Army ladies dragon boat team preps for May 5 showdown
NAHA PORT, Japan— You know their arms and sides are screaming in agony, and you see the sweat glistening on 32 women’s brows as they exit the real dragon boat for the first time this season but their faces say it all, we are a team and ready to win. On Apr. 20th the U.S. Army Women’s Dragon Boat team gathered at Naha Port to participate in one of two practices they will have prior to race day, scheduled for May 5th in the Naha Port.
“It’s a totally different experience, the whole set-up is different, the way you have to row in the water, nothing could prepare you for that but I think we will do awesome and I think we have a really good team,” said Paulette Johnson, a rookie rower on the team.
According to Marianne Youngs, the Army Ladies Dragon Boat Head Coach for 2013, her team consists of 34 Ladies and two coaches. They have been practicing three days a week, for an hour and a half a day for three months. Her team is unique in that she opened up the team to all services with 75% relating to military spouses and 25% are service members.
When asked about their first practice in an actual dragon boat which weighs 2.5 tons Youngs said, “It was an eye opener on to how difficult it really is to be on the boat.”
This is the first year that Youngs coached the team and when asked about how she felt rowing on last year’s team she said, “I was terrified, I cried and thought I could not do this but I did. I was in tears after the first boat practice, but you come thru it; you think you can’t do it but you can.”
Having the experience of rowing on last year’s team helped prepare her to take the helm as the head coach for the 2013 team. Youngs stated her goals for this year’s team was to keep it fun at practices, with team building activities, with an overall goal to win their heat on race day.
On May 5th the U.S. Army Ladies Team will compete against the Kadena Shoguns and Navy Women’s Team at Naha Port. So come join the fun and help support all these amazing women.