Dragon boating, on the world stage

Posted On: August 20, 2019

Six times a week, often before sunrise, Barry Slaff hops on his bike for a 20-minute ride to Philadelphia’s Martin Luther King Drive. There, he joins friends and training partners for an hour or more of exertion on the Schuylkill River in a colorful dragon boat, an endeavor he calls “everything I love about sports and exercise.

“It’s a team sport,” says Slaff. “The whole team has to be on the same page and work together. Plus, you practice on the Schuylkill River in Fairmount Park. It’s a great place to spend a lot of time.”

All that time is paying off for Slaff, a third-year doctoral student in Penn’s computer and information science department in the School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS). Together with teammates from across the nation, he is competing this week against groups from 30 countries at the World Dragon Boat Racing Championships in Pattaya-Rayong, Thailand.

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