The Dragon Boat Team

Local Women in the News

Wendy Ceccherelli and Pam Smith-Mentz, Leschi and Madrona residents respectively, are part of the Washington Masters Team traveling to Adelaide, Australia, for an international Dragon Boat Race beginning April 1. Twenty-five members of WAM, age 50 and over, will compete in races, which can range to 2000 meters (races of this length are not held in this country).

Pam says, “I started paddling 12 years ago. My husband and I moved to Seattle, purchasing our first home in the PNW in Madrona, shortly before we were introduced to dragon boating. We were not familiar with dragon boating before seeing them on Lake Washington. We were walking along the waterfront one evening as some paddlers were headed out with Club SAKE at Leschi Marina. We inquired about the large canoe-like boats and were invited to give it a try. We did and loved it -- being out on the lake with the mountains as the backdrop was a perfect place to get in a workout right in the neighborhood and meet new people. I’m hooked on being out on the lake. I hadn’t paddled with an all-women’s team until this crew. I really love it! I’ve established friendships throughout the region and I am amazed at the commitment of this team.”

And Wendy: “I was introduced to dragon boating in about 2004, when I helped organize the first two years of participation by the City of Tampa in a local dragon boat festival. After I moved back to Seattle, I met then-President of Seattle SAKE Dragon Boat Club (and also then-President of the Leschi Community Council) Matthew Goossen, who invited me out with the Leschi Club. I have been paddling ever since, and followed our coach Lesley Blyth, who envisioned a more competitive regional team that eventually morphed into WAM, from its earliest inception about four years ago.”

Congratulations on your accomplishments and we will follow your progress “down under”!

~Diane Snell

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