CONTACT: GARY GALLUZZO
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0009; fax (319) 384-0024
UI College of Engineering Hosts April 26 Concrete Canoe Contest
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Although it may not be an Olympic sport, concrete canoe
racing will be in the spotlight when the University of Iowa College of Engineering
hosts the 1997 American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Midwest Regional
Concrete Canoe Competition featuring entrants from seven Midwestern universities
at 1 p.m., Saturday, April 26 at the West Overlook of the Coralville Reservoir.
Following a 9 a.m. session in which teams will give technical presentations
and displays on canoe design, the formal competition will begin at about 1
p.m. in five, two-person events: men's sprint; men's long-distance; women's
sprint; women'slong-distance; and coed sprint.
The reward for the winning team is a trip to the ASCE National Competition
in Cleveland, Ohio later this year. But according to Marc Nelson, ASCE student
chapter president and canoe competition chair, the contest is about much more
"The Concrete Canoe Competition is a really fun event in which we, as
young engineers, get to use a lot of what we've learned in class, as well
as our own ideas, to design the lightest and fastest canoe out of a typically
non-buoyant material," he says. "It takes a great deal of time to
research different concrete mix designs and canoe shape designs to obtain
a lightweight mix without sacrificing too much strength and to pick a shape
that has good straight-line speed, but is also maneuverable."
"It's definitely a challenge," he says.
Forrest M. Holly, UI professor and chair of civil and environmental engineering,
says that as coordinator in charge of the competition he often receives comments
from people who doubt a concrete canoe can float. His ready response: "Have
you ever been on a steel ship?"
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, North Dakota State, and the University
of North Dakota. The UI won the competition when it hosted the event on the
flood-swollen Coralville Reservoir in 1993.