The primary goal of the Dragonboat Racing Association of Colorado (DRACO) is to promote the sport and culture of dragon boat racing in Colorado. Because opportunities to race in Colorado are extremely limited, pursuit of this goal has naturally led to training teams and individual paddlers to compete not only locally, but also in national and international events.
Below is our “honor roll” of DRACO paddlers who have reached the pinnacle of achievement in dragon boating – selection to a Team USA Crew to compete in the IDBF Dragon Boat World Championships (the dragon boating equivalent of the Olympic Games).
Team USA 2021
Congratulations to Matt Norfleet, who was selected to the Team USA Senior A Open and Mixed crews that would have competed in the Dragon Boat World Championships in Hong Kong this past November, had the event not been canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Awesome achievement!!!
Team USA 2019
Michael J Boyd
Local Paddler Captures Gold in Dragon Boat World Championships
Team USA Senior C Crews Dominate in Thailand
Michael Boyd, Head Coach and Captain of Colorado’s Phantom Dragons / Pink Phantoms dragon boat crew, recently returned from the IDBF Dragon Boat World Championships in Thailand with a handful of gold medals. Boyd raced as a member of the Team USA Senior C Open crew, an elite group of 60+ year old athletes who emerged victorious in every heat they raced in, capturing gold at each distance category (2000-meters, 1000-meters, 500-meters and 200-meters). The crew also set a World Record for Senior C competitors at 1000-meters. The Senior C Mixed and Women’s crews were similarly dominating; the Mixed paddlers won four gold medals, and the Women captured three golds and a bronze.
For dragon boaters, the IDBF Dragon Boat World Championships is the pinnacle event – the equivalent of what the Olympic games represent to more conventional sports. Winning in Thailand was the culmination of a very extensive and competitive tryout and training process. The Senior C Crews’ formal training calendar began with well-attended tryout camps in California (October, 2018) and Florida (January, 2019), followed by a week-long training camp in April for those who were selected to the team. The final two months included “Train & Race” camps in Ottawa (June, 2019) and Long Beach, California (July, 2019) before departing for Thailand in mid-August for several more days of training/acclimation prior to the races.
The stellar performance of the Team USA Senior C crews at the 2019 IDBF World Championships took the international dragon boating community by surprise, as the senior divisions have historically been dominated by crews from Canada. Congratulations to Michael Boyd and the rest of the Team USA Senior C paddlers – IDBF Dragon Boat World Champions!
• Senior C Open 200-Meter Race 1
• Senior C Open 200-Meter Race 2
• Senior C Open 500-Meter Race 1
• Senior C Open 500-Meter Race 2
• Senior C Open 1000-Meter Race 1
• Senior C Open 1000-Meter Race 2
• Senior C Open 2000-Meter Race
A video following the 2019 USA Senior C National Dragon Boat paddlers in their quest for gold at the 2019 IDBF World Dragon Boat Championships in Pattaya Thailand is at this link:
Jolane Fenner competed as a member of the Team USA Senior B Women’s crew in the IDBF World Championships in Thailand, bringing home two bronze medals. An article from the Montrose Press describing her quest to race w/ Team USA can be found at this link:
Dragon Boating on the National Stage
Team USA 2015
Michael J Boyd
Michael J. Boyd, Captain and Head Coach of the local Phantom Dragons team, raced on Team USA’s Senior C Mixed crew in the the 12th IDBF Dragon Boat World Championships in Welland, Ontario in August of 2015. Notably, he is the first paddler from Colorado to ever try out for and/or be selected to race on a World Championship level dragon boat crew. More information concerning his quest to race on Team USA is at this link: Local Paddler strokes for Team USA in Dragon Boat World Championships.