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Students Make a Splash at 34th Roth Regatta

Roth regatta 2023 featured
Roth regatta 2023 featured
Clubs, organizations and administrative offices raced across the 200-yard Roth Pond in homemade cardboard boats constructed of only cardboard, duct tape, spray paint and string. Photos by John Griffin.

Overcast skies and a light breeze provided optimal sailing conditions for the 34th annual Roth Regatta on April 28, which drew an estimated 5,000 students and community members to the shores of Roth Pond.

A Stony Brook University tradition introduced in 1989, the Roth Regatta takes place annually on the last Friday of April. Teams representing clubs, organizations and administrative offices raced across the 200-yard Roth Pond in homemade cardboard boats constructed of only cardboard, duct tape, spray paint and string.

Boats sailed under the theme, “Fairytale: This is Our Swamp,” and competed in speed competitions for the Speedster (two-person) and Yacht (four-person) categories. In addition to the speed races, a new non-racing showcase division was introduced this year where boats were judged on their ability to put on a show and on boat design, rather than race to the finish.

The races began with this year’s anthem, “Holding Out for a Hero,” by Bonnie Tyler, featured in the Shrek 2 movie, and many of the boats were inspired by the Shrek movies.

Undergraduate Student Government (USG) Spirit and Traditions Coordinator Isaiah Daniel introduced and led the festivities. “Though USG puts on many events throughout the year, the Roth Pond Regatta is really the only event that is dependent on the students to put on a show for fellow students and to have a great time,” Daniel said. “It is such an amazing event, where everyone on campus gets excited, classes are shut down so that students can attend. It just feels like a day for everyone on campus to take a break, take a breather right before finals week, and you just get to let go and just watch the boats race in one of the most iconic places on campus.”

Roth regatta 2023 second
An estimated 5,000 students and community members watched from the shores of Roth Pond.

Assistant Vice President and Dean of Students Ric McClendon said, “It’s the most spirited campus event of the year. It’s a big deal, especially after years of COVID, these kinds of traditional events just bring campus back to life.”

The competition featured an initial round of heats, followed by the semifinals and finals. Teams were able to make adjustments and repairs to the boats before the final rounds.

After nearly four hours of racing, the shark-themed USS Libo Risk was named the overall Yacht division winner and the Scuderia Scooteroni was named winner of the Speedster division.

The biggest tip, according to the Scuderia Scooteroni team, is to “use a lot of duct tape and cardboard, and be really committed to winning.”

The regatta featured music, food and prizes along with the intense competition on the pond, and was live-streamed on YouTube and Facebook by the School of Communication and Journalism and the Stony Brook Media Group.

View a photo gallery from the Roth Regatta:

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