Polytechnic boat team earns spot in upcoming challenge

Team Architekton took the pool by storm during the First Annual Boat Race at the Polytechnic Campus. Their identical outfits, their crisp cardboard vessel and their distinct unison strokes helped them take first place at the event. (Photo by Jessie Wardarski)

Team Architekton took the pool by storm during the First Annual Boat Race at the Polytechnic Campus. Their identical outfits, their crisp cardboard vessel and their distinct unison strokes helped them take first place at the event. (Photo by Jessie Wardarski)

Sailors, Vikings and construction workers were just some of the interesting costumes students wore for the first-ever boat race at the Fitness Center Aquatic Complex at the Polytechnic campus.

Twelve teams composed of students and faculty competed Thursday afternoon for the opportunity to represent the Polytechnic campus in the upcoming Sixth Annual Sun Devil Fitness Cardboard Boat Challenge.

This will be the first year that the Polytechnic campus participates.

During the event, teams playfully “trash-talked” each other as they prepared their boats for the race.

The rules were simple: Design and build a boat made out of cardboard that can hold at least three people and propel the boats using paddles and oars.

The course was a 300-yard pool, and each team had to complete two full, timed laps. Teams were allowed to continue dragging their boat after it fell apart, as long as portions of the boat remained floating.

The event consisted of six heats with each team racing once to determine the fastest overall time.

The first heat of the afternoon began with both teams’ boats almost completely falling apart. Each team dragged their boats the length of the pool for two laps.

Architektons pose with their trophies after taking first place at the First Annual Boat Race at the Polytechnic Campus. (Photo by Jessie  Wardarski)

Architektons pose with their trophies after taking first place at the First Annual Boat Race at the Polytechnic Campus. (Photo by Jessie Wardarski)

Team Barret was the first team to finish a heat with the boat still intact.

Engineering sophomore James Oplinger, a Team Barret member, said his team’s boat had a simple design but was triple-padded to prevent sinking and falling apart.

“It took us nine hours of building, cutting the cardboard and triple-padding the cardboard,” Oplinger said.

Boat designs ranged from just cardboard and tape to more elaborate boats with bright colors and sleek designs.

Jeff Vance, director of the Sun Devil Fitness Complex, said he was very excited about the level of participation and time the teams put into the designs, because the event was announced less than three weeks ago.

“This was an incredible success; we were hoping for at least four boats,” Vance said. “We ended up with 12, and we had a great time in the pool.”

Third place went to Team Barret with a time of 2:24, while Team Engineers Education Enhancement finished as a runner-up with a time of 1:41.

The winner and representative for the Polytechnic campus for the upcoming boat challenge was Team Life Architekton, made up of representatives from a Tempe-based architecture firm. The team took first place with a time of 1:30.

Thomas Brown of Team Life Architekton said the team worked on their boat during work hours, which prolonged the development. He said they designed the boat using 3-D models found on the Internet.

“It’s embarrassing to admit, but we put about 60 hours of work into the building and design,” Brown said.

With the win, Team Life Architekton will now represent the Polytechnic campus against the three other University campuses at the Sixth Annual Sun Devil Fitness Cardboard Boat Challenge on March 24.

Reach the reporter at lzazueta@asu.edu or follow him on Twitter @lorenzozazueta