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Release: April 10, 2000

NOTE TO EDITORS AND REPORTERS: To reach Lake Macbride beach, take Highway 1 and turn west onto Highway 382 at Solon. Highway 382 leads directly into the park, where signs leading to the beach are posted.

UI College of Engineering Hosts April 22 Concrete Canoe Competition

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- As unlikely as the event may appear, concrete canoe racing will be featured when the University of Iowa College of Engineering hosts the 2000 American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Midwest Regional Concrete Canoe Competition between six Midwestern universities at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, April 22 at the Lake Macbride beach.

The competition will begin with an 8:30 a.m. session in Room W10 of the John Pappajohn Business Administration Building in which teams will give technical presentations and displays on canoe design. The 1:30 p.m. formal competition will include four races with two paddlers: men's sprint, men's long-distance, women's sprint, and women's long-distance. A coed sprint involving four paddlers will be the fifth race.

The reward for the winning team is a trip to the ASCE National Competition June 24-26 at the Colorado School of Mines in Golden, Colo. Kathy Johnson, president of the UI ASCE student chapter hosting the competition, said that the contest is about engineering research, design and construction as much as racing.

"The rules change every year, so we are constantly challenged to change our canoe design and our concrete mix design," she says. "Work starts in the early fall and continues throughout the year. It is always exciting to see what new ideas schools come up with. I'm looking forward to meeting some new people from other schools and to hosting a great competition."

Johnson notes that although some people may doubt a concrete canoe can float, the science underlying concrete canoes is the same as that for conventional boats made of steel.

In addition to the UI team, universities represented in the competition include: the University of Minnesota, Iowa State University, the University of Wisconsin at Platteville, South Dakota State University, and North Dakota State University. The UI consistently places in the top three and won the competition when it hosted the event in 1993.