25 Tampa Bay Dragon Boat Paddlers qualify for TEAM USA

25 Tampa Bay Dragon Boat Paddlers qualify for TEAM USA

TAMPA, Fla. – We are pleased to announce the selection of 25 local area paddlers to participate with TeamUSA at this summer’s IDBF World Dragon Boat Championships which take place in Hungary from July 23-27.This more than doubles the number of paddlers selected from Tampa for the previous World Championshipsheld in 2011. “These athletes faced some serious competition from across the country in order to make theteam” said Dave Nelson, Team USA Youth Coach. “Numerous time trials took place locally and inPhiladelphia, where Team USA members will again meet on several weekends prior to the competition to trainunder Bob McNamara, Team USA’s long time head coach”. There are approximately 30 countries competingin the 2013 championships. Competition distances include 200m, 500m, 1000m, and 2000m.

The athletes train and compete out of 3 local clubs in the Tampa bay area; The Tampa Bay Dragon Boat Club,Tampa Bay Paddling Club, and TECO Tan Anou. All three clubs practice regularly on the Hillsborough Riverdown through the Seddon and Garrison Channels in downtown Tampa. Ben Hoover, 17, is the area’syoungest Team USA athlete.

The Tampa Bay Dragon Boat Club, in conjunction with Team Puerto Rico, account for 13 of the area’s TeamUSA athletes. The club was established in 2005 and seen steady growth with the ever increasing popularity ofthe sport. Their premier team, Bladerunners is ranked 63rd out of 779 teams in North America. A campaign isunderway to raise much needed funds to assist athletes with travel expenses related to their trip to Hungary.An upcoming fundraiser, Paddle-A-Thon, will see dozens of fellow paddlers take to the waters of Tampa Bay intheir dragon boats for a 10 mile non-stop trek around Harbour Island and up the Hillsborough River. Visit theirwebsite to learn more about the team, how you can join this recreational or competitive team sport, or donateto help with travel to Hungary www.tbdbc.com.

The Tampa Bay Paddling Club was organized in 2007 to promote and foster paddling for leisure as well ascompetitive sport in the bay area. The Tampa Bay Paddling Club is the home of the Tampa Bay Everbladesand the SACA Golden Dragons. 6 members from the paddling club will attend the competition in Hungary.Visit their site at www.tampabaypaddlingclub.com.

TECO Energy was one of the first corporate supporters of dragon boating when it was introduced to the area10 years ago with the Tampa Bay International Dragon Boat Races. TECO has produced paddlers that havecompeted for Team USA in each of the last three International Championships and has actively supported theefforts of all Tampa-area athletes chosen for these competitions. TECO Energy congratulates the growingnumber of Florida athletes making their mark on the international dragon boating stage by reaching thepinnacle of this sport. TECO has 5 paddlers competing this summer in Hungary.

There are over 50 athletes between the ages of 17 and 65 from the State of Florida travelling to Hungary thisJuly to compete in the biennial, global competition. Florida also hosts hundreds of winter-weary dragon boatathletes each spring as they kick start their competitive season by attending camps and competitive racesduring March & April. The state is rapidly gaining a reputation as a dragon boat center of excellence,contributing an ever increasing high number of athletes to Team USA.

Release courtesy of Paula Jennings; Pan Am Dragon Boat