Pickering Dragon Boat Festival

I KNOW I’M EXTREMELY LATE WITH THIS POST AND OTHERS. PLEASE BEAR WITH ME. Note that the remainder of my conference series will be posted at some point as well.

The Pickering regatta was the second race of the season for Iron Dragons and NDRC Women, and the first race of the season for NDRC Green, Yellow, and open. A new thing this year for NDRC is the creation of two mixed teams. We put in two approximately equal teams for Pickering and it was an interesting experience. We have so many members this year that we practice with two boats, and I think it’s significantly contributed to our training improvement, as we always have some internal competition pushing each other to go hard.

Pickering was the first regatta for Iron Dragons where the 10/10 male/female rule was implemented so it was nice to see that they were still successful even with an equal gender split vs. the 12/8 configuration from Milton. Iron Dragons Blue won the university cup, losing the 200 m to New College Green, but winning the tiebreaking 500 m. The exact same thing happened last year (losing the 200 m, but winning the 500 m). I feel like the team is trying to stress me out by creating more suspense. New College tends to have a faster stroke rate and they also generally have a lot more muscle than Iron Dragons, so that could be where their advantage in the 200 m comes from, particularly since I think they usually take the start. Fortunately, Iron Dragons had the better travel in the 500 m, though I believe New College also had a lot of timing issues in their race. Additionally, for the first time in their history, Iron Dragons made it to the community A final, whoo! They actually came in 4th for the 200 m, behind the two NDRC teams and Warriors, but 5 th in the 500 m, to Hammerheads. They also did terribly in the 2 km, but I think they might have just been really unmotivated at that point. Still, making the A final was a huge feat and an accomplishment on its own. At Milton, I drummed 5/6 races for Iron Dragons, but at Pickering, I only did 3/6 with James doing the other half. I’m slowly weaning them and it looks like they’re doing pretty okay without me.

NDRC Green was slightly faster than NDRC Yellow. Both teams came in 2nd and 3rd respectively to the Warriors in the 200 m and the 500 m. Green was quite close to Warriors, though, which was encouraging. Both teams, however, sucked in the 2 km, coming in 4th (Green) and 6th (Yellow). It was actually terrible. We had tried out a marathon stroke, basically shorter and faster, with much less body movement. We managed to keep our rate in the 80’s over the duration of the 2 km, which was impressive, but while the stroke may work for others, I’m not so sure it worked for us. Due to our abysmal performance in the 2 km, in the overall rankings NDRC Green came in 2nd, but NDRC Yellow got bumped down to 4th with Hammerheads squeaking in. That sucked.

Regarding the gender teams, NDRC Women came in 2nd to Outer Harbour Premier Women. We had actually won the 200 m, but just barely lost the 500 m. There seems to be a trend here. NDRC Open came in 2nd in both distances to the Hounds. I steered both teams, and it was actually my first time ever steering a men’s team. It was quite exciting, though also a little frightening. I was a bit nervous, especially for the 200 m race and particularly since I hadn’t had that much practice steering the men in practice. I had thought that Gavin might give me some time with them to practice, but nope, apparently not. Fortunately we didn’t crash. But that 200 m race was fast! Good thing I had us lined up straight at the start because I was not at all confident in being able to make any adjustments during the race. Besides the heat, the open and women’s races were back-to-back, so we had to get a motorboat to ferry me from the women’s boat to the men’s while Joanne steered the women back to the docks. The day was kind of fun, though a bit nerve-wracking to be in so many races, as well as to keep track of when to be where and with whom.

Generally, a fairly though not entirely successful weekend. We have work to do.

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