The ducks of the downtown Canal had company on Saturday as IUPUI students paddled a half-mile stretch of the murky water for the fifth annual Regatta—a canoe race among student organizations and school departments.
After a week of Regatta activities on campus, the first eight teams finally idled at the north end of the canal. Some rowers hollered at friends who gawked alongside the six-foot-deep starting point. Others nervously awaited the most important canoe race of their lives (or, for some, the only canoe race of their lives). A little after 11 a.m., the speakers bellowed a first beat, the crowd roared, and paddles entered the water. The first of 14 heats had begun.
Students were hyped. Speedo-wearing male IUPUI swimmers danced to a Vogue-like play list, both in the water and on the grass. Tutu-wearing sorority girls nibbled on Sno Cones in circles. Dogs of all sizes (some small enough to fit in your palm, and others big enough to ride) led their owners through the maze of tents.
As students, staff, faculty, and alumni navigated their canoes south, past buildings and trees, friends ran alongside for moral support. “You got it!” they screamed. Rowers squealed whenever bumping into the concrete side of the canal. Parents waved wildly at their kids, and were usually ignored.
Once at the USS Indianapolis Basin, each set of rowers was replaced by teammates for the final stretch back to Fairbanks Hall, where they were welcomed with cheers. Among all coed teams, the Education Student Advisory Council dominated the canal with an 8:45-minute race time. The fastest men's team, Central Indiana Chapter IUAA, finished in just over 7:22 minutes. The top-finishing women, Dental School's Golden Crown, came in at nearly 9:28.
Most everyone can agree it was a good time. And perfect weather. Erin Hurrle, a junior at IUPUI studying public relations, was rooting for no specific team, but wanted to see what all the Regatta fuss was about. She was impressed. “It was a nice way to spend a Saturday afternoon in Indy,” says Hurrle. “I was surprised at the amount of people there. It seemed like there was a mix of not just IUPUI students, but people of the Indy community.”
Yeah, one could say the Regatta this fall was pretty dope—at least, dope enough to help us forget that IUPUI doesn’t have a football team.
Photo by Jennifer Burnham