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Rowers take to Lake Lanier for 2009 Lanier Sprints
Alex Ward leads the University of Georgia Men's Eight team to the dock at the Lanier Sprints event at the Lake Lanier Olympic Venue on Saturday. - photo by Tom Reed | The Times
For complete results from Saturday’s Lanier Sprints, visit
With the sun glimmering on a rising lake, rowers from four states took to the water Saturday for the 2009 Lanier Sprints at the Lake Lanier Olympic Venue.

Crews representing not only the Lake Lanier Rowing Club, but Georgia State University, the University of Georgia, the Charleston Rowing Club, the St. Andrews Rowing Club, the Atlanta Rowing Club along with the Nashville and Asheville rowing clubs competed in 29 races.

“It was a good positive day,” said Lake Lanier Rowing Club head coach Jim Pickens, who also served as the regatta director.
“The weather was warm, beautiful and all the races went off without a hitch.”

Participation in the 2009 Lanier Sprints grew, according to Pickens, by 20 percent from last year.

“They hired me not just to coach, but as a director,” Pickens said. “Someone to put this place on course and make it a world-class facility again.”

And if Saturday was any indication, Pickens is fulfilling his job requirements.

“It’s rare that you get collegiate rowers during the summer,” Pickens said. “We had a great number out here today though so it’s great.”

The rowers involved in Pickens program at the Lanier Rowing Club were pretty great too, placing in 17 of the 29 races including six first-place finishes.

Among the winners were Howard Stranathan, Laura Pickens, Chong Luo, Sharon Heard and Amanda Frye. The Lake Lanier Rowing Club’s Mixed Masters crew also came in first place in their race.

“I’m proud of this venue and I’m proud of those that represent it,” Pickens said. “I just get a kick out of this place.
“I work hard to make it a success so when it is, it’s a good feeling.”

The Lake Lanier Rowing Club has several more events upcoming on its schedule including Learn to Row classes through August, the Southeast Masters Scrimmage on Oct. 24 and the 2nd annual Turkey Burn on Nov. 30.
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