The Gorging Dragons Senior C Women struck gold and Senior B Women were bronze at this weekend’s Canadian National Dragon Boat Championships this weekend in Welland, Ont.
“Best in Canada!”, said head coach Tom Arnold of the Senior C’s (paddlers over 60). “This is a first for any Vancouver Island club.” The B Women, ages 50 to 60, earned their third Bronze in Nationals competition, against stiff opposition.
Standings were determined from points earned over three race distances: 200 metres, 500m, and 2000m.
Along with Gorging Dragons Senior C Open and Senior C Mixed, all four of the Vancouver Island Club’s teams qualified to compete in the Club Crew World Dragon Boat Championships, a biennial event being held next year in Szeged, Hungary.
To qualify for World Club Crew competition, a team must finish among the top five in Canada in its age category, and field essentially the same roster of members the following year at the Worlds. VIP has sent teams to the two previous Club Crew World Championships in Ravenna, Italy and Adelaide, Australia, coming home from the last competition with three gold medals, three silvers and a bronze.
What makes VIP so exceptional, says Arnold, is that it draws all its members from a 460-km long catchment area with a population of 749,000, as compared to the centres that offer our strongest competition: B.C.’s Lower Mainland (2.8 million), Greater Toronto (6 million), Montreal and Ottawa.
Gorging Dragons paddlers come from Saanich and Victoria, as well as communities ranging from Saltspring through Duncan, Nanaimo, Courtenay-Comox and the Tri-Port area. They train year-round with world-class coaching staff in Victoria and Comox, regularly coming together for group practices in Victoria.