Diane DeLuca is a member of the Pottstown Dragon Warriors, a dragon-boat racing team out of Pennsylvania. DeLuca, also a member of CrossFit Pottstown, says her CrossFit training—specifically burpees—helps her on the water.
“Burpees translate well to paddling,” she says. “When you’re paddling, you’re very condensed, and then you’re expanding back. It’s a lot of the same kind of flexion and extension that you see in the burpee.”
She also credits snatching and training with the ergometer for helping her develop the core strength needed to be a successful paddler.
One day after a race, Team USA’s dragon-boat coach approached DeLuca and expressed interest in the Pottstown Dragon Warriors. DeLuca was inspired to take her hobby one step further and try out for Team USA. She convinced a fellow teammate to try out as well.
“Myself and one of my friends from the team—who’s also a Level 1 trainer with CrossFit—we thought, ‘Why not? Let’s give it a shot,’” DeLuca says. “We’ve tested our fitness, and we’ve proven to ourselves and to other people that we can go out and try a new sport and do fairly well in it.”
DeLuca completed a 500-m time trial on the Manayunk Canal and was chosen as a reserve for Team USA. She says she couldn’t have gone this far in her sport without CrossFit.
“The strength and endurance that I have from CrossFit is the only reason I was able to go out there and start paddling with elite people,” DeLuca says.
DeLuca embraces the blend of CrossFit with dragon-boat racing.
“Just being a part of something bigger, being part of a team of women who want to be the best in their sport, that’s something that I didn’t have before CrossFit, before Team USA.”
Video by Mike Donofrio.
Additional reading: “From Rowing Indoors to Rowing on the Water” by Judy Geer, published July 1, 2007.