It’s not an AIA sport, but two Phoenix Union schools raced in the 14th Annual Dragon Boat Festival at Tempe Town Lake, March 25. North, under the direction of teacher Rita Lopez has been doing this for seven years. Maryvale, coached by science teacher Jennifer Cho, joined in the fun this year in the first-ever high school division. Battling a strong headwind and current, Maryvale came in second, a half second ahead of North. Both teams practiced two times prior to racing, and lost to a California team that trains year-round.
In dragon boat racing, you can have up to 20 rowers, 10 on each side, a drummer and a steersman.
“The drummer is at the front of the boat and keeps the pace/beat similar to the heart of the dragon and the steer is in the rear,” Cho said.
The Arizona Dragon Boat Association waived the race fee of $300 to help promote the high school division.
“We are hopeful that the division will grow with PUHSD spearheading,” Lopez said.