FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT) — Hundreds of rowers from across the Midwest filled the Saint Joseph River Saturday morning for a day of racing.
G2 Rowing Association hosted Fort Wayne's inaugural Summit City Sprints in the river near Shoaff Park.
"It is the first annual sprint, and it is a full-on regatta," said G2 Board Member Paula Hughes-Schuh. "We have 450 athletes that have come from seven different teams, and they are competing on our rivers."
One of those athletes was Jenna Lusk, a Concordia Lutheran High School rower.
"Here in Fort Wayne and really in the state of Indiana, there are not as many high school rowing teams, and so it’s really cool to just see, and at first kind of feel like you’re not having as much of a community around you," Lusk said. "But then all of a sudden all these people come here from all these different states."
G2 Board Member Chris Hughes was excited to be able to spend so much of his day out on the water.
"People have been kind of trapped in their homes for a long time now, and being able to be out in the river, be out in the sunshine," Hughes said.
"These are athletes. They’re competitors, and so they haven’t had a chance to compete because of the pandemic," Hughes-Schuh said. "And being able to come and do this, they’re happy just to be here."
Lusk saw support from all over.
"It definitely is very encouraging and exciting to see everyone here and hear everyone cheer us on, even people we don’t know," Lusk said.
Hughes is optimistic for the future of Fort Wayne rowing and G2 events.
"I think it’s going to grow, and I think we’re going to see local colleges getting involved," Hughes said.
And Hughes-Schuh has big plans for the future.
"Within the year, we’re going to start fundraising for a formal rowing center that will be housed up on the St. Joe River beside Purdue Fort Wayne and near the Coliseum Bridge," Hughes-Schuh said.
And while Lusk's plans will take her to the collegiate level, she doesn't anticipate leaving Fort Wayne behind for good.
"I plan on rowing with Purdue. That’s a club sport, and so I hope to do that, and I’ll definitely come by whenever I can to help volunteer and help run Fort Wayne’s G2 regattas," Lusk said.
For more information on how to get involved in Fort Wayne's rowing community, visit G2's website.