Team U.S.A. for dragon boat racing was holding trials Saturday on Clear Lake and Mud Lake to find the athletes that will make up Team U.S.A. in 2014.

The athletes will represent the United States in Poland.

Some paddlers were attending the event to learn from the clinic and watch the trials.

U.S. Coach Mike Blundetto is “the man” when it comes to dragon boat racing. He and his staff are holding trials in seven to 10 cities across U.S. in search of the perfect team.

They want athletes that are strong and have good timing with their teammates. Dragon boats have 20 paddlers, one oarsman steering the boat and a drummer in the front. The drummer is a cheerleader of sorts, keeping the drive alive both in cadence and spirit.

Coach Blundetto tests each paddler using a set of two electronic paddles that cost $3,000 each. These paddles are passed to each athlete while the boat is underway and collects a detailed range of data about that paddler’s stroke, strength, duration and timing. That data is downloaded to a computer that allows the coach to evaluate the paddler via charts, graphs, and information to the hundredths of a second.

Dragon boats started in ancient China and were originally used for religious purposes to appease the rain gods.

More than 2,000 years ago, a great Chinese warrior-poet named Qu Yuan committed suicide in a river to protest political corruption.

To honor his sacrifice, the people began to organize Dragon boat races in his memory.

Coach Blundetto has 31 years experience on an international level in dragon boat racing and said the U.S. has a very good chance of making the podium in Poland.

If you wish to race dragon boats in Houston and Clear Lake area, contact www.texasdragonboat.com.

David Bean, an avid kayaker, is assistant ad production manager for The Daily News.

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