Gisela Veve, left, and Liisa Reimann, right are newly selected coaches for the 12th World Nations Dragon Boat Championships. The Mālia Club practices weekly on Lake Champlain. PHOTO: Rafael Veve

Team USA Aims for Gold

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Thursday June 05, 2014

World Nations Dragon Boat Championship Names Coaches Two Vermont women were selected to coach crews aiming for gold at the 12th World Nations Dragon Boat Championships. Coach Liisa Reimann and Assistant Coach Gisela Veve, from Burlington and South Burlington respectively, are busy creating a national recruitment plan for women’s and men’s teams in the U24 (18-24 year olds) racing division. The World Nations Championships, to be held in Welland, Ontario in August 2015, are regarded as the Olympics of dragon boating. Among Team USAs biggest challengers are Canada and Australia. 

Although it is their first time as national coaches, Veve and Reimann have previously represented the USA on the world stage. In 2013 they both qualified as paddlers for national teams and competed in the 11th World Nations Championships in Hungary. They brought back medals of every color – bronze, silver and gold.

Reimann and Veve juggle work, family, coaching and their own intense training. They are also members of an elite Montreal-based dragon boat team and travel to Canada twice a week – sometimes more. They will be traveling to Ravenna, Italy to compete with their Montreal club team in a parallel competition, Club Crew World Championships, in September 2014. Ironically, when they first started paddling in 2006, they were told they were not athletes and that their dreams of rising to elite level were far too unrealistic. That makes their success so much sweeter.

On the home turf, in 2012, the two women co-founded Mãlia Paddling and Racing Club in order to provide a competitive experience akin to what they found in Canada, to would-be dragon boaters in Vermont. Mãlia PRC is open to anyone 18+, novice or experienced, who is interested in a competitive experience. Try a FREE practice!

Interested community members are invited to try a free practice session, or two, with the Mãlia Paddling Club. The club operates out of the Lake Champlain Community Sailing Center in Bulington and launches at the public boat ramp (by the Coast Guard station) Mondays and Wednesdays at 6 p.m. Two free practices are offered to prospective paddlers. Come prepared to work hard and bring plenty of water! 

For more information about Mãlia visit their website at For more information about the Team USA Dragon Boats, visit