Two Hillsborough teens prepare for World Dragon Boat races

By Sally Mamdooh, Reporter
Last Updated: Friday, July 03, 2015, 5:08 PM EDT

Two teens from Hillsborough County are spending their summer vacation working hard to prepare for the race of a lifetime.

Natalee Hoover, 16, and Samantha Norstrem, 13, are heading to Canada to represent the U.S. in the World Dragon Boat Racing Championship.

In the shallow waters of Mira Bay, Hoover and Norstrem, who are members of the Leviathans Dragon Boat Racing Team in Apollo Beach, worked on mastering their paddling techniques on Friday.

Leviathans Coach, Ed Norstrem. says the girls were selected from their team of 40 members.

"It doesn't get any bigger than the world's for dragon boat racing and to have be it from our team is incredibly exciting," said Norstrem.

The girls who have only been paddling in this sport for just three years are honored to be selected to compete. 

"I love the mental strength the sport gives you. I love when you are in a race how everybody is yelling, the water and the adrenaline," said Norstrem.

The two will compete in an ancient sport that's 3,000 years old. Each boat is required to have 22 people as its paddlers sprint through the water.

The girls say mental strength and team work are all it takes to win.

The two will travel to Canada next month to compete in the competition that starts mid-August. Each will be representing the U.S. in a separate age category.