Hard work pays off — just ask Waterloo’s Dragon Boat Club (UWDBC). Eight of its members will be competing at the World Dragon boat Racing Championships this summer in Welland, Ontario as part of team Canada.</p>
Five students and three alumni were selected out of a pool of paddlers from all across Canada to represent the country in August at the first Dragon Boat World Championship to ever be held in Canada.
The UWDBC, which began as a small club has grown in reputation and in size.
“When I joined, there were only three teams. Last year, the club had at least six or seven teams.” Karen Lai, Waterloo alumna and member of the team representing Canada, told Imprint via email.
“I am very happy for how the club has been spreading the dragon boat spirit in KW region and am excited to see the sport grow in the future,” she added.
To be able to make it to the national championships, the selected had to go through an intense training program. The selection process began in fall 2014 with a baseline fitness test — about 150 people from all over Canada tried out — followed by another tryout in February.
About 70 paddlers were selected to attend a four-day camp in May, in which the training was from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Only 25 males and 25 females were selected for the world championships in August 2015.
The training tests consisted of endurance bench presses, paddle erg, planking, pull ups, 1500m run, and an outrigger canoe time trial. Many, though, began their training process earlier.
“My training for this tryout started in August, so I’ve been training maybe around 10 times a week” said Kiyoshi Morishita, a member of the team.
Apart from the physical challenges, a common challenge for the members was balancing practices, school, work, and social life at the same time.
“It’s forced me to develop good time-management skills,” Morishita said. A source of support and motivation for all the members was the team itself.
“Personally, I think having fellow teammates try out for the national team with me gave me the courage to actually sign up and pursue the challenge,” Lai said. Coaches, family, and friends were also a source of encouragement for the selected members.
“I could not have made the U24 [under the age of 24] team without my coaches, teammates, friends, and family” Samantha Boher, another member of the team, said via email.
Although the members faced various struggles throughout the process, their hard work and persistence paid off.
“Making the U24 team, despite my self-doubt and struggle, is a reminder that we are all so much more than we realize,” Boher commented.
“There were rarely days where I could say not a single part of my body was not sore, but I constantly reminded myself that if this is what it takes to make the Canadian national team, it’s worth it.” Lai said.
The championship is a five day event, from August 18-23. Over 20 countries will be represented at the championship.