The St Patrick’s College, Silverstream dragon boating team is approaching an impressive century.
The crew has won 94 consecutive races, including the College Sport Wellington (CSW) title seven times in a row, an Auckland championship and several gold medals at the National Championships.
In 2013, Silverstream won a National gold medal in a 200m race. Their winning time would have secured a gold medal at the World Championships in the same discipline later that year.
Swayde Brightwell is a member of the team and explains the appeal of the sport and theories on the reasons behind the extraordinary success.
“It’s fun and challenging. A lot of the rugby boys do it in the summer because it helps keep us fit. Dragon boating improves anaerobic and abdominal fitness as well as encouraging teamwork.” Brightwell responds.
“We start training in November doing both hill climbs off the water and paddling in the water. Were lucky to have great coaches. Chris Fox and Baz Taniwha have been awesome,” he continued.
In competition racing is typically held over 100, 200, 250, 500, 1000 & 2000 meters. There are usually 10 or 20 boys in a boat. Silverstream contests the shorter distances, renowned for their explosive power. Silverstream holds the CSW course record over 250 meters. What is the basic strategy in the boat.
“We sit in pairs and try and go as fast as we can. The most important guys are the pacesetters and the drummer who sit at the front of the boat. They determine the speed of the boat. We basically all work hard and try and get on.” Brightwell explains.
Eduard Korent was the captain of the 2017 team in. Korent won the CSW all rounder of the year award. In addition to dragon boating, Korent was the captain of the Silverstream basketball, volleyball and athletics teams, winning the regional high jump and long jump titles in the later sport. Korent was a Wellington Under-19 basketball rep.
Brightwell himself is a halfback in the First XV and a regional champion in waka ama but is firmly focussed on reaching 100 wins in a row in the dragon boat. The CSW festival is in March next year, but before that Silverstream will be training intensely and will compete against club in various races.
“It would be awesome to get to 100. We will have to keep fit and work hard. Scots pushed us last year. They have a really strong crew.” Brightwell concluded.
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