PNRA Announces 2016 Mercer Lake Regatta Schedule

For Immediate Release

February 25, 2016

West Windsor, NJ

In 2016, National Champions will be crowned, Olympians and Paralympians will be made and thousands of athletes will have a chance to test their ability to row at Mercer Lake in Mercer County Park. The Princeton National Rowing Association (“PNRA”) will host 10 major events including two national championships, Olympic/Paralympic/World Championship trials, and several regional and conference championships on Mercer Lake this year.  The Mercer County Park rowing venue has been characterized as “arguably one of the best regatta courses in the country” by USRowing.  The fairness of the course and the level of regattas bring people from around the country to compete and watch rowing competition.  These events provide over $10 million of economic impact to the region each year according to studies performed by the Princeton Regional Chamber of Commerce and PNRA.

“PNRA has worked hard to develop a race course and overall regatta experience that is nationally recognized as being one of the best. It’s exciting to be the host venue for so many prominent events this spring” stated Events Manager, Hilary Gehman.  “The Mercer County Park facilities and the great volunteers in the area have allowed us to build this reputation.”

2016 marks the third year that PNRA has hosted the Intercollegiate Rowing Association (IRA) National Championship Regatta.  The IRA scheduled for June 3-5, 2016, is the National Championship for the collegiate open men, lightweight men and lightweight women which are not NCAA championship sports.  First raced in 1870, the IRA National Championship came into its current form in 1895 and figures prominently in the bestselling book “Boys In The Boat.” Last year saw the University of Washington edging out California-Berkeley and Princeton for the open men’s championship with Cornell and Stanford taking the lightweight men’s and lightweight women’s National Championships respectively.

USRowing’s Youth National Championship will take place June 10-12.  This event brings together the top scholastic and club teams from throughout the United States to crown the National Champion in 18 different events.  Last year’s Youth National Championship in Sarasota, FL, featured 163 teams from 39 states.  PNRA’s Mercer Junior Program will work toward improving last year’s second place finish as they compete on their home course.

PNRA’s Mercer Junior Rowing Programs will also be competing in the Mercer Lake Sprints, April 16-17 and the USRowing Mid-Atlantic Junior Championships, May 7-8.  Both of these events are for high school aged athletes representing both club and scholastic programs.  The Mercer Lake Sprints will bring 2,500 athletes from as far away as Georgia and Illinois to compete in the two day event.  New in 2016 is the Sweep Sprint Championship Event. This will be the last event of the regatta on Sunday and will be limited to the top 6 teams. Teams will be selected based on performance in their Women’s Varsity 8, Men’s Varsity 8, Women’s Varsity 4, and Men’s Varsity 4. Each of these 4 boats will race 500 meters in relay style to determine the overall Sweep Sprint Champion.  The Mid-Atlantic Championships will feature approximately 1,500 athletes and serve as the qualifying event for the 2016 USRowing Youth National Championships.

The Knecht Cup scheduled for April 9-10, is one of the largest collegiate regattas in the country. This regatta is a 2 day collegiate regatta that attracts 70 teams from as far away as San Diego, CA, and Florida.  On May 15, the Metro-Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC), Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) and Ivy League will share Mercer Lake for their Conference Championships.  The winners of each of the conference championships will earn a berth at the NCAA Women’s Rowing Championships.

As a U.S.A. Olympic Training Site, PNRA will host 3 sets of trials races to select teams for international competition in 2016.  On April 6-7, PNRA hosts the trials to select the USA Paralympic TA2x team that will compete in Gavarate, Italy, in an attempt to qualify for the 2016 Paralympic regatta in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, September 9-12.  June 20-22 will see the trials for the US Olympic Rowing Team pairs (2-) to determine who will represent the United States in the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, August 6-14.  The teams for the Junior, Under 23 and Senior World Championships will be selected in races scheduled for July 18-22.  The Championship will take place in Rotterdam, Netherlands, August 20-28.

The Mercer Lake race course will also host several smaller dual races between the programs that row out of the Caspersen Rowing Center.  Among these is the Mid-Atlantic Prep League (MAPL) Championship on May 14.

The 2016 calendar is as follows:

April 6-7: US Paralympic TA2X Team Trials

April 9-10: Knecht Cup

April 16-17: Mercer Lake Sprints

May 7-8: USRowing Mid-Atlantic Junior Regionals

May 14: Mid-Atlantic Prep League (MAPL) Championships

May 15: Metro-Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC), Colonial Athletic Association (CAA), and Ivy League conference Championships

June 3-5: Intercollegiate Rowing Association (IRA) National Championships

June 10-12: USRowing Youth National Championships

June 20-22: Olympic Trials II (2- trials)

July 18-22: Junior/U23/Senior World Championship Trials

November 5-6: Collegiate Small Boat Championship

November 12-13: Frostbite and Braxton Regattas

Event sponsorship opportunities are available. Please contact Events Manager Hilary Gehman at or call 609-799-7100 x106 for more information.


About the Princeton National Rowing Association

The Princeton National Rowing Association, a 501(c)3 organization, operates the Finn M.W. Caspersen Rowing Center located on the shores of Mercer Lake, Mercer County Park in West Windsor, New Jersey.  The Princeton National Rowing Association is dedicated to operating a world-class training site for our nation’s elite athletes, providing opportunities for area youth to excel in the sport of rowing and to expand rowing in the area through community-based programs.  PNRA runs the Mercer Junior Rowing Program which provides rowing opportunities for youth from over 30 area schools and the Mercer Masters Rowing Program which provides rowing opportunities for adults.  The center is a home to the USRowing National and Olympic Teams, as well as rowing clubs and schools. PNRA has received generous support from Wells Fargo Investment Advisors Gould Group, JLRacing and Killarney’s Publick House.


For more information, contact Kristopher Grudt, tel: 609-977-1094, or visit