The Kootenay Robusters Dragon Boat Team recently competed in the recreational women’s division of the Lethbridge Dragon Boat Festival.
The event was held at Henderson Lake on July 5, 6 and 7. Since launching its dragon boat at the beginning of May, the team, with members from Trail, Rossland, Grand Forks, Christina Lake and Castlegar, has been paddling three times a week under the direction of coach Trish Ostlund, to get ready for this early season challenge.
In total, 16 women’s teams raced each other for top honours, competing in four heats to determine placement.
By the end of the tournament, the Robusters had taken first place in the A division consolation round. Considering that the top-four teams that took part in the A division medal round were youthful amazons, the Robusters (whose average age is 60) were quite pleased with their results – placing fifth overall.
Most dragon boat festivals hold a special race for breast cancer survivors, since so many women’s teams have been organized to provide emotional and physical support to survivors and to raise awareness in communities across the world.
For this race, the Robusters blended with a team from Cranbrook (Abreast in the Rockies) since neither team had enough survivors to compete on their own. Despite never having paddled together before, the combined group managed a second place finish, only one second behind the winning team.
The Robusters are now taking a break for three weeks and will be starting their practices again early in August – with a plan to compete in the Penticton Dragon Boat Festival in early September.
Before starting up again, the Robusters would like to recruit more paddlers, inviting any woman interested in dragon boating to come for a paddle.
The team welcomes breast cancer survivors and those who wish to paddle as supporters. For more information please contact 250-365-5953.
– Contributed by Jan Miklethwaite