The British Dragons Singapore team arrived at Day One of the MR500 regatta at Lower Seletar Reservoir with a point to prove, and walked away with an enormous amount to be proud of heading into Day Two. Every British Dragons crew that raced on Day One made a final race – two grand finals and one minor final, beating a number of traditional race day foes including many expat teams and strong university teams. The Premier Mixed 22 Crew, Expat A Boat and Expat B boat paddled longer, harder and deeper than ever over a shortened 400m race to produce some of the team’s most complete performances.
Mixed Premier Crew – In the first race of the day for the British Dragons, the Mixed Premier crew woke up its competitors with a spectacular 50m final surge to take first place by about a third of a boat length, over a second ahead of their nearest rivals. They repeated the feat with another outstanding charge in the semis to come second by a whisper, slicing three seconds off their heat time to record 1:48:0 the team’s fastest time of the day – and beating one of Singapore’s best university teams by 0.7 of a second in the process. Though the crew didn’t medal in the grand final, the British Dragons were the ONLY Singapore expat team make the medal race against very strong uni squads – a tremendous achievement for the first race meet of the year.
Expat Community Mixed Crew – The Brits A boat’s unwavering focus, maintenance and strong line charges to win by nearly a second in their heat at 1:53:4 and storm into the expat category grand final where they eventually took silver – and the team’s first medals of the weekend. Victory over many of last year’s leading crews was the icing on the cake in the expat category for the Brits.
The Brits B boat showed guts on the water, starting with a strong heat against three A-boats and recording a speedy 1:54:6 time. After a fantastic race in the minor final, the B boat suffered a heartbreaking loss on the line to our international regatta partners, the German A team, by just 0.1 of a second. The crew also beat a A-team competitors on the way through to the minor final, showing that once again the Brits will be setting the bar for expat crews in 2013.
With a taste of bling on Day One, the Brits arrived bright and early looking to continue a run of smashing form.
Four crews raced on Day Two: Premier Ladies A, Premier Ladies B, Inter-Club Open and Senior Open (better known as The Old Farts… later proven to be the Fast Farts!). The exceptional performances from Day One spilled into Day Two – three of the crews went on to race in grand finals.
Ladies A and B crews – For the first time, the British Dragons entered two ladies boats in the field – a sure sign of the Brits’ traditional strength in ladies events and of strong competition for the year ahead. After earning the right to race again after their heat, Ladies B turned in a gutsy and vastly improved repechage race.
The fantastic performances of several lady paddlers in their first regatta bodes well for 2013. Ladies A boat kicked off their campaign with a strong win in their first heat. The British Ladies remained cool to cross the line in convincing first place. Though the British Ladies didn’t medal in the grand final, the Brits are now just two seconds away from the fastest crew in Singapore in only the first meet of the year. This is something to celebrate! And a very achievable goal for our outstanding ladies paddlers this year. With race-hardened experience and a rising set of newly-blooded paddlers, competition for ladies boat seats promises to be fierce for May’s DBS regatta.
Senior Open Crew – The Senior Open crew didn’t let two near-starts-interrupted-by-the-weather crack their composure, turning in excellent performances despite a full dance card of final races as part of other crews. The newly-christened ‘Old Farts’ boat proved themselves to be anything but, placing second in their heat and heading straight into the grand final. Race rules stipulated that paddlers must be forty, which of course was difficult to prove given everyone in the ‘senior’ crew looks and paddles like they are 21 years old. One crew member was even interrogated by race marshalls – and disbelieving teammates later – about his age. The broken schedule was no issue as the Fast Farts paddled their way to a very respectable fourth in the grand final…
Inter-Club Open – …. only to line straight back up in the next grand final boat! In what became a recurring theme, Brits continually lined up for final races, sometimes back to back, and maintained both mental and physical stamina throughout – a testament to our coach’s rigorous race training regime. The gents got their chance to shine in the Inter-Club Open, posting the fastest time for the Brits of 1.48 over 400m in their heat to earn their place in the grand final. Competition was extremely strong in the Inter-Club with hardened expat, university and community crews doing battle.
That didn’t stop the men’s team walking away with a hard-fought bronze medal for their efforts after a truly spectacular line charge that left supporters hoarse, and charted the beginning of a very strong men’s crew for 2013.
Race Weekend Stats:
7 boats entered in 20-crew and 10-crew races
5 grand final races, 1 minor final race
Silver medal (Expat Community)
Bronze medal (Inter-Club Open)
Guts, glory, sunburn, aching muscles (everyone)
All the MR500 results can be found at: http://sava.com.sg/mr500.html