Discarding their pinstripes for paddles, some of the City's more muscular young things can be seen on Thursday evenings rowing down the Thames in Chinese dragon boats, writes Marie Woolf.

They are in training for the Thames Great River Race on 17 September. Competing against 200 other vessels - including a fully-armed Swedish whaler and various Hawaiian war canoes - brokers and bankers will paddle 22 miles from Richmond to Island Gardens in Docklands.

Dragon boat racing - in 40ft boats with a crew of 16 and a drummer in the bow - came to Britain about 15 years ago. Tipped to win the City class, which includes the Bank of England, is the merchant bank SG Warburg, whose diminutive team captain, Melanie Saluja, 23, is a former Cambridge cox. 'There are two girls in the crew and loads of strapping guys,' she said. 'We're confident, but it's different from Cambridge. Here it's much easier to tip over.'

For any punters, in a hard-fought practice race in Millwall Dock last week, Warburg beat Citibank by a boat length.

(Photograph omitted)