Our Very Own Aurora – Sue’s Journey to Welland


sueSome 12 months ago I challenged myself by saying “I want to try out for the Aurora’s Senior C Team” which are competing in Welland, Canada, August 2015.

The initial selection was based on our ability to perform a number of strength tests.

To do this we were required to choose three out of five  requirements – 1 Chin-up, Bench Press half your body weight x 10 reps, Kettle Bells 12Kg how many you could lift in 1 minute & change sides for another minute, 70 sit-ups in 2 minutes, Beep Test.  I chose Chin up, Bench Press, Kettle Bells and also did the sit-ups.   This was all carried out at a Gym arranged by DBSA where there were other paddlers trying out, the support from all the members was embracing and encouraging together with exciting.  I was able to achieve the required strength test.

sue_is_captain_300x240From that result it was enough for me to earn a spot to try out in Melbourne on a 3 day camp a couple of months later.   In Melbourne we were then judged on our performance on a TK1 (single craft) together with all of the other bench marks.  Once again the excitement of all being together trying out for a spot in the team was high, therefore, the challenge was on to do better than I did before, especially when I saw the other women pumping out the sit ups, chin ups etc.

In the single craft we were put up against another paddler to race down 250 metres, turn and race back, keeping in mind the whole time I had to hit that water with attitude and show my speed and strength together with technique.   We were then placed into dragonboats and challenged for lots of racing 500m one after the other, 3 x 2k races one after the other and so on.  At the end of the 3 days I nursed home the magic blisters on the bottom and hands, however, I felt pleased with myself as I had improved on all  the bench marks I previously set.

A few days later I received an email that I had been accepted into the Team, which is one of the best feelings one could experience.   I then thought to myself I will now need to focus on what I can do to earn a seat in the boat and set out training harder with my own Club in the dragonboat, getting out on the water on the TK1 more often and hitting the Gym.   The team all met together at the Nationals in Perth for a little get together and then again in Sydney in May for a day camp.

boat_600x400Every month before Camp 2 in June we were required to send our bench marks to the Coach and also the distance we had recorded on the water in kilometres.    By the time June came around my bench marks had improved again increasing the number of reps and weight.

I was asked “what Club do you belong to Sue?” Proud to say I was an ADELAIDE SEA DRAGON! And have been for 9 years.The icing on my cake was when the crew voted for me to be Female Captain.Camp 2 -, 4 days in Tallebudgera on the Gold Coast, Queensland was intense from the 1st day, the second day we were put up against the Senior B crew, race after race, always finishing off a day with a couple of 2k races.   Although it was hard, it was exhilarating, the team were bonding together and we all fed of each other to be the best that we could be.   I believe I have earned the spot as a stroke, however, when it comes to Canada anything can happen where the Coach may make changes.

Five weeks left of training (six days a week!) with the other Aurora paddlers from South Australia, Canada here we come!

The ultimate goal now is to win “GOLD” for Australia!

group_268x200We left for Canada on the 8th August to meet up with the Australian Team a total of 317 ranging from Juniors through to Senior C.  We were all housed at the Brock University in St Catherine’s approx. 1.5 hrs drive from Toronto.

The first week was all about Team bonding and training on the water at the course in Welland.

The Aussie Team proudly marched at the Opening Ceremony which was held with the beautiful backdrop of Niagara Falls together with all the other Countries.   It was a spectacular event and the goose bumps were huge.

Down to business:  Racing started on the 19th August to the 23rd August up early every morning boarding the old Yellow School buses for a 45min ride to the course.  On the bus my team would engage in singing our Team Song “Eye of the Dragon” (we are better paddlers than singers!) and then Maggie our Coach would give us a rundown of what was required from us to perform at our best.

At the course we would start with our warm up & stretches, always working together as a team. We raced 2000m, 500m & 200m mixed and open.

medal_150x200I had the pleasure of walking up to the platform six times being presented with 1 x Gold and 5 x Silver medals.  Receiving the Gold was the best with the Aussie National Anthem holding the flag high.  Actually, they were all the best.

Canada’s Team were very strong, however, we did give them a hard time only losing by less than a second on many of our races.

To achieve these goals a lot of support is required from family and Club Team Mates, which I was blessed with both.

It was the experience of a “life time” for me, never would have thought that I would have been representing Australia.