UIC Pyro Paddlers race the river with dragons

dragon boat race

UIC’s dragon boat team, the Pyro Paddlers, finished No. 6 at the Chicago Dragon Boat Race for Literacy.
Photo: Elvin Chan

UIC’s Pyro Paddlers hit the waters strong Saturday at the Chicago Dragon Boat Race for Literacy.

The team was seeded No. 3 out of 26 teams after the time trials, enough to bypass the first round of competition.

“The team aimed for getting a bye in the first round but didn’t expect to actually get it,” said Elvin Chan, assistant director of the Asian American Resource and Cultural Center, which organizes the team.

The Pyro Paddlers stayed in sync during the second round, beating the Oak Park Families with Children from China team to advance to the quarterfinals.

UIC’s team is composed of students, employees and alumni.

“This was the first time that we were able to actually survive the first elimination round, and actually do better than that by going right into the second round,” Chan said.

UIC’s team paddled hard in the quarterfinals, but fell to Team Trooper — a group of state troopers that eventually took second place overall.

UIC’s team finished in sixth place overall.

“I’m really proud of how far we got,” said team co-captain Kevin Chiem, a senior in biochemistry. “We worked really well together.”

The event, hosted by the Chicago Chinatown Chamber of Commerce, raises money for literacy, culture and diversity programs in Chicago-area schools.

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