Dragon Boating is an exciting water team sport where technique and timing are just as important as fitness and strength. If you enjoy working as a team, love being on the water, and are interested in improving your overall fitness, Sandy Point Dragons is the club for you.
Sandy Point is located in Sydney’s south west, on the southern side of Georges River. The club has three boats. We use the scenic river as our training ground, and paddle as far west as the M5 bridge, and as far east as the Alford’s Point bridge. The club accommodates paddlers of all ages, from juniors 12 years and older, right up to great grand masters. Our Club House is right next to the boat ramp, at the end of the main street of Sandy Point. For convenience, paddlers can also be picked up from the Picnic Point side of the river.
Sandy Point is a friendly club dedicated to:-
MONDAY 15th - SATURDAY 20th APRIL 2013, AUSDBF AUSTRALIAN DRAGON
BOAT RACING CHAMPIONSHIPS, REGATTA CENTRE PENRITH
Sandy Point training at dusk, February 2011. A beautiful photo taken by Calvin Ling.
The Sandy Point Dragon Boat Club was created by the local community as a sporting and fitness activity that utilised the wonderful waterway on their doorstep. The club received their first boat on Christmas Eve 2004 and attended their first regatta only two months later at Chinese New Year in early 2005. For the first 4 year a neighbour’s backyard was used to store the boat, and was also used as the venue for club meetings and open day activities. This arrangement gave the club a fantastic start with just about no overheads.
Sandy Point achieved its first Regatta success in the 05-06 season bringing home gold from the Ulladulla Summer Games. Three club members made the state team and competed in the 06 national titles at Nagambie, Vic., with Ryan bringing home a silver medal.
In the 06-07 season club membership peaked at 47 paddlers and 7 social members. The club had regatta successes at the Drummoyne 10s with a 2nd place in the Masters, at Ulladulla with a 1st place in the Sports Division, and at Chinese New Year with a 2nd place in Masters Mixed. In August 06 Ryan travelled to Macau to compete in the Australian team at the World Championships, a fantastic accomplishment after paddling for only 8 months. During the season, Vic attended a level 1 coaching course, and the club at last acquired a trained coach.
The 07-08 season was a huge one for Sandy Point. It started with a 1st place in the Premier Mixed at the Drummoyne 10s, the clubs first ever premier class win. Australia hosted the 07 World Championships in September at the Penrith Regatta Centre. Sandy Point contributed 4 medal winning members to the national team, and a host of volunteers for the event. View an extract from the Sandy Point Newsletter detailing the clubs successes at the World Championships here. In Sept 07 Vic, Bev and Peter A were invited to paddle with the Australian Navy team at the Australian Masters Games, and were successful in winning one gold and two silver medals. In Nov 07 Sandy Point combined with Port Hacking for the Roseville regatta achieved a 1st in the Premier Mixed B final, and a 3rd in the Masters Open final. Our Juniors were active during the season, competing at the 08 Chinese New Year, and at the Canberra Festival in March 08. Read about the exploits of the Sandy Point Juniors here. At the 08 AGM Sandy Point was honoured by the attendance of local member for Menai, Alison Megarrity. Alison subsequently gave a speech in the NSW Parliament praising the achievements of the Sandy Point Dragon Boat Club. The Hansard report of Alison’s speech can be viewed here.
The 08/09 season arrived and membership numbers were declining. Our regatta successes were also on the decline, with our only result being in the 08 Dobroyd 10s, with a 2nd in the Grand Masters Mixed final. In order for the club to continue to grow it was becoming evident that new premises were needed so that potential members could be invited from the local communities. Through the generosity of a local member, the club relocated to a more central area - next to the boat ramp. This property was initially quite run down, but through the assistance of members participating in working bees, and through the tireless efforts of John, Dave and Peter A, the club now has a fantastic base of operations. 11 Sandy Point members made it into state teams in 09, and Ryan made it into the Australian team, and travelled to Prague to compete in the world championships.
