Many people know that Dragon Boating exists in Pottstown, but did you know that Pottstown has one of only three indoor paddle pool Dragon Boat practice facilities in North America, and the only one open in the United States?
From outside, there is nothing about the Pottstown Athletic Club, located in the Armory at 263 King Street, to indicate the unique facility that is housed inside. In 2016, club owner Rob Matthews installed ergometers, exercise equipment which allows Dragon Boaters to practice during the winter, and then in 2017, added an indoor paddle pool to allow the athletes to have a full spectrum of indoor training for the sport. Pottstown Dragon Boater Laura Cousins trains at the facility because the ergometers (located in the upstairs “Erg Room”) allow her to increase her strength and power as she paddles, while the pool allows her to work on technique. She loves the card tracking system in the Erg Room that allows her to track her distance, speed, and total work-out time. Cousins is a member of the Pottstown Dragon Warriors, a competitive team that practices in both Pottstown Athletic Club, as well as on the Schuylkill, several times a week.
Pottstown Dragon Warriors team member Laura Cousins practicing in the Erg Room at Pottstown Athletic Club
Rob Matthews thinks the popularity of the sport will only grow. “We want to build Dragon Boating in the Pottstown area not just because it’s fun, but because it’s a physical skill set that anybody can adapt to. Dragon Boating is team work and timing, you must work together. You have to do that more than be a physical specimen.” Matthews is so excited about growing Dragon Boating that he encourages beginners to attend a free practice session, once indoors in the unique practice facility, as well as to join the more seasoned boaters for an outdoor practice on the river. Dragon Boating is great for kids, too. There are community members as young as 10 who practice in Pottstown.
The indoor practice facilities have been used by teams from all around the Philadelphia region, and are available to reserve at hourly rates. Matthews encourages families to come join in “Open Paddles” and organizations to book the facility for team building events. The amenities of the club are drawing visitors to Pottstown from all around the region, which have easy access thanks to Pottstown’s location at the junction of Routes 422 and 100.
The paddle pool indoors at Pottstown Athletic Club, one of only three indoor paddle pools in North America
To find out more about Dragon Boating in Pottstown, go to http://pottstownathleticclub.com/index.php/pottstown-dragon-warriors-1, follow the Pottstown Dragon Warriors on their Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/PottstownDragonWarriors, or email Rob Matthews directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.