LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — The sound of drums filled Hawk Island Park in Lansing Sunday. Racers rowed to the beats, endeavoring to be the first to cross the finish line.

With large teams of 20, it’s a challenge for all rowers to stay on the same page. “There’s a drummer in the front and their job is to echo and follow along with the pace of the boat and make sure everyone can hear it,” said competitor Lia Champ.

Champ came from Canada to compete today, and she’s ready to live up to her last name. She’s not new to the dragon boat, having competed in places like China, Hungary and Singapore. “I use it to make friends and keep doing stuff. But it’s also a really good sport for all ages,” Champ said.

All ages did show up Sunday. Lansing’s Everett High School also came out to compete. “I think it’s a great outreach for our community, also, and it’s just a great way for everyone in the community to connect and have a great time together,” said Help Djuma, Everett High School team captain.

The origins of dragon boat racing run deep. “It originated in China as a tribute to a young warrior whom the community really loved and wanted to rally around,” said Angie Wooster, communications director at the Women’s Center of Greater Lansing.

There are benefits to the sport as well. “There was a study done that women who have had breast cancer and who have gone through mastectomies; one of the best methods for them to build up muscle and tissue in the chest area is actually rowing,” said Wooster.

The competition lasted five hours with the winning team, F45 Training, receiving a prize. Proceeds from the event will go to the Women’s Center of Greater Lansing. Organizers say they hope to double the number of teams competing in next year’s race.