Robert McNamara, MD is the most successful dragon boat coach in the USA; in fact no one is even close. Teams coached or co-coached by him have won 135 IDBF World Championship medals including 29 gold medals at IDBF World Championships. He will enter his 36th year of coaching in 2022.
His teams have twice reached the pinnacle of dragon boating by winning the Nations Cup in 2007 and 2011. The Nations Cup is the high point trophy awarded to the top Premier team in the world. Teams under his direction have recorded the world’s fastest times or rank in the top few in a number of events.
Bob began this sport as a paddler in the 1984 and 1985 dragon boat team that represented the US in the Hong Kong international races. He was then asked to coach in 1986 based on his prior success coaching college and high school rowing teams (two national championships). Since 1986 he has served as the head coach of the Philadelphia Dragon Boat Team winning numerous US national titles. Bob has taken PDBA members with no paddling experience from the novice level to the top of the podium at the World Championships.
An active paddler himself, Coach McNamara has raced in every world championship to date and actively races outrigger and marathon canoe. He also serves on the International Dragon Boat Federation's Medical Science and Sports Commission.
All four of his children have won world championship medals for team USA. Bob also serves as Chair of Emergency Medicine at Temple University Hospital.
Colleen McNamara has been an active member of PDBA since 2003, where she started on the youth team. She has been to more world championships that any other female paddler in the United States. She attended her first worlds in 2001 in Philadelphia and won her first gold medal ten years later at Worlds in Tampa. She is a 5x world champion and has won many medals at world championships as a member of the youth team, premier women and premier mixed teams.
Colleen joined the PDBA coaching staff in 2016 with the goal to revitalize a successful women's program. Her efforts led to the PDBA winning the Premier Women's class at the USDBF Nationals in 2017. In 2017 she stroked the Premier Women to their first ever World Championship in the 1000 meter race. In 2019 she was the Premier Women's coach at the World Championships and those paddlers were part of a silver and 2 bronze medals.
Recent Race Results
2021 USDBF Club Crew Nationals
Gold Medals: Premier Open 2K, Premier Women 500 and 2K, Premier Mixed 2K
Gold in all 3 Distances: Senior B Open, Senior B mixed, SB women small boat, SC Open small boat
Silver Medals: Premier Open 200 and 500, Premier Mixed 200 and 500
Mercer 2021: Gold Premier Mixed
2019 IDBF World Championships: Premier and Senior B coached by members
Premier Open - Gold 2K, Silver 1K, Bronze 500
Premier Women - Silver 500, Bronze 2K
Premier Mixed - Gold 2K, Silver 1K
Senior B Open, Women and Mixed - 4 Golds, 5 Silvers, 3 Bronze
President & Chairman