Four local Dragon Boat teams will compete at the International Dragon Boat Federation's Club Crew World Championships in Adelaide, South Australia from March 30 to April 7, 2016.
Joining the paddlers Down Under is also a local Sookie.
These crews train out of the VI Paddling club and are made up of the Gorging Dragons Senior B (over 50) Womens; Senior C (over 60) Womens; Senior C Mixed; and Senior C Open teams.
The Dragons’ Senior C Womens team did pretty well for themselves by winning gold in their first race (2000m event) which represents the first CCWC gold medal for any Dragon Boat team from Vancouver Island.
In the 500m event, the Senior C Open took home the gold as well.
Silver decked the other divisions too; the Senior C Open team in the 2000m and Senior C Mixed. The Senior C Women’s won bronze.
“The grit, hustle, and hard work of these athletes, combined with the experienced guidance of the world class coaching staff at VI Paddling, has paid off,” said Sarah Wegwitz, mental fitness and fitness coach.
Most of the athletes hail from Greater Victoria, with many others living as far away as Port McNeil, Comox/Courtney, Port Alberni, Nanaimo, Duncan, Vancouver, and Nelson.
Wegwitz noted the teams have been intensely training several times per week since the fall of 2014 in all weather conditions. The bulk of the training was on Victoria's Gorge Waterway with a smaller contingent practicing on Comox Lake this past winter.
Previous versions of the Gorging Dragons team have won bronze and silver medals at the CCWC competitions in 2004, 2008, and 2014.
Many of these athletes developed from recreational paddlers to high performance athletes competing for the first time on the world stage. For others it is their second time, having competed and won bronze at the 2014 CCWC in Ravenna, Italy.