MR500 2012 – first race of the year and first medal of 2012 for the British Dragons
25-26 March 2012, Jurong Lake, Singapore
‘Long, Longer, Longest’ just about sums up the first race weekend of 2012 for the British Dragonboat team! The new venue of Jurong Lake certainly presented the competing teams with some new challenges, with shallow sections of the course creating heavy water off the start line and at the 350m mark. Fortunately for the Brits our training at Farrer Park swimming pool, and our Coaches enthusiastic use of resistance tyres during training, had left us well prepared for just such a challenge. With long, strong strokes and a steady pace the British mixed, Men’s and Women’s teams took on the 500m course with confidence and composure.
On Saturday the team fielded two mixed boats in the Inter-Club and Premier Mixed categories. Paddling first, the Inter-Club crew competed against the Austcham Paddle Club, Gaelics and PLK Paddlers and secured a firm second place with a time of 2.21.84.
Two races later the Premier Mixed boat faced stiff competition in the form of the NTU ‘A’ team and the Filipino Dragons in their first heat. This was an opportunity for our newbies to shine, and they stepped up and performed brilliantly, recording a time of 2.24.32. In the subsequent repechage the crew upped their game shaving 3 seconds off this time and coming second in 2.21.25, securing their place in the semi-finals where they went on to qualify for the Minor Final at the end of the day.
The Inter-Club crew battled it out with the Filipino Dragons in their semi-final, losing out to second place by just 0.24 of a second! As the ‘fastest loser’ however the crew had secured their place in the Grand Final.
Whilst medals eluded us on day one, an incredible effort by newbies and experienced paddlers alike meant the British Dragons put in an impressive performance, and lessons had been learnt ahead of the second day of competition.
Sunday 25th saw the British Ladies gather at 7.30am to take time to reflect on the challenge ahead of them and participate in an inspirational pre-race exercise with their Ladies Captain, Nicky Marsh. There are few sports which require such dedicated team work as Dragonboating, and trust in your team mates is the difference between a boat of 12 or a team of 1.
The British Ladies went from strength to strength during the course of the day, improving on each previous performance to shave nearly 4 seconds of their first time. They recorded their best time of 2.45.95 in the Plate Final of the Premier Women’s Category, securing them a shiny Gold medal! The determination in the final boat was incredible and the Ladies crossed the finish line in style.
Not to be out shone, the Men’s team performed brilliantly in the Premier Open, achieving a course time of 2.18.18 in their semi-final race, and successfully reaching the Plate Final where they put in a strong performance against tough competition from SMU and Team OneStroke. An excellent start to the 2012 season by the British Men as they grow in strength and number.
A rather soggy end to the weekend delayed our departure from Jurong, but the usual British spirit prevailed despite the thunder and lightening, and we met at Red Dot later that evening to celebrate a wonderful start to the year and review our performance captured on film by Mr Robinson and our new Winsor head-cam!
The camera never lies, so let’s take on board the lessons learnt from this weekend and train hard to be ready for the DBS races in May…. remember you can’t escape the camera, and the captains and coaches are watching!
Club Crew Open Grand Final, as seen by Winsor and Shobhana