Teamwork, dedication and drive are just three words that describe the DCH Dragons, a 120-member dragon boat racing team out of Flushing that practices at the World’s Fair Marina.
Look for the prize-winning team, which comprises members ranging in age from 12 to 60, to compete at the annual Hong Kong Dragon Boat Festival at Flushing Meadows Park on the weekend of Aug. 4 to 5. The team’s major sponsor, DCH, is an auto group which sells in the tri-state area and California.
Junior Coach Randy Ng, 30, of Flushing, who works in marketing, says about 70 percent of the members hail from Queens and about 80 percent are Asian Americans. “We have a lot of engineers and pharmacists,” Ng said.
He got interested in the sport through his father, who was on the team, and started at the age of 16.
There are no requirements to join, but clearly dedication to the sport is number one. “It’s a lifestyle,” Ng said. “You have to work hard and be a team player.”
Outdoor practices on Flushing Bay are held March through October four times a week: Tuesdays and Thursdays at night and weekends during the day. It averages 10 hours a week.
In the winter, members work out in a gym in Corona with weights and a special paddling machine.
Each outdoor practice begins with a weigh-in and pullups. Members are tallied and accurate records kept. Tracking the participants on Tuesday was Irene Hu, 17, of Chinatown, who has been taking the train to the marina for three years to participate. She joined for the exercise and because many of her friends were involved.
Rich Migdulski, 25, of Rego Park works in human resources. This is his third year on the team. “It’s a lot of fun, offers camaraderie and I keep up my physical fitness,” Migdulski said.
Matt Ng, 30, who is no relation to Randy Ng, also joined the team three years ago. “I changed a lot,” Ng said. “I lost 30 pounds and became mentally and physically stronger. It builds your confidence and leadership skills.”
Coach Ng said the team stresses good nutrition and that while competing in Hong Kong they noticed the heavier boats didn’t do as well. “So our members lost an average of 10 to 15 pounds to make the boats lighter,” he added.
The team had 70 members competing in Hong Kong and 100 in Montreal races recently. At Flushing Meadows, DCH will have eight to 10 teams. The Dragons have won the U.S. open division title for the past three years and were champs last year in Flushing Meadows. “We’re tops in the northeast,” Ng said.