The 09/10 season started full of promise at the 09 Dobroyd 10s with a 2nd in the Masters Mixed final, and 3rds in the Grand Masters Mixed and Grand Masters Open finals. Sandy Point teamed up with Port Hacking and secured 1st place in the Sports Mixed final at the 09 South Coast Regatta held on the Shoalhaven River. The club however struggled with enough numbers for the next two regattas. To boost membership numbers an open day was held in September 09 which started an inflow of fresh blood, particularly of female members. For the first time ever Sandy Point entered a Premier Women’s team at the December 09 Penrith regatta and the 10 Tacoma regatta. This qualified Sandy Point to enter a women’s team at the 10 Chinese New Year. Our only regatta success for the remainder of the season was at Tacoma where we picked up second place in the Grand Masters Mixed final. 12 Sandy Pointers made it into the state team that travelled to Adelaide for the National Championships.
The 10/11 season started with the fantastic news that Sandy Point had been successful in securing a grant that is part of the State Government's Sport and Recreation Facility Grant Program. The grant of $13,217 would go towards the purchase of 1 new boat, 2 x boat trailers and a sun shade tent. We had some initial regatta successes with a 3rd in the Masters Mixed final, and a 2nd in the Grand Masters Mixed and Grand Masters at the 10 Dobroyd 10s, and a 3rd in the Sports Mixed final in the South Coast Regatta, teaming up again with Port Hacking. The club attended all the remaining regattas of the season with the exception of Roseville, but further regatta successes eluded us. In October the club participated in a BBQ fundraiser at Bunnings, Milperra. Also in October the club hosted members from the Helensburgh Gym for a corporate style dragon boating session. At the end of November, the club took delivery of not one, but two new Swift dragon boats. These wonderful new club assets were gratefully received by the club membership. In December eleven keen Sandy Pointers attended an outrigger canoe corporate day hosted by the Koa Kai outrigger club at Sans Souci. One Sandy Point team was successful with a 1st in the 250m race and a 2nd in the 500m race. To finish off 2010, exciting news was received that Sandy Point was successful in their application for a $16,000 Community Building NSW Grant. The grant went towards the purchase of our 2nd new dragon boat, training paddles, life jackets, security fencing, lighting and a large car port shelter. Our gratitude goes to Eileen, Lorraine, Kerry and Alison Megarrity, for their hard work on the grant application. This season saw the start of an association between Sandy Point and Odyssey House, in which an often varying crew from Odyssey would train with us on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. This culminated in Odyssey members filling out our Premier crew at Chinese New 2011. This season also saw the start of an association between Sandy Point and Danebank Girls School. Starting training in January under the guidance of Peter A, Danebank competed at Chinese New Year 2011, and their performance earned them selection as the NSW Junior Girls B team. The girl’s extraordinary journey took them to the National Championships, where they achieved a 3rd in the state vs. state final, and a 2nd in the 200m club vs. club final. Sandy Point contributed 8 members to the 2011 state team, and came back from the National Championships with a haul of medals in the Masters, Grand Masters, and Great Grand Masters categories. Congratulations to Peter A, Brett, Phyllis, Lofty, Shine, Karin, Shine, Kerry, and Peter W. Brett went on to join the Australian Grand Masters Team, and competed in the 10th International Dragon Boat World Championships in Florida, USA. Sandy Point finished off the season with a social paddle to Flower Power at Milperra, for a sumptuous luncheon, then a leisurely paddle back home.
Sandy Point Premier 10s team at Dobroyd 2011
Elizabeth, Ellie and Kristen with the huge Junior Womens perpetual trophy at the N.S.W State Championships Penrith, March 2013
New South Wales State Championships
Unfortunately this year the State Championships fell on Easter Saturday. The clash with the holiday period meant that we only had 25 paddlers in attendance. We didn’t have enough girls to field a Womens team, so we entered in the GM Mixed, Masters Mixed and Masters Open categories. Young Nat swept all the Sandy Point races, as she needed to notch up regatta race experience in her quest to become a level 3 sweep. We were also ably assisted by a trio of flyweight drummers, Katheryn, Elizabeth and Kiara. Sandy Point helped out with the volunteering , with Mal on the start pontoon, and Cherry at boat loading.
