75
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      Concrete canoe races test engineering students' skills

      Students from colleges throughout the Southeast tested whether their concrete boats would sink or swim Friday at the American Society of Civil Engineers' Regional Conference on Lake Murray.


      LEXINGTON, SC (WACH) -- Students from colleges throughout the Southeast tested whether their concrete boats would sink or swim Friday at the American Society of Civil Engineers' Regional Conference on Lake Murray.


      Eight schools, eight concrete canoes and a whole lot of engineering students faced each other Friday, putting their engineering skills to the test as they hoped to sink the competition with the fastest, most buoyant canoe designs.


      "It's a lot of material science -- so a lot of understanding the properties of concrete and the structural mechanics behind it," said Sally Bartelmo with the American Society of Civil Engineers.


      To win the students are judged by a paper and presentation about the project, the composition of their canoe, its paint job, their rowing skills, and of course, whether that boat can stay afloat.


      "Last year one broke and then another one sunk in the water," said Bartelmo.


      The University of South Carolina was not worried about their 350 pound canoe design.


      "We haven't tested it out yet, but we're pretty confident it's going to float," said Jeremy Vanwyk, a civil engineering major at USC.


      USC students even kept calm when a piece broke off of their canoe as they put it in the water.


      "It's not broken," said one of the student engineers slyly. "No, this is like for the water to drain out. It is part of the design."


      The competition is national, but it wraps up at the southeast regional level this weekend with first, second and third place prizes given out for best canoe.

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