Women's Coach

Colleen McNamara

Board of Directors

HEAD Coach

bob McNAmara

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 PDBA Race Results

2023 USDBF Club Crew National Championships 

7 USDBF National Championship Titles (19 Golds, 1 Silver, 1 Bronze)

Standard boat: Senior B Open, Senior B Mixed, Senior C mixed

Small boat: Senior A Women, Senior B Women, Senior C Open, Senior C Women

2022 IDBF Club Crew World Championships

3 World Championship Titles (9 Golds, 2 Silver, 1 Bronze)

Senior B Open Standard boat, Senior B Mixed Standard, Senior C Open Small boat

Premier Mixed Standard (1 Bronze), Senior B Women Small boat (1 gold, 2 silver)

2023 IDBF World Championships: coached by members

Premier Class:  2 Golds, 2 Silvers, 4 Bronze

Senior A Women: 5 Silver, 1 Bronze

Senior B Class: 3 Golds, 7 Silver, 4 Bronze

Senior C Open/10: 1 Silver, 2 Bronze

​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. In 2023, IDBF recognized his accomplishments and contributions by inducting him into the IDBF Hall of Fame. 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.

Tommy Leonardi


Jim Morris

Vice President

Ellen Law




Noel Abejo

Miles Johnson-Foeman


Sajan Lama


Chris Marquart

Sherrill Neff


Barry Slaff