BETHEL, Ohio — A national spotlight shone on Clermont County, as thousands flooded the area for the U.S. national rowing championship, which concluded Sunday.
The competition started July 9, and drew visitors from all over the country.
"I am just so excited to watch the growth of the sport and to watch the enthusiasm and to watch their parents cheering them on and their teams cheering them on," said Elizabeth Corbin Murphy, a fan from Akron, Ohio who attended the event.
Around 1,800 athletes traveled from 23 states, Canada and Australia to compete in the national competition. The Clermont County Convention and Visitors Bureau said the huge influx of visitors for this event gives local hotels, restaurants and stores a lot of business.
"The economic impact is why we do it," said Jeff Blom, president of the Clermont County Convention and Visitors Bureau. "To bring dollars from visitors into our community. For this week the impact is between $2.5 and $3 million."
The ultimate goal for many athletes competing in the U.S. rowing national championships is to secure a spot at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
"It takes a lot of dedication," said Hugh McAdam, senior elite lightweight single division competitor. "Waking up on time everyday, eating right, getting enough sleep, recovering properly. It's more of a lifestyle than it is anything else."
Clermont County won a contract with U.S. Rowing to host the national championships for three years. This means the region will continue to benefit from the economic impact of the event each year through 2021.