The first race of the day for us was the GM Mixed final. There were 2 heats comprising the final, so it was important for us to do our very best time. We had an excellent start, and pulled out at least a half a boat length ahead of the rest of the field. We were able to maintain our lead in the long and strongs, and though other teams lifted at the end and started gaining on us, we managed to hold off the opposition, and cross the finish line in first place in a time of 2m14.44s. This was a fantastic result considering we had 19 paddlers, and only 8 boys in the boat. Disappointingly, in the other GM final, four teams achieve faster times than us, so in the end we were placed 5th in the GM category.
In the Masters Mixed category, we had to perform our very best in the heats in order to make it into the finals. In the first heat we were held up at boat loading, and were last down to the start pontoon. The fast start caught us a bit unawares and we were a bit slow off the mark. However we soon settled is to our strong race pace, and finished third in a time of 2m14.06s. Our second heat was much better with a cracking start, and a strong finish into third place again in a time of 2m13.39s. Unfortunately two 3rd places was not good enough to get us into the finals, we were seeded 7th place on cumulative times so just missed out. Still it was an excellent result as we had placed our fastest 500m times ever, and that was with only 9 boys in the boat.
In the Masters Open category, there were only six teams entered, so we were guaranteed a place in the final. In the heats we achieved two 6th places in times of 2m17.36s and 2m19.4s. In the final, we had our secret weapon on the front with Kiara drumming. It was the last race of the day for us and we had to give it our all. We had an uphill battle, as there we three strong all male teams to contend with. We followed our race plan faultlessly, fast start, strong middle and strong finish. Nat’s race calls were brilliant, urging us to lift all the way down the course. We came in 4th in a time of 2m12.19s with the whole team gasping, knowing they had put in 100%. We had set a new benchmark, our fastest ever 500m time, again with only 9 boys.
Danebank also had a successful regatta. For the first time they fielded a Junior Mixed team that was comprised of Danebank girls and Sandy Point junior boys. In the Junior Mixed category there were only two teams, and Danebank were up against a very strong Zodiacs team. In both of the Junior Mixed heats, Danebank came in 2nd place, with times of 2m23.96s and 2m26.24. There was no final so Danebank were awarded the 2nd place trophy. The Junior Womens category was more competitive with four teams competing, including old arch rivals Marist. In the first heat Danebank went out fast and didn’t back off. They kept a high rate all the way to the finish line and came in 2nd behind Zodiacs in a time of 2m18.80s. In the second heat the girls paddled a much more controlled race, and came in 3rd place in a time of 2m22.23s. For the final there were a lot of Danebank parents and Sandy Point supporters watching with trepidation. The girls got off to a brilliant start and pulled out ahead of the field. They kept it strong and stayed ahead of the pack through the middle of the race. Zodiacs turned up the wick at the end, and were catching the girls as the finish line approached, but Danebank had a big enough margin to hold them off and come in first in a time of 2m17.58, more than a second ahead of Zodiacs. What an exciting race!
At the award ceremony, Sandy Point member Mal Wills received a DBNSW life membership in recognition of his tireless efforts on the DBNSW board, and looking after the fleet of DBNSW dragon boats.
It was a great day of racing, and a fitting end to the DBNSW season.
Pan Pacific Masters Games, Gold Coast
A crew of 10 Sandy Pointers travelled to the Gold Coast, and joined together with 21 from Port Hacking, 5 from Pendragons, 2 from Pittwater, 1 from Tsunami, 1 from DAS and 1 from Broadwater to compete in the 8th Pan Pacific Masters Games. Pan Pacs is a really big affair, with around 12,000 participants from all over the world competing in the 32 sports like softball, touch football, soccer, basketball, baseball, swimming, athletics, tennis, archery and of course dragon boating.
Manly Dam DBNSW Race 2 - 500m
This was the first time DBNSW had ventured to Manly Dam. Whilst the parking in the back streets was a bit chaotic, in truth the walk to the venue was shorter than the walk we do at Penrith from the car park. The dam provided a great relaxed atmosphere for all clubs to set their marquees up. We were down on numbers compared to our previous regatta, and couldn’t form Premier Womens and Masters Womens teams. There was however plenty of races for those who did turn up. Our Premiers teams were helped along by our Juniors, Nat, Kate and Elizabeth, an seven friends from Odyssey. We were supported by Mal volunteering and conducting starts, and Miss Kate did an admirable job banging the drum up front for our Masters teams. Congratulations to Noella who only has been paddling for a month, but stepped up for 6 races in her first regatta.
