The weekend of 18-19 March was a hot weekend of racing in every sense as the Canberra dragon boat community came together for the 2023 ACT Dragon Boat Championships.
A dozen or more hot air balloons above our Lake Burley Griffin racecourse set the scene for a something special.
For the third time since forming in 2020, Invictus Dragon Boat Club paddled out in four women’s and mixed championship categories – taking on eight of the region’s other clubs.
The weekend is the apex of the ACT dragon boating season. The six earlier regattas allow crews to build fitness and hone their paddling technique, culminating on the start line to be crowned ACT Champion.
Coach Cath set the scene at the 7am team huddle directing our competitive streak inward, asking us to race ourselves and to go beyond earlier personal results, rather than focussing on the boat next to us.
For Invictus, the ACT Champs are a critical step on our path to the Australian Championships at Albury in late April. The winning times at the 2022 AusChamps were posted on the team notice board above bags of lolly snakes and bananas for added inspiration.
Racing over 2km and 200m on Saturday and 500m on Sunday, a range of strategies play out, but the Invictus long and deep stroke and our commitment to each other remain a constant.
With two heats before the final providing an opportunity to improve and fine tune our performance, that sense of getting better and stronger together is a highlight and evident on the final scoreboard.
Day 1 highlights
Senior A Women’s 10s 2km - 1st 13:06:88
Prems Mixed 10s 2km - 2nd 13:38
Senior A Women’s 10s 200m - 1st 54:69
Prems Mixed 10s 200m - 3rd 56:28
Prems Women’s 10s 200m - 3rd 59:44
Senior A Mixed 10s 200m - 1st 52:57
Day 2 highlights
Prems Women’s 10s 500m – 3rd 2:47 (8 sec improvement over the day)
Winning time at 2022 AusChamps – 2:28
Senior A Women 10s 500m – 1st 2:32 (9 second improvement over the day)
Winning time at 2022 AusChamps – 2:24
Mixed Prems 10s 500m – 2nd 2:32 (6 second improvement over the day)
Winning time at 2022 AusChamps – 2:26
Senior A Mixed 10s 500m – 1st 2:26 (12 second improvement over the day)
Winning time at 2022 AusChamps – 2:15
Side by side with our own results, our friends in other clubs pushed Invictus to be better, pointing to the strength of the Canberra competition and the dedication each club has shown at training.
Around the racing, Invictus volunteers helped out with time keeping, boat wrangling, and paddler marshalling - time in the weekend’s blazing sun and temperatures stuck in the mid to high thirties won’t be forgotten easily.
But neither will the success we shared together on the water, the lessons learned ahead of AusChamps, the confidence we take forward into training, or the friendships strengthened around the BBQ and esky at the end of the day.
The upcoming 'off season' is the perfect time to 'have a go' with Invictus and get on the lake. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more info!