BRITS TAKE 6th PLACE IN AUSTCHAM 10KM CHALLENGE
Thanks to all of the British Dragons team, supporters and friends who turned up on Saturday the 25th August to cheer on our squad competing in the SDBA/AustCham 10Km Challenge.
First the result: The British Dragons took 6th place overall (out of 27 boats) with a time of 53:00:66. Amongst the “International” Community boats we came second. Our warmest congratulations to the German Dragons who were first to cross the finish line amongst the “International” teams (and beat us to 5th place with a lead of 56 seconds).
Our eager squad of 18 paddlers (plus our cox Winsor) assembled at 1.00om for registration and to ready the boat for what proved to be a scorching hot afternoon. This included draining the for’ard compartment of some 40+ litres of water – which would have been quite a lot of ‘dead’ weight to paddle around the 10Km course! Then it was the gulping down of plenty of water, sucking on gels and chomping on energy bars followed by a warm-up and team briefing before we paddled the red boat aound the bay to the waters adjacent to the new National Stadium to line-up with the other teams where we had been assigned the 18th “lane” for a simultaneous start.
With 27 boats the “start line” extended for well over a hundred metres and the starter horn (when it came) led to much splashing and locking of paddles as we jostled for position with the boats hemmed in to us on either side. The frenzy to break clear for open water continued for at least the first 1Km and we then settled down into the traditional British long stroke as Winsor strategised and called for the various well-practisedtechniques which would see us pull up to other boats and slowly overtake and pull away. Good strategy and technique was also required at each turn as this also offered us good opportunities to jockey for position and leave rivals paddling in our wake.
The course took us out to the Marina Barrage then under the Benjamin Sheares Bridge to the Merlion area of Marina Bay, around past the Promontory and then on to a return leg in front of Marina Bay Sands and back out to the Barrage. Along the way we were cheered on by our unflagging supporters – some of whom even cycled from vantage point to vantage point to shout encouragement and take snaps. For over half the race the Australian team were well ahead of us and had paddled valiantly to retain their lead. But as we passed the Art-Science Museum we summoned our energies for a sustained bout of long powerful pulls and slowly but surely we eventually came abreast of them and then seat-by-seat pulled ahead and overtook – a lead we kept and increased as we powered to the finish line at the Merdeka Bridge – and another knot of supporters waving and cheering overhead.
Our congratulations to Mountbatten CSC who took first place in the 10Km Challenge with a time of 48:12:46. Not only that but one of their paddlers actually made a proposal of marriage to a team mate during the race – and was accepted! Let’s hope that the lovebirds were actually sharing the same seat otherwise all of that scrambling around in the boat with the ring would have doubtless cost them quite a few seconds in the race… (“Do you want the bailer?” “No, I’ve dropped the ring – it’s just under that can of 100Plus I think…”, “Er, we’re in a 10K mate and the other boat’s just 4 seconds behind, can you just paddle?”).
Anyway it was certainly a memorable event for all concerned and proves that hard work and a commitment to training will certainly pay off with an impressive and confident showing on the day.
Finally our thanks to SDBA and AustCham for organising this fixture which gave over 500 men and women the chance to compete in such an exciting and unique endurance “battle” around the Marina Bay Reservoir. Well done
to our paddlers, cox, captains and coach – and of course our wonderful team mates and friends who came along and showed their great support and pride in the team on the big
(Thanks to Natalia for the splendid photography)