Five members of the Merimbula Water Dragons joined the NSW regional team at the Australian Championships in Adelaide and were part of a highly successful event that saw NSW collect multiple gold medals.
Australian Dragon Boats Federation conducted its national championships in Adelaide over the Easter period.
Following competition at state level in Penrith, Chris and Terry Casey, Paul Debnam, Charles Helmore and Laurie Smith were asked to join the NSW regional team to compete at the national Dragon Boat Championships, Adelaide. Pat Helmore and Kate Smith also travelled to Adelaide and were instrumental in organising fresh fruit, sugar fixes, rehydration, and leading the cheer squad for the team.
The regional team was made up of paddlers from NSW Northern Region, Western Region and the Southern Region.
The NSW Regional Team raced in six events, womens, mixed and opens in both 500 metre and 200 metre races and won six gold medals.
In fact the team won every race they entered, quite an achievement.
After the win, David Pees, the coach for the NSW regional team was delighted to call the region team’s clean sweep of both the state and national titles.
“Who else can claim a total of nine gold medals over three categories and to have won every race entered in the process in the two championships throughout this campaign.
“We accomplished what the Dragon Boat NSW (DBNSW) board asked us to do, win gold for New South Wales, and in the process gained the most points of any division towards the winning tally at nationals,” Pees said.
“It has been a privilege to be your coach. I am so proud of each and every one of you. You all stood up and made yourself accountable with commitment, camaraderie, team work and discipline.”
There was praise too for Pat Helmore for her help and support in training the local paddlers.
Chief executive DBNSW, Glenn Tasker, said: “Congratulations to the paddlers who were not defeated during the regatta. It is extremely pleasing to report that the state v state racing has been an unqualified success for the NSW crews with a massive 25 gold first place finishes.”
Assistant NSW regional team coach, Andrew Blundell had special praise for the Merimbula paddlers saying: “It is indeed wonderful to have the best of the best working and paddling with us.
“Thank you to all of you for coming and training, working with us and winning! You all are fabulous members of our team,” Blundell said.
If you would like to try dragon boating either as a social paddler on Sundays or with a view to training and racing – training sessions are Monday and Wednesday evenings, just contact Mary Balmain on 0448 825 785.
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