This regatta was our first crack at the longer race distance for the season, though it was probably a tad shorter than 500m. Our first race of the day was the GM Mixed final in which we came 6th overall in a time of 2:20.40. A creditable result considering that we were down in horsepower with 18 paddlers. Our Premier teams had a lot of fun, with their best time of the day being a 2:15.76. Our Masters Mixed team put in a top effort in a very competitive category. The second heat of the Masters Mixed was a memorable race, as Sandy Point was neck and neck with Bei–Loon as the finish line approached. The team really pulled all stops out but were pipped into 4th place. For the second regatta in a row, we saved the best for last in the Masters Open final, and this was a cracker of a race. We were seeded 4th coming into the race but had to step up to have a chance at a placing. And step up we did, as the finish line approached and Pittwater challenged us, Sandy Point selected a lower gear and stormed home into third place in a time of 2:01.28. This was our fastest time of the day by more than 10 seconds. To put things in perspective we only had 8 boys in an open race, so our third place was a fantastic result. In the words of our President, a top job was done by all and it was great to paddle somewhere different.
Volunteering at DAA Regatta, Darling Harbour
All dragon boat clubs have a commitment to provide volunteers for regattas. 8 Sandy Point members gave up their Sunday to volunteer at the Dragons Abreast regatta beginning with a 6:30am start at Darling Harbour to help set up the venue. Peter W and Mal spent the day sitting on a pylon underneath Pyrmont Bridge fulfilling the duties of race starter. Mel 1 was in the sweep pool and swept 7 races for two teams, one of which gained third place in the major final of the Pink and Blue Challenge. John was water umpire, and didn’t have to raise his red flag all day. Kay (Head Marshall), Mel 2 and Jill were all in marshalling. Charlie was boat wrangling on the loading pontoon. At the end of the day, after packing up at Darling Harbour, most of us ended up at Bank Street to help unload the truck, and load the 12 race boats back onto the racks.
Congratulations to Jenny S who paddled for a Pendragons Dragons Abreast team, and to Michael D who stroked for the Australian team in the World Fire Fighter Games. Having you two in the boats gave the SP volunteers more connection with the event.
Club Stall at Helensburgh Fair
Sandy Point Dragons put on a promotional stall at the Helensburgh Fair in an attempt to drum up some new members. A lot of thought had gone into the preparation of our stall. We had one of the club tents set up with our two new erg machines. John had done a brilliant job of making a frame to mount a head, tail, drum and seat. We had some nice big poster sized displays of club photos and accompanying words praising the benefits of dragon boating. The two Mels and Bev had done a excellent job of producing a flier to hand out to interested onlookers. Put all these elements together with a bunch of Sandy Point members spruiking the benefits of our club, and we had an interactive stand that created a lot of interest in the general public. Younger kids were encouraged to sit on the seat and beat the drum as hard as they could, giving us the opportunity to chat to their parents. There were a lot of one on one 30 second races on the ergs to give a big range of people a taste of dragon boat racing. For the younger race participants, they received a temporary dragon tattoo for their efforts. Vic did a fantastic job of pouncing on anyone who showed the slightest interest in our display, and in no time at all he had a paddle in his hand demonstrating dragon boat paddling technique. All in all it was a very successful day with a lot of people saying they would like to give dragon boating a go. We now have a winning formula that we hope we can repeat at other venues in the future. Well done to all those members who contributed on the day.
Pete the Sweep
A poem by Jill with apologies to Andrew Barton Paterson, A.B.(Banjo)Paterson's Mulga Bill's Bicycle.
'Twas Pete the Sweep from Sandy Point
That caught the backwards craze;
He turned around the good old boat
That served him many days;
He'd dressed himself in sweeping clothes
Resplendent to be seen;
He'd hurried up the pace
To race the Sandy Point girls' team.
And as he turned the boat around
With air of lordly pride
The grinning team of paddlers said
"Excuse me, is this wise?"
