LA CONNER — At the sound of an air horn, the first wave of boats took off Saturday from beneath the Rainbow Bridge during the Sound Rowers Open Water Rowing and Paddling Club’s first race of the year.

A total of 97 boats made their way from the bridge, through the Swinomish Channel and around a buoy west of Goat Island before returning to the bridge 7 miles later.

Though many of the Sound Rowers races are described as low-key on the club’s website, the range of competitors varies greatly.

“We get everybody from former Olympians in rowing and kayaking all the way down to locals who would like to join a race,” Sound Rowers President Peter Turcan said.

Sound Rowers has been around since the late 1970s, with the first race taking place in 1978.

Since then, the club has expanded its reach throughout the state. Races this year will take place from Olympia and Seattle to Wenatchee and Bellingham.

On Saturday, Evan Jacobs and Tyler Peterson crossed the finish line with a winning time of 50 minutes, 26.8 seconds. The duo holds the course record of 44:59, set in 2009.

— Reporter Leah Allen: 360-416-2149, lallen@skagitpublishing.com, Twitter: @Leah_SVH

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