Junior combined team turns heads
AS if the bright race shirts and multi-coloured propeller hats weren’t enough, the results of the Grafton Dragon Boat Club’s Torpedos should have done the trick.
“Everybody knew who the Torpedos were,” club member Angela Crompton said.
The Torpedos, the club’s junior combined team, returned with smiles, medals and enhanced reputations from last month’s Australian Dragon Boat Championships in Canberra.
The 14 Grafton junior members combined with paddlers from Coffs Harbour, Port Macquarie and Orange to keep up with the older and physically bigger teams, eventually claiming five bronze medals out of six club events.
They were not quite so successful in the State v State event, paddling in fourth place as the Northern Region NSW team, with the dual teams from the ACT putting on a powerhouse display to win the silver and bronze medals, and the NSW Southern Region team winning gold. Only 2.5 seconds separated first and fourth.
“The results are even better when you know this team has only paddled together for a year and are only able to get together at major regattas,” Crompton said.
Adult members from Grafton also brought home gold, silver and bronze medals in the State v State regional events, paddling as part of the Northern Regional State Squad in the Grand Masters, Masters and Premier divisions, mixed, women’s and open’s teams.
Grafton Dragon Boat Club also entered the national championships for the first time this year, entering a Tens Team in the club events.
The team performed credibly, reaching the semi-finals in both the Masters Mixed 200 metres event and the Premiers Mixed 500 metres race, and vowing next year to reach the finals.
Club president Martin Thompson said that out of all the regional clubs in NSW, Grafton had the most athletes selected to represent the state at these Australian championships.
“Club membership is 50 so to have 24 members make the grade shows the depth of talent and ability in the area,” he said.
Thompson also congratulated all the athletes for their dedication and hard work in training leading up to the event.
The club members are looking forward now to competing at some of the local regattas over the next few months.