See here, my girls
Said Pete the Sweep
From Penrith to the sea
From Helensburgh to Picnic Point
There's none can sweep like me
Sweeping is my special gift
My chiefest sole delight
Just ask a wild duck can it swim
A wildcat can it fight
'Twas Pete the Sweep from Sandy Point
That sought to take us back
He stopped the boat near Dead Man's Creek
In darkest inky black
He turned the boat and called the start
Being ready for the fray
But ere he'd gone a dozen yards
It bolted clean away
Pete slipped right in without a splash
A jacket floated past
The girls were shocked and all let out
One huge united gasp
In what seemed an eternity
With darkness taking hold
Pete's buddies in the back
We're taking over good as gold
When Pete appeared, the girls relieved
He gripped the gunnel tight
It took the team some time to see
That Pete was quite alright
'Twas Pete the Sweep from Sandy Point
That slowly climbed aboard
He said " I've had some narrer shaves
And lively rides before
I've rode a wild bull round a yard
To win a five pound bet
But this was the most awful ride that I've encountered yet.
It hurt my pride, I'll give you that,
But not to lose my nerve
To feel the boat go on its way
To plunge and buck and swerve"
We'll leave that thought at Dead Man's Creek,
We'll leave it lying deep
'Cause forward in the dark is good enough
Henceforth for Pete the Sweep
DBNSW Race 1 - SIRC - 200m Sprints
It was a fantastic days racing at Penrith on Sunday. In a first for Sandy Point, we entered in every category, apart from the juniors. There were plenty of races for everyone, with most people getting 8 races, and some of the girls doubling up and getting more. All our sweeps got to sweep and paddle, so it was fair all round. Despite the number of races, we turned on some excellent racing, shaving 1 or 2 seconds off our previous bests.
Our 3rd place in the GM Mixed was a great achievement, notably because we overcame our usual first race hoodoo and turned on a cracker of a performance. We were 2 seconds faster than last year, and a second faster than the year before, and finished ahead of some of our usual tough competition like Newcastle, Pendragons and Central Coast.
Our Premier Mixed and Open teams featured our friends from Odyssey House and despite there being some new paddlers in that mix, they posted times in the 55 second range. This was as good as our best times from 2 years ago! So what an extraordinary effort, well done Odyssey, and all our Prem paddlers.
Our Premier women posted faster times than last year, again a great achievement helped on by the three Odyssey girls and two Danebank girls.
The Masters Women, for the first time ever, made it into the final, with some cracking heat times, faster than we have done to date. Though it was disappointing the team hit the wall in the final, it is understandable, because they were two paddlers down, and had backed up in a lot of races up to that point. It was still a fantastic effort Masters girls, and we now have the potential for an awesome Masters Womens team.
Our Masters Open and Mixed teams were on fire posting faster times than in previous years, in the 53 and 54 second range. The Masters Mixed category seems to have become more competitive, as we have previously made it in to the finals, not so this year, despite our good heat times. Our strategy in the Masters open worked a treat. By not flogging ourselves in the heats we saved our best for the final. Now traditionally Sandy Point posts slower times in the finals, but not so in the Masters Open final! After our start Shine kept the rate up, and we went hard all the way to do our fastest time of the day, 53.1 seconds, only 0.8 seconds behind third place, and the three boats in front of us were all male crews. What a brilliant bit of racing!
Our success on the day can be attributed to a number of things, the fresh blood that we have in our club this year, all those practice races we did in training, and the team’s commitment to going hard on the day. Thanks to our friends from Odyssey, it was because of them that we entered in the Premier categories and had so much fun. Thanks to Kate and Elizabeth for all that drumming and Premier paddling, we certainly appreciated their light weight and strength in the boat. Thanks to Nyrelle for taking the initiative and helping to marshal our teams.
World Club Crew Championships, Hong Kong
Sandy Point Dragons contributed to the World Club Crew Championships via their association with the Danebank Flames Dragon Boat Team. This journey really started in the lead up to Chinese New Year in 2011. Danebank’s performance at CNY 2011, earned them a spot in the 2011 National Championships, and their performance there qualified them to compete in the 2012 World Club Crew Championships. A number of Sandy Point members have helped Danebank along this journey, but the key players have been Peter A and Mark H with coaching, and Melodee with sweeping. After an excellent performance at the 2012 National Championships, a smaller Danebank team put in the hard yards preparing for Hong Kong, with water and land based training sessions through the autumn and winter months. Danebank were to field two teams in Hong Kong, an under 16’s 10s team, and an under 18’s standard boat team. There were 18 paddlers in each standard boat, not 20.
