Come afloat with a Mid-Michigan dragon boating team

Published: May. 3, 2022 at 4:22 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Together, two by two, the Dragon Flyers of Michigan are gliding into their season.

The Mid-Michigan team came a float several years ago after The Women’s Center of Lansing hosted a dragon boat racing fundraiser- people were interested and started their own team.

For Joyce Ochowicz, one of the dragon boat teammates, says that this is more than a sport.

“I am a breast cancer survivor and back in the 90′s a doctor challenged the belief that women who had had mastectomies shouldn’t do upper body exercises. He got a group of women together started exercising showing them exercises got them in a Dragon Boat and it’s exploded,” said Joyce.

That’s why the Dragon Flyers of Michigan are looking for more teammates to join in on their weekly practices and summer races.

“I spent most of my life thinking I wasn’t good at sports at all and came to try this out and over time I have realized that there is an athlete in there.,” said Julie Sinclair. “This is for people of all levels of fitness and all ages.”

Although the team’s average age is 55, the team says they put up a fight in those races.

“We’ve raced against people in their 20s and 30s and we can beat them because we know how to be in sync with one another we know how to work as a team,” said Coach Ellen Lurie.

The team practices twice a week and has races at places across the Midwest.

The Dragon Flyers of Michigan recently became a non-profit that uses their time in and outside of the water to help the community.

“This is a community focused sport and there are hardcore sport competition Dragon Boat Races, but almost all of them typically have some kind of a charity attached to the event and there are events that are a charity in itself,” said Julie.

For more information on dragon boating or want to join the team: or email

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