Brenau interior design major Macy Dwyer of Gainesville, Georgia, has been selected for the 24-member U.S. dragon boat team that will travel to Poznan, Poland, for the 2014 International Canoe Federation World Championships Aug. 28-30.
Dwyer, who at that time will have just started her senior year at Brenau, was one of 11 people from north Georgia to make the U.S. team following tryouts at Lake Lanier earlier this year. She will travel to Philadelphia for training with the full mixed-gender team in July prior to the trip to Poland in late August. At that time she will learn whether she will compete in the 10-person or 20-person crew.
A dragon boat is a large canoe that is ornately decorated to look like the mythical beast from which it gets its name. The sport originated in China nearly 20 centuries ago, and it has become one of the fastest-growing group recreational and team competition sports. Lanier Canoe and Kayak Club will play host to the first-ever Gainesville/Hall Dragon Boat Challenge June 7 – a “for fun” event benefiting Special Olympics with amateur teams from organizations like the local school districts, police and fire departments and businesses. Dwyer and other members of the USA team will serve as coaches for different boats.
“It has not been extremely popular in the United States,” said Dwyer, “but it is really growing fast now. There is a big push on to have the sport sanctioned as an Olympics event.”
Dwyer, who grew up around Lake Lanier, which was the locale for some of the 1996 Olympic Games events, basically considers herself a “sprint kayaker.” But, because fitness requirements are similar for sprint kayakers and dragon boat participants, she was quickly pressed into service.