Freedom Rows at annual Crew Classic help disabled vets
Published - 03/23/17 - 12:05 PM | 6245 views | 1 1 comments | 215 215 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Teams race on Mission Bay at the Crew Classic. / PHOTO BY THOMAS MELVILLE
Teams race on Mission Bay at the Crew Classic. / PHOTO BY THOMAS MELVILLE
One of San Diego’s more popular outdoor events takes to the water again this year in early April.

Making the day even better; the opportunity for disabled veterans and members of the military to partake in the 44th annual San Diego Crew Classic, which hits Mission Bay on Saturday, April 1. The event features military veteran crew teams racing among the more than 4,000 athletes. 

The Freedom Rows program assists disabled veterans competing in adaptive and para-rowing events through guidance from experts and coaches, both of whom have tailored plans to help these veterans get on the water, fall in love with rowing and compete at the highest levels.

Spectators can cheer on these inspirational veteran athletes while eating lunch at food trucks and drinking a beer garden beverage.

As organizers of the event have noted, with the huge veteran population in San Diego and the city’s long military history, it only makes sense that the San Diego Crew Classic host this unique event.

Beach & Bay Press recently caught up with Mary-Carol Madison, director of finance and administration with the San Diego Crew Classic, for a Q&A.

BBP: How has the San Diego Crew Classic grown over the years?

MCM: This is our 44th year, we began in 1973. The San Diego Crew Classic has grown from a one-day three-hour regatta to a two-day regatta with more than 120 races. We have more than 4,000 competitors from 120 clubs participating from throughout the country.

BBP: Approximately how many local high schools/colleges will be entered?

MCM: More than 100 different high schools and colleges are entered. Cathedral Catholic High School has their own team. Other local high schools such as Mission Bay High School compete with San Diego Rowing Club Jrs and ZLAC Jrs. SDSU, USD, and UCSD will all have men’s and women’s teams competing.  

BBP: Given San Diego is a military community, how important was it to extend the invitation to disabled vets and members of the armed forces to participate in this event?

MCM: We are very excited to have Freedom Rows racing at the San Diego Crew Classic again for the third year. Being part of a military town, we offer free admission to anyone with military ID as a thank you for their service. We are very honored to now also sponsor this event.

BBP: Anything else locals and tourists should know about the event?

MCM: Come to Crown Point Shores on April 1 and 2 to enjoy great racing. Friday night there is a pasta party and on Sunday morning we have a brunch catered by Giuseppe's Catering, both in the Champions Pavilion. We are pleased to have the U.S. women’s national rowing team on site that weekend and are sponsoring them at the brunch. Tickets are available online at for all events.

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Brian Dunn
March 30, 2017
Welcome Veterans! See you at the races!

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