Different Strokes, Australia’s first GLBTQ dragon boating club, capped off its most successful year by winning the prestigious NSW dragon boating Club of the Year.
Last weekend the club competed in the NSW Championships where it fielded a record four teams, including a women’s team for the first time.
The club competed hard and proved that it is now a very serious competitor. However, it was the awarding of Club of the Year that meant more than winning an event.
The award is made to the club that is considered to have made the greatest contribution to the sport during the season. This year, 47 dragon boat clubs around NSW were eligible for the award.
The award capped off an amazing year for the young club. After starting the season with 10 members the club has grown to 60. This season the club competed in five regattas including the highlight of the dragon boating calendar, the Chinese New Year races at Darling Harbour.
“I’m extremely proud of the growth and success we’ve had in only our second season,” club president Nigel Bedford said.
“The highlights include winning our first race trophy, entering our first all-women’s crew and entering a float in this year’s Mardi Gras.
“However, without doubt our biggest achievement is getting this award. The fantastic reception we got from the 1000-plus dragon boaters at the state championships when we collected the award was one I will long remember.”
Bedford said the club’s award could be attributed to its rapid growth, competitive spirit, friendliness, willingness to contribute volunteers to assist in running regattas, and its overall progress.
The club was told the decision by the board of Dragon Boats NSW to award the title to Different Strokes was unanimous and reached in record time.
Since Diana Dent, Australian representative and gold medal winner, started as the club coach in January the club has improved its best time over 500m by a full three seconds.
“At this rate the club will be challenging for a place in the final in no time,” Bedford said.
info: Different Strokes will continue training during winter. The first regatta of next season will be in early August. For information on joining the club, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.differentstrokes.org.au