The Collingwood Dragon Boat and Canoe Club's competitive dragon boat crew, the Sidelaunchers, dominated the competition on the Credit River to win the seventh annual Mississauga Dragon Boat Festival.
It was the first regatta of the season for the Sidelaunchers, who are in a rebuilding phase. Several of the crew's regular paddlers are out with injuries for most or all of the season,
with the remaining paddlers working quickly to prepare for this early-season race.
“We chose the Mississauga regatta because it is known to be a low key, fun, community regatta that emphasizes team effort and good sportsmanship,” said Anne Baker, who co-coaches the team with Christine Linton “As coaches we wanted to emphasize these aspects of our team, as well as all the technical skills of paddling that we have been working on. We were fortunate to have two teenage paddlers with us, as well as three Grand Master paddlers.
“It was a great combination. This regatta also tied in nicely with our masters sprint flatwater paddlers, who were competing there the day before.”
However, once they hit the water, there was no question the local crew is in excellent shape, as they won their preliminary heats on the 200-metre course easily in times of 52 and 54 seconds, and by more than a boat-length in front of the competition.
In the final, and beside a crew that had clocked a comparable time to the Sidelaunchers in their second heat, Collingwood relied on its strong start to build a lead over the competition in the first 100 metres. At that point, the 'muscle' in the middle of the boat was called on to put on the pressure, and the Sidelaunchers quickly left the competition in their wake.
“With a little focus and lots of determination, we paddled better in each race,”?added Baker. “We became more cohesive and really let the boat work work for us."
Just a reminder that the Collingwood Dragon Boat and Canoe Club is hosting an open house on June 27, starting at noon. It's a chance for folks to check out what the club has to offer, and an opportunity to hop into a boat such as the dragon boat or one of the club's kayaks and get some pointers.