TAMPA,FL (WFLA) – Team USA came calling and now two Tampa Bay area teens will be headed to Canada next month to compete in the World Dragon Boat Racing Championships. “I am so excited and honored to be a part of the worlds this year and I don’t even know how to describe it. I mean people from all over the country are wanting to do this and I got a spot and I’m just so thankful for it,” said 16 year old Natalee Hoover.
“I love Dragon Boat Racing. I love it a lot. My favorite part about racing is definitely the race itself. When you get on the water with the other teams there. When you are starting and there are other teams in front of you and water going everywhere. When you got the adrenaline and there are people yelling and shouting and you are giving the best you can, said 14 year old Samantha Norstrem.
“Every day they are training a little harder and a little faster. Smiling more getting giddy. I think they are going to get there and get on the water look left and right and see all those other countries lined up next to them and explode with power. I’m really looking forward to them competing,” said Samantha’s father and coach Ed Norstrem, coach of the Leviathans Dragon Boat racing team out of Apollo Beach.
The two teens will compete on their respective age group teams against up to 4,000 people from more than 20 countries and they won’t get to practice with their teammates before meeting them in Welland, Ontario, Canada next month. “I’m just so excited. I know when we get there it’s going to be chaos and I’m going to be able to feed off that chaos to paddle harder and hopefully bring back a medal or something,” Natalee said.
“I am beyond pumped. I can’t wait to get in Canada to meet my team. To paddle as a team and to hopefully bring back at least a gold. I’m aiming for the gold,” Samantha said smiling. The World Dragon Boat Racing Championships run August 19 – 23.