The World Club Crew Championships were held over the first week of July. The Hong Kong organizers went to a lot of trouble to welcome all the international paddlers, and promote a real carnival atmosphere. This started with or arrival at Hong Kong airport where there were volunteers waiting to welcome us and organize a speedy passage through immigration. Though out the weeks festivities, there was marching bands, clowns on stilts, Start Wars characters, and a host of volunteers in orange shirts ready to help international visitors with any problems they encountered. The race course was set up on the Kowloon side of Victoria Harbour. There were 16 large barges moored down one side of the course to try and break up the wash created by the harbour traffic.
The first day of racing was a one day invitation race event called the Hong Kong International Dragon Boat Festival, and as it turned out was a vital piece of race preparation for both the paddlers and sweep, getting used to the onerous conditions in Victoria Harbour. Danebank fielded two teams of 18 in the international womens category, with some help from the support crew who jumped in and paddled to make up the numbers. Peter A and Melodee swept the Danebank teams while Peter W jumped on board a Canberra Grammar boat as two of their sweeps were faint from the heat. The first race was an eye opener of the tough conditions the races would be held in. The start signal was actually a canon, loud enough so that there was never any mistaking the start. The sweeps found that they really had to concentrate hard on steering a straight line with constant adjustment to keep to the centre of the lane. A lapse of concentrating could mean that your boat could suddenly changes lanes or worse does a right hand or left hand turn quicker than you could recover. The second race was so much easier by comparison with the benefit of a bit of practice. Whilst the results of these two races were not memorable, we were up against senior Womens crews, and it was a good bit of fun.
The next day was a day off with the Danebank girls heading off to Ocean Park for a bit of sightseeing and relaxation. Ocean Park is a theme park with a massive water slide. The coach spent most of his day in meetings to do with race rules, registration detail clarification and making sure the crews were correctly kitted out. In was there that Peter A discovered that there was a requirement that all participants display a number on the back of their race shirts for all races. This number must be on white fabric with black figures to a set specific size. Somewhere in the huge organizational effort that it took to get the girls to Hong Kong, this requirement was lost. It turned out that the combined junior team Torpedo’s from Northern NSW were in the same dire need – no numbers = no races. The Sandy Point support team came to the rescue. Bev, Peter A, Melodee, Peter W and Joyce (Mel’s Mum) arranged a rendezvous. Peter A got a tailor to cut the material squares and then a late night was spent scribing numbers with big black textas, pinning on safety pins, making two sets, one for Danebank and one for Torpedos.
Day 3 was the first day of the Club Crew Championships. This day was all about 2km racing, and really tested the mettle of sweeps and crews. The races were rolling starts at speed with boats starting 10 seconds apart. Only standard boat crews were competing in the 2km events and Canberra Grammar were seeded ahead of Danebank due to the results of the Nationals in Melbourne. This meant that Danebank had to start ahead of the Canberra team, but behind the Senior Women’s crews. The trouble with starting ahead is that you never know whether the crews behind you are catching you. The sweep might be able to catch a glimpse on the turns, but otherwise, the sweeps were fully occupied steering a straight course in the challenging prevailing conditions. Danebank just had to go out hard and hope they could pull out a lead on Canberra. Danebank was the 9th boat to start but the 1st boat in the junior women’s division. The gun went off and the girls got a good fast start. They maintain a good rate and got good boat run. Doing textbook turns in the choppy conditions was difficult, but as the race progressed Danebank kept setting a good pace and slowly increased the distance between the other crews. In the final sprint to the finish line, the girls still looked strong and they were still picking up the pace as they crossed the line. Wow! What a race. Gold! All those long endurance training sets had really paid off. Danebank managed to beat Canberra Grammar by 14.29s, a great improvement from Melbourne where Canberra Grammar had beaten Danebank by 5s.
