PROUD: Travis Gardner-O'Connor with his medals from the International Dragon Boat Federation titles.
PROUD: Travis Gardner-O'Connor with his medals from the International Dragon Boat Federation titles. Contributed

Travis paddles on world stage

DRAGON BOATING: It may have been his first time travelling overseas but Travis Gardner-O'Connor rose to the occasion when he paddled for Australia in the International Dragon Boat Federation Under 18s titles in Divonne-le-Bains, France.

Gardner-O'Connor came home with a bronze in the 2km men's crew and 500m and a silver in 200m men's crew and said he was happy with his results.

"The whole experience was amazing, I loved it.

"We weren't going over to medal but to bring home three is great,” he said.

"I had never experienced anything like that before, so it was a big eye-opener. It was tempting to look around at all the other crews and take it all in when you're overseas in a foreign country but we kept focused and did our best and got some great results.

"We raced well and did the best we could and really enjoyed our experience, it was a once-in-a-lifetime thing to go over and compete for our country.”

Gardner-O'Connor said his favourite part of the trip was enjoying the atmosphere of his fellow rowers.

"Everyone was so close after the trip,” he said.

"We weren't as close when we got over there, but we're like family now after the whole experience.”

Now that he has returned home to Grafton, Gardner- O'Connor said he was looking forward to getting back to training with the Grafton Dragon Boat Club.



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