Frogtown Regatta goes on as planned despite algae bloom in Maumee River

TOLEDO, Ohio (13abc Action News) - The waters of the Maumee River may still be green, but that didn't stop competition in the Frogtown Regatta.

"I mean, it was green, but other than that it was pretty good," said Noah Tobin of the Westerville Crew.

The annual boat race brings thousands of athletes and dollars to Toledo every year. But this year's race featured something new, a recreation advisory issued by the Toledo-Lucas County Health Department thanks to a toxic algae bloom in the river.

"It was great conditions, except for the algae, obviously," said Madison Behrman of Anthony Wayne High School's row team. "But the water was really flat and not too much wind."

Those ideal boating conditions were also in favor of the neon green sludge. The unseasonably warm temps combined with nearly calm winds helped fuel the algae.

"I was getting splashed, and I look like I have green paint on me now from it," said Behrman.

Since Thursday health department officials have warned people and pets to avoid contact with the river's water in downtown.

After consulting with the health department, race organizers say they took precautionary measures to make sure athletes stayed safe.

"They just told us to make sure to wash it off if it got on our skin," said Makenna Fentress of the Westerville Crew.

Rinsing stations that resembled portable restrooms on the outside were brought in last minute for athletes to use for rinsing off in case they came in contact with the algae-tainted river water.

The regatta's executive director, Amy Massamore, said athletes used nearly 600 gallons of water to rinse off after races. Fresh water was also made available to competitors on the river.

"We've had water on our flotilla boats all day—our safety boats—just in case anyone went in out in the river," said Massamore. "That [way] we could go out and get them rinsed off as soon as possible [if necessary.]"

It's a unique situation that many athletes tell 13abc they won't soon forget.

“I’ve never seen anything like it," said Behrman.