At the recently held Dragon Boat Regatta in our National Capital, the Parkes Endeavour Dragons did themselves proud in their performance on the big stage.
The Saturday morning was glorious, and the water was calm as the colourful marquees of twenty-three clubs lined the shore of Lake Burley Griffin, while hot air balloons soared overhead. Popular music and the friendly welcome from the ACT dragon boating community added to the wonderful atmosphere.
The Parkes team combined with the Wagga Wagga Dragons, enjoying the camaraderie of this friendly team.
The first race up was the two kilometre - always a tricky one for the sweep and many clubs lost penalty points for incorrect turns.
Fortunately Endeavour's sweep, Bill Thomas, kept his crew on track as Parkes/Wagga paddled their hearts out through the six turns for 13 full minutes.
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Next were the 200 metre sprints, starting with women's heats; no place was gained in this category, but Parkes stayed with the field.
Opens followed, with Linda Snyman sweeping and Linda stayed calm and cool throughout the long line-up calls and did a fabulous job bringing the team in second, in both heats.
Finally, Parkes raced in the mixed heats, the only category not combined with Wagga. A stand-alone Parkes team of fiery Endeavour dragons shone in this event. They were ecstatic to cross the line first in both heats against very tough competition.
Endeavour Dragons coach Beth Thomas was pleased with the efforts of her paddlers; but is hoping to see them improve in future regattas.
"When the announcements for B finals were called we missed out and felt a tad disappointed; the A finals are for the cream of the crop, so we hardly dared to hope for that," said Thomas.
But when the Mixed Category A finals announcement came, Parkes Endeavour were called, and the spontaneous cheer from the Parkes/Wagga marquee was one of elation.
"It was a dream moment for a coach - our crewracing with the crème de la crème, and I'm proud to say we came in fourth; a mere second or two behind the leaders," Thomas said.
A racing team is just that - a team, and no one person has any more claim to the result than another.
The team, including a sweep, drummer, strokes, 'engine' and 'turbo' paddlers, depend on each another.
Thomas is full of praise for her well drilled team, who give their all in every race.
"It is due to the hard work, dedication and teamwork of each crew member to get us over the line and every member of the Parkes team played their part in this race.
"Every single one has claim to this triumph."
Paddling at Lake Endeavour is more relaxed now for a while - a good time to try out dragon boating!
Call Coach Beth on 0418253045 for information or head to the club's Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ParkesEndeavourDragons.
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