Kingston Royals Dragon Boat Racing Club
|Kingston Royals Dragon Boat Club|
|Home water||Teddington Lock|
|Founded||1988 (first raced in 1987)|
|Affiliations||British Dragon Boat Racing Association|
|British Dragon Boat Racing Association Champion Club 2009|
Kingston Royals Dragon Boat Club (DBC) is based in Teddington on the non-tidal Thames. Kingston Royals DBC was founded in 1988 as the dragon boat racing section of the Royal Canoe Club (RCC), and was one of the first dragon boat clubs to race in the UK. The section was formed from a mixture of RCC members and members of Kingston Rowing Club. The club obtained one of the original teak racing boats brought into the country by the Hong Kong Tourist Association to promote dragon boating in the UK. This boat, still in existence and now donated to a club in Germany, was used for racing and training prior to the introduction of the new glass fibre racing boats.
The Kingston Royals DBC first started competing in the far east in 1988 and by 1990 was the first European team to get to the finals of any competition. The club was also represented Great Britain at a number of events in the past, prior to the existing GB squad system coming into existence. The club continues to be active within the teams from Great Britain and a number of club paddlers have regularly represented the country at European and World level. In addition, the Great Britain's Women's coach is based at the club and coaches the club crews.
The club's performance has been cyclical. In the 1990s, the club never finished below second in any event it entered at the British National Cup; in 1990, 1992, 1993, 1996 and 1998 it completed a "pinkwash" (named for the club's distinctive club colour) of wins in the Open, Mixed and Women's events. The departure of several members in 2000 brought leaner times for the club and it did not enter a single race in 2001, and just one British Dragon Boat National League event in 2002. Momentum was restored thereafter, and the club is now racing at the highest level of racing in the UK following promotion to the Premier Division of the British Dragon Boat National League at the end of 2003. The club won the British Dragon Boat Racing Association Champion Club award in 2009.
In recent years, the club has slowly climbed the National League standings to a best position of second achieved in 2008 and 2009. In 2006, 2008 and 2009, the club won the Women's and Mixed events at the British National Cup. The club's second crew, known as the Kingston Pretenders and originally an occasional crew, won the Open Plate competition in 2006 and 2009, and was the only second crew in the Open Cup competitions in the 2008 National Cup. The club now runs a number of teams for both men and women and for beginners to international racers.
In 2007, Kingston Royals' position as a section of the RCC, the first canoe club to be founded in Britain, formally ended following a reorganisation of the RCC. Kingston Royals officially became a separate club. However, the Club continues to be based at the RCC facility in Teddington and links between the two organisations remain strong. The club celebrated its 20th birthday in October 2008 in a position as Britain's most successful dragon boat club, having won 33 of the 66 national titles awarded by the British Dragon Boat Racing Association to date.