Tech Concrete Canoe Team Readies For Nationals
Tech’s concrete canoe team leaves Rapid City at 5 p.m. Wednesday, June 19, for the concrete canoe national championships in Madison, Wis. The team will practice racing one last time at 7 p.m. today (Tuesday, June 18), at Canyon Lake in Rapid City.
The three-day national championship runs from Friday, June 21, through Monday, June 24. The Tech team will compete and race in the competition with its canoe named “B;ue Flame.” Tech will compete against 25 teams from universities with the best engineering programs in the country. The team’s concrete canoe will be judged on appearance, weight, presentation, and races in men’s sprint and endurance, women’s sprint and endurance, and co-ed.
“We’re excited about our chances this year,” team co-chair Patrick Schwickerath said. Schwickerath is a Civil and Environmental Engineering major from Newton, Iowa. “We’ve got a good canoe, a solid team and a lot of experience.”
The Tech team qualified for nationals by taking overall first place at the 2002 American Society of Civil Engineers Rocky Mountain Region Conference held in April in Laramie, Wyo. Tech has won regionals 13 of the past 15 years. The team finished fifth in last year’s national championship.
The Tech team designed and built the canoe from scratch, building on the successes and failures of past teams.
“Designing a canoe made mostly of concrete is not much different then the everyday challenges these students will face as the future designers and builders of our infrastructure,” H. Gerard Schwartz, Jr. president of the American Society of Civil Engineers, an event sponsor, said. “Civil engineers are continually tasked with the responsibility of making the impossible possible for the betterment of society.”
Far from the floating bathtubs you might envision, canoes competing at the national level typically resemble Fiberglas racing canoes and boast sophisticated designs aimed at achieving the best combination of speed and maneuverability. Many of the canoes are lighter than those constructed of traditional materials and feature walls only ¼-inch thick.
“When you consider that students have been competing at the national level for only 15 years, it’s amazing how they have pushed the technology envelope to achieve designs with such impressive speed and maneuverability,” Mike Shydlowski, president and chief executive officer of Master Builders, another sponsor, said. “These talented, young competitors prove year after year that concrete is indeed a versatile and durable building material.”
For information about the competition, contact Norida Torriente at (202) 326-5129 or on her cell phone at (202) 253-5058. Visit the competition web site at www.cae.wisc.edu/~asce150.
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