‘LMUhus’ defend first place in dragon boat race

24 Jul 2023

23 boats from LMU and TUM fought it out for the title of ‘Master of the Olympic Lake’ in Munich’s Olympic Park on Friday. The training of the ‘LMUhu’ team eventually paid off.

Medicine student Nadja

“It’s all about having fun,” says medicine student Nadja. | © LMU

Colorful costumes, high spirits, and boats gliding through the water as fast as an arrow to the cheers of the fans: The twelfth dragon boat race took place on Munich’s Olympic Lake on Friday. The winners earn the right to call themselves ‘Master of the Olympic Lake.’ “It’s the fastest Master’s you can earn in Munich,” says organizer Dr. Lothar Schmittdiel with a chuckle. A general practitioner by training, Schmittdiel studied at LMU and brought the idea for the boat race back with him from his internship year in England. There, Oxford and Cambridge Universities have been competing against each other in the Boat Race since 1829.

It might look easy, but it actually requires hard training. The student council team from LMU’s medical faculty has spent the last two months regularly in the boat — because of course they wanted to defend the title they won in 2022. Their motto this year was ‘LMUhu — we’re stuck in first place.’ “The preparation was exhausting but worthwhile,” says Korbinian, explaining that it created a great sense of community. “It’s all about having fun,” adds fellow student Nadja.

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0:51 | 25 Jul 2023

Political Science student Caroline

Political science student Caroline brings Venetian flair to the Olympic Park with the Munich Gondoliers. | © LMU

Caroline from LMU’s political science institute had already participated in a dragon boat race at San Servolo near Venice when she was studying abroad at Venice International University. When she heard about the event in Munich, she put together a team straight away: the Munich Gondoliers. They raced complete with straw hat, striped shirt and a red rose. “Paddling isn’t that hard,” she says. “The only thing that’s difficult is paddling in sync.”

In fact, the biggest challenge in the races is always to keep the boats on track for the almost 250 meters. That’s why each boat has a cox. And a drummer who sets the rowing beat and motivates the paddlers by yelling at them — especially during the final sprint. Problems arise when the forces exerted on either side of the eight paddlers are uneven. But it’s not all that bad: The main focus of the dragon boat race is always on having fun, after all.

Medicine student team LMUhu

Winners again: the student team from the Medical Faculty | © LMU

Sandmen, pipette gods and aerobic outfits: The teams’ finish time is not the only thing that’s measured at this event — their costumes are also judged. As always, the participants were extremely creative this year. The CALAmari rowers — the team from LMU’s Centre for Advanced Laser Applications (CALA) — were particularly eye-catching. Master’s student Veronika had specially designed suitably fishy costumes for the day.

Even the frequent rain showers could not dampen the mood. The forced breaks were simply used for partying and dancing — DJs included — in the covered Theatron. Nevertheless, the yellow ‘LMUhus’ did get wet in the end — when they let the corks of their champagne bottles fly. Like last year, they were able to claim overall victory in the main race and thus defend their title from the previous year. The CALAmari team won second prize for the most original costume. There will be another chance for a rematch next year.

  1. Team LMUhu
  2. Team CALAmari
  3. Dr. Lothar Schmittdiel and Professor Peter Höppe

The yellow LMUhus fought off the teams from TUM (the Sandmen visible in the boat behind).


Second place for most original costume went to the CALAmari team from LMU’s Centre for Advanced Laser Applications.


Dr. Lothar Schmittdiel (left) organized the race, while jury member Professor Peter Höppe (right), Chair of the Munich University Society, awarded the prizes for most original costume.


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