The Different Strokes dragon boaters exceeded all expectations last weekend, after placing fourth in their first competitive race.

Thousands of spectators turned out for the Dragon Boat NSW statewide race meet at the Penrith Regatta Centre, providing a more than abundant cheer squad as the Different Strokes took to the water for their first race.

The group, formed earlier this year, have been training hard twice a week in preparation for the racing season. It’s paid off, with the group placing fourth out of five and fourth out of six in the 200m mixed masters qualifying heats.

Although this didn’t win them a spot in the finals, training coordinator Alastair Paterson was still proud of the result.

It exceeded everyone’s expectations, he said.

We’ve been training twice a week but this was the first time we’ve taken part in a competitive race and it was a great experience to be a part of. It also gave us the opportunity to see a whole lot of other teams and see how they do it, so we’ve picked up pointers that we’ll be working on in training. It’s going to be important for us to improve our starting techniques and learn to really focus as a team.

The day also offered an opportunity for the club to introduce themselves to the rest of the dragon boating fraternity.

It really is a very friendly organisation to be involved with. Everyone knew who we were and I think we were a bit of a novelty item because we were a new club anyway, so there was a lot of cheering as we came through the finish lines.

The Different Strokes will now continue their training session, right over the Christmas and New Year period in an attempt to get into peak performance level before their next race in January and the three-day dragon boating festival held in February as part of Chinese New Year.

info: To get involved with the Different Strokes email: [email protected]

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