Three NBP Paddling Program Teams Advance To World Competition


NBP Survivors In Sync and NBP Dragons teams take two overall gold medals and an overall silver to advance from national club-crew championship; provisional world berths are soon to be officially confirmed. All three NBP teams won medals in every one of their individual distance events.


NOTE: Photos and interview opportunities available. Also note a correction from the Monday media advisory, which placed the all-cancer boat under the NBP Survivors In Sync umbrella; the team is part of the NBP Dragons community team.

Contact: Douglas E. Jessmer, media and communications manager, 941-374-8492,

SARASOTA-BRADENTON, Fla.: Three teams in the Nathan Benderson Park paddling program are expected to represent the United States in world competition on their home water in mid-2022.
The NBP Survivors In Sync breast-cancer-survivor paddlers team and the NBP Dragons community team medaled at the U.S. Dragon Boat Federation (USDBF) Club Crew National Championships this past weekend. Their national championship wins landed provisional berths for the three crews in the International Dragon Boat Federation (IDBF) Club Crew World Championships in July 2022.
All the berths from over the weekend are provisional, pending a final USDBF review, which next week should confirm the progression to the world championships.
“We applaud the performance of these wonderful paddlers at Nathan Benderson Park, who have been working hard to train and prepare for this event under the direction of Coach Angela Long,” said Stephen V. Rodriguez, the interim CEO and president of the park’s nonprofit operator, Suncoast Aquatic Nature Center Associates. “Now, we have 9 months to prepare for the IDBF Club Crew World Championships, and as SANCA will be working hard to welcome the world, our paddlers will be working hard to compete on the world stage.”
The world championships will also be held at Nathan Benderson Park. Teams across the southeast were congratulated on their berths by the Southeastern Regional Dragon Boat Assn., including the NBP teams.
“Getting three berths to the Club Crew World Championships means the world to our team,” NBP Paddling Program Coach Angela Long said. “It gives us an opportunity to represent our NBP on a worldwide level and it gives our entire program the ultimate goal to train for in the coming months.”
Once the berths are confirmed, NBP Survivors In Sync, a team of breast-cancer survivors, will represent the nation in the breast cancer paddlers standard boat competition. The NBP Dragons community team will represent the country in short boats in both the all-cancer paddlers division and the Senior B mixed boat.
The Senior B category is for ages 50 and older. Standard boats carry 20 paddlers and are more than 40 feet long, while short boats carry half the number of paddlers. Both also have a drummer in the front and a steer oarsman in the back.
The three teams didn’t have far to go to earn their medals this past weekend, and the world club crew championships next year will require just as convenient a drive to NBP. The medal counts broke down this way:
— The NBP Dragons all-cancer paddlers team took an overall gold after their mixed small boat won three golds in all three distances. Mixed boats are men and women paddling together.
— NBP Survivors in Sync took the overall gold medal in the breast-cancer paddler category. The “SISters” standard boat also took gold medals in each of the three distances — 200m, 500m and 2000m oval.
— The NBP Dragons Senior B mixed small boat earned an overall silver, after earning silvers in the 200m and 500m and a bronze in the 2000m oval races. The Senior B category is for ages 50 and older.
All of NBP’s paddlers train together and take on their names and categories for competition, and all train under Long and a cadre of volunteer assistant coaches.
“The results from the USDBF Club Crew National Championships is an example of how hosting events of this type goes well beyond economic impact,” Rodriguez said. “Outside of exposing many new visitors to Nathan Benderson Park and our community, we provided an opportunity and home-course advantage for our resident paddlers to be national champions and have the opportunity to show their metal at the world championships next year.”

— NBP —

About SANCA at Nathan Benderson Park
Suncoast Aquatic Nature Center Associates Inc. (SANCA) is a not-for-profit 501c3 business created to manage Nathan Benderson Park (NBP), a community/public asset and world-class, multi-use sports venue. Our mission is to improve the quality of life for our community and be an economic generator for our region. SANCA’s primary purpose is to develop and promote NBP as a world-class event center, team training site and Sarasota County park, while providing outreach programs through recreation, safety training, education and volunteering as a service to our community. For more information, go to

aerial shot of Nathan Benderson Park