even more events.”
“We are thrilled with this recognition,” said Bruce C. Patneaude, chief operating officer of Nathan Benderson Park. “We take great pride in our course and always look forward to welcoming rowers from across the world to train and compete.”
Owned by Sarasota County and operated by NBPC, the course sits on a 400-acre lake within the 600-acre park and includes nine 2,000 meter racing lanes, straight shorelines, coaching lanes, starting huts and a finish tower.
The park has hosted regattas since 2009 and welcomes training teams from December through June. Many notable regattas have been held at the park including the 2017 World Rowing Championships, 2018 World Masters Regatta, three NCAA Women’s Rowing Championships, 2019 World Under 23 Championships, and numerous state and local rowing regattas.
This year, the park will host USRowing Youth Nationals, June 8-11, 2023; the Florida Intercollegiate Rowing Association championships March 30-April 1, 2023; and the Florida Rowing Scholastic Association’s Sculling and Sweep Championships, April 14-16, 2023 and April 28-30, 2023, respectively.
“Not only do we have a world-class course, but we strive to provide a world-class regatta experience for athletes, coaches, organizers and spectators,” says Patneaude. “There is ample spectating along the shoreline and hundreds of volunteers who work hard to ensure regattas run smoothly.”
In the coming years, a state-of-the-art boathouse will be built as part of a multi-sport indoor complex on the park’s Regatta Island.
In addition to the rowing course, NBP is a community park, owned by Sarasota County, that welcomes thousands of visitors 365 days a year. The park offers a 3.4 mile walking, jogging and cycling path, the Frank Balducci playground, onshore fishing and rental space. The park also hosts dozens of runs and walks for community organizations throughout the year.