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Philadelphia Dragon Boat Association

One of the world’s elite racing teams


Since its beginnings in 1983, Philadelphia’s Dragon Boat racing team, which is made up of amateurs who are working professionals in the Delaware Valley, has become a powerhouse in the sport, earning the right to represent the United States in the last six World Championships.

The team welcomes all athletes who posses upper body strength, a willingness to learn and grow in the sport, and a desire to win. World championships are the goal, so expect a challenge during the five-day-a-week training sessions on the Schuylkill River.

Dragon Boat Racing, a major sport in many Asian countries, is growing in popularity here in the United States.

It stems from an event that occurred more than 2,400 years ago in China, when the poet Qu Yuan, a minister and councilor to the Emperor, was cast into exile as a result of his politically sensitive poems. In an act of desperation and sorrow, Qu Yuan drowned himself. Local fisherman raced to the scene in their long, swift boats, splashing their oars and beating their drums to prevent his body from being despoiled by the fish.

The average age on the Philadelphia Dragon Boat team is currently 34, proving that maturity , experience and hard training can prevail in a sport where intensity, focus and tight synchronization will win races. The team maintains a completely open membership in training, with the starting 20 racers determined by annual single-man trials.

In recent years, women began joining the team for mixed competitions.

Come Prepared

Wear the same clothes you’d wear for regular canoeing. Bring sunscreen and a water bottle. Paddles are available for first -timers.

Don’t Miss

The team hopes to win gold at two events this summer: the Club Crew Championships in Toronto, Canada, and the National Championships in Tampa, Florida.

Outsider’s Tip

A Dragonboat holds 20 paddlers, a drummer and a steersman.

Support the Team

To get more information about the team or to help sponsor efforts to win world championship medals, contact Philadelphia Dragon Boat Association at

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