Leaving it all on the Water in Olympia

We had a great first race of the season in Olympia yesterday, at the St. Martin’s University Dragon Boat Festival. Our first heat of the day was awesome! In our second heat, we were battling much windier conditions, and it was a very close race. We had some timing fluctuations, and got a little frantic in the finish. Still, we finished with a good enough time to qualify for the Division 1 semi-final.

Now THAT was an exciting heat. Everything came together: great start, timing throughout, and a surging finish. We came in second place, which left us on pins and needles because only the fastest second place out of the three heats in our division semi-finals got to race in the finals.

Sadly, we got edged out by a faster second place boat in the semi right after ours. Of course we were disappointed not to qualify for the final. But I have a hard time being a poor sport when my team does everything right: focus, timing, cohesion, and power. I’m really happy with our performance in Olympia, and it leaves me really excited and optimistic for the season to come.

The Olympia race serves a very important purpose, aside from the endless (and awesome) quest for bling. Because it comes so early in the year, it’s a great benchmark for us to measure progress throughout the season. It also gives visibility to the things we should be working on.

I’m grateful to be part of such an amazing team. We had several firsts yesterday: two people’s first dragon boat race ever, one person’s first race with Habu, and one person’s first time steering in a race. I honestly believe that an outside observer would have had no idea that we hadn’t been a team forever. For me, the most important thing is this: one boat, one stroke. If we come together as a team, everything else (especially bling!) will follow.

I hope everyone is ready to have fun and work hard this year. After all, this is year of the snake! And not just any snake…2013 is the year of the water snake!

GO HABU! – Coach Ilana

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