Members of the NSW State regional squad get ready to train in their dragon boat on the Clarence River.
Members of the NSW State regional squad get ready to train in their dragon boat on the Clarence River. Adam Hourigan

Dragon proves speed demon

EIGHTY-two competitors from Newcastle to Maclean have secured a place in the NSW Dragon Boat team to take to the water for the National Titles.

The best state regional lineups from around Australia - including a side from South Coast of NSW – will meet at the Adelaide event.

Training for the squad members started mid-January and will continue every week until April 22.

Squad members have a rigid program to follow to build up their endurance in readiness for the day of racing, with events over 500m.

Dragon Boating is all about working together and all 20 paddlers have to unite in a lineup which also includes a drummer and sweep.

The training bases are at Newcastle, Port Macquarie, Mylestom and Grafton.

The squad will train as a whole squad in Port Macquarie next month.

The squad members are expected to train hard on the water, and these compliment individual club training and gym workouts.

Peter McGrath, from Newcastle, is the divisional coach, Alison Haylett, Camden Haven and Robin Smith from South Grafton the assistant coaches, Maree O’Meally-Smith, from South Grafton, is the NSW State Regional team manager and Coffs Harbour’s Madeleine Holahan the Northern Division team captain.

Teams will be entered into the women’s division both in Masters and Grand-Masters, and mixed division and men’s categories.

This is really exciting for the regional squad members as only a women’s team and a mixed team were entered into the National Title’s inaugural campaign on the Sunshine Coast last year.

Smith admits it is a huge commitment but the chance to wear state uniforms makes it all worthwhile.



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