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Sixth annual IUPUI Regatta set to make waves on downtown canal

Regatta Race along the downtown canal, Saturday, September 21, 2013.

Regatta Race along the downtown canal, Saturday, September 21, 2013.


INDIANAPOLIS — Ready, set, row. The IUPUI Regatta will make its sixth annual splash Sept. 20 on the downtown Indianapolis Central Canal, drawing a record number of canoe paddlers and an audience expected to outnumber last year’s crowd, estimated at more than 5,000.

 A record 150 teams, with 700 IUPUI student, faculty, staff and alumni paddlers, will compete in the regatta, which is managed by the IUPUI Student Organization for Alumni Relations and the IUPUI Alumni Council.

“It’s been exciting to work with 22 other student leaders in planning this great campus event,” said Elizabeth Alexander, executive director of the 2014 Regatta Steering Committee. “I have enjoyed seeing the regatta grow as our campus grows in both size and prominence; it has fast become a tradition. It’s gratifying to experience IUPUI and the Indianapolis community come together for an event using a great community asset: the downtown canal.”

Called Indianapolis’ premier canal event, the IUPUI Regatta starts at Fairbanks Hall at the north end of the canal at 11th Street and continues down to the Walnut Street basin — the location of the USS Indianapolis monument — and back to complete a full half-mile race. By the time the regatta ends, the paddlers will have covered a combined distance of 80 miles.

Race day will cap a full week of regatta-themed events, a celebration that began Sept. 15. Proceeds from the regatta support an Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis student scholarship.

 The regatta has become a signature IUPUI tradition, Chancellor Charles R. Bantz said. “Today, the IUPUI Regatta is a tradition distinctively our own, one that brings campus and community together, a highlight of the campus calendar and a point of pride for the city.”

 An opening ceremony takes place at 10 a.m. Sept. 20, and three teams — men’s, women’s and coed — will be crowned champions at an awards ceremony at 5:30 p.m. In between will be 15 preliminary heats, music, entertainment, food and a cardboard boat regatta in which 10 student organizations launch their cardboard crafts to see whose vessel reigns supreme.

 Herff Jones sponsors the IUPUI Regatta.