Day 4 was first day of 200m racing for the Danebank under 16 10s team. Torrential rain in the morning meant the afternoon program was cut short, and the girls had two heats to paddle. It was the first time for any of the crew had paddled in a small boat. Small boats are very tippy, and the crew nearly tipped over when loading for the first race. The water was the calmest we had seen it so far, for the first race. The girls got a good start and went hard to stay with the very strong team from Singapore unfortunately they could not catch them. Danebank came in second place ahead of the Korean girls team. The next heat was a long time coming and the distance from the paddler’s tent to the marshalling area was proving to be a problem. After a very long wait in very hot conditions the girls put in a great effort but again the Singapore team was too strong and easily took first place. Danebank came in a close third behind Korea. The cumulative times for the Danebank team earned them a second place overall and they were presented with a Silver trophy. Well done girls!
For Day 5 it was the standard boat 18s team’s turn at racing 200m. It was an early start for the crew and supporters as they made ready for the sprint distance races. The girls were calm and in good spirits as they lined up for the first race. For the first heat, the start was not a strong one and the girl’s boat seemed to be crabbing down the lane (probably due to the unpredictable currents of the harbour). The boat straightened up at about the 50m mark and started to pick up speed. With only 40m to go Danebank were about 1.5 metres behind, but the girls really lifted at the end and pegged Canberra A back to be oh so close on the finish line. They came first by only 0.2s. For the second heat, Canberra Grammar A were just ahead all the way. Danebank finished strongly in 2nd place only 0.1s behind Canberra Grammar A and ahead of the Torpedos mixed team and Canberra Grammar B. The third heat was the decider, the race for the Gold medal and the girls had been given some reassuring words from Peter A. The girls got a great start and did a fantastic transition, then lifted to bring it home and achieve their fastest 200m time. The result was Gold for Danebank. Well done!
Day 6, and it was the 10s crew’s turn at 500m racing in the small boats. The organisers were struggling to get through the 500m program, and the girl’s races were reduced to two heats. The races were again in the afternoon and some of the girls were feeling the heat. For their first heat, their start was strong with a good transition. For the rest of the race, their rate was too high. The girls gave it their all but with such a high rate there was nothing in the tank to lift at the end of the race. Danebank came in second behind the Singapore girls, and ahead of Korea. For the second heat, thankfully the girls did not have to wait around like the 200m day. There was just time for a restock of fluids and it was back to marshalling. For this race, the girls bought the stroke rate down and really took control of the power. The end of the race saw them do a fantastic lift and they took 17s of their first heat time, to come in second again behind Singapore. Excellent work girls and a well deserved Silver Medal.
Day 7 was the last day of racing and it was the standard boat 18s team’s turn at 500m. It’s another early morning with the first race at 8:20am. For the first heat, the girls executed a good start but lost a bit of speed in the middle of the race. Canberra Grammar A got in front, and the Danebank girls pulled hard but were pipped for first by a mere 0.127 seconds. The second heat was the final race for the whole regatta, for the girls, the sweep, the coach, the managers and the support crew. There is a lot riding on this race. Could the girls make it three out of three? Peter A was calm and had words of encouragement for the crew. The girls enquired how much Canberra had beaten them by and by what margin they need to win. As the exact time was not known, Melodee told them that Canberra only won by a smidgen and that if they want to win the gold medal they would have to win by at least 2 smidgens preferably 3 smidgens to be sure. The girls took this on board and committed to win by many more smidgens. The start cannon blasted and the girls dug deep from the start. They reached out with a strong transition and settled into a nice rhythm. By the half way mark, the girls looked strong and then started to build for the home stretch. They were in the lead but it was still close, so they lifted again. Danebank finished in first place but did not know if they were quick enough to win the Gold until they reached their supporters. The excited crowd formed a guard of honour for the Danebank team to pass through, with high fives, well dones and pats on the back. They had beaten Canberra Grammar A by 0.867s. Congratulations girls.
The final tally of medals was 3 gold and two silver. Each medal was hard fought for and hard won and Canberra Grammar in particular was a fierce competitor. It was a fantastic result for Danebank and was certainly made all the all the chilly nights and early mornings training worthwhile.
Peter A, Natalie and Melodee with the Junior Womens 500m Standard Boat champions trophy, Hong Kong, July 2012