Becoming a Team Canada dragon boater

University of Waterloo Dragon Boat Club membersSuccess is a process; it takes time and effort to achieve great things. For five UWaterloo students who were just named to the Under 24 Canadian National Dragon Boat Squad, success was a process that took time, effort, dedication and teamwork. And paddling. Lots of paddling.

UWaterloo Dragon Boat Club members Corinne Hanlon, Bronwyn Forrest, Alfred Chen, Kiyoshi Morishita and Samantha Bohmert were chosen out of a pool of athletes from all across Canada each vying for a spot on the national team. The selection process was a rigorous one, beginning in September 2014 with a fitness test, followed by a second test in January to demonstrate improvement. From there, the top athletes were invited to the four-day selection camp held at the beginning of May to determine the U24 team roster.

During the nine-month period between September to May, each of the students underwent intensive training to prepare for the selection process.

I was surrounded by several national-level paddlers and coached by former Olympian Gavin Maxwell during my training... working with athletes well above my calibre gave me a good idea of what I needed to work towards.
-Alfred Chen

In addition to individual training, UWDBC members found support in their peers who were also going through the selection process.

We had a Facebook group where people could post when they were heading to the creek or to the track... having the added support from everyone else going through the process made a world of difference in finding motivation to complete these extra workouts.
- Corinne Hanlon

Preparing for the selection camp also involved finding a balance between school and their training. While the process differed for each member of the team, organization and time management were one of the keys their success. 

The most important things for me were to prioritize and organize....  I also make sure that I take time to unwind with friends and family, so I can be focused while training and studying. 
-Samantha Bohmert

Of course, the best part of the process is accomplishing what you set out to do. 

It was an amazing feeling to get the e-mail saying I made the mixed and women’s team rosters. It was so exciting to know that all the hard work I put in for the past eight months paid off. 
-Bronwyn Forrest

The team will be competing at the World Dragon Boat Racing Championships in Welland from August 18-23. Club alumni Karen Lai, Kent Ho and Teresa Yeung will also be competing for Team Canada at the world championships.

For anyone who's interested in trying dragon boat racing for the first time, these UWDBC members say: just go for it!

Everyone starts somewhere - every strong person I’ve come to know through dragon boat all had a first time in the gym or a dragon boat. We’re thrilled that you’re interested in doing something we are passionate about, and we want you to be here

-Samantha Bohmert

Dragon boat is a team sport and a great way to make friends, on and off the water. All it takes is commitment and hard work. Paddles up!
-Kiyoshi Morishita

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