PETER LORD

Australia’s first gay and lesbian Dragon Boating club, Different Strokes, achieved another milestone by reaching its first final at an official Dragon Boating NSW regatta.

The club entered three crews in the 200m races held at the Sydney International Regatta Centre in Penrith.  The Sabre crew raced in the Premier Open category, while the other two crews — Gin and Tonic — raced the Premier Mixed category, in which at least half the crew must be female.

Sabre and Gin both made it to their finals after getting through some tough heats. Sabre finished fourth in the Premier Open final, just three seconds behind the winner. Gin finished sixth in an extremely competitive B Final where the top six crews were only separated by two seconds.

Club president Nigel Bedford was extremely impressed with the results.

“What an awesome day. The club’s first ever final at a full regatta and two of them at that. Our Gin crew made it through to the B Final, and even though they didn’t finish among the medals, they lifted their performance to new highs,” he told Sydney Star Observer.

“And our Sabre crew capped off the unbelievable day by finishing fourth and showed we can mix it with the top teams in NSW.”

After their early success Different Strokes have a lot to look forward to over the remainder of the season including regattas at the Central Coast, Penrith, state championships, Chinese New Year regatta at Darling Harbour and the national titles at Canberra.

“We have a lot of big races to compete in but our performance at Penrith is extremely encouraging,” club coasch Diana Dent said.

“Our club is only three years old and competing for a medal at such a young age has the other clubs talking.
“We have six weeks before our next big race and we have a lot of training to do if we want to achieve a podium finish.”

info: To join Different Strokes email info@differentstrokes.org.au, call Ray on 0412 322 336 or search for Different Strokes Dragon Boat Club in Facebook.

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