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Rainier Dragon Boat Festival

I’m kind of  a sad panda this week. The first ever Dragon Boat Israel Festival is underway with races May 17-18. I came back to the US 16 days too early to participate. My winter was spent paddling with a wonderful team of cancer survivors–I’m not one, but they welcomed me anyway. They will compete this weekend and my heart will be with them in the boat.

As a consolation prize, I did make it home just in time to race with the Anniemaniacs at the Rainier Dragon Boat Festival. I was ready to get out there for a real competition. Our rival teams had been lovingly taunting us and turning down invitations to race on practice nights, so we were ready to mop up.

We won our first heat with a time of 02:13:04 (for 500m). We were feeling good and working well as a team at our first race of the season.

We took second in the second heat, even though we’d shaved off 0.5 second to finish  at 02:12:34. The competition was getting better, but placement in the finals would depend on overall time, not wins.

In the semifinals, we won the race by a few boat lengths. That’s us below way ahead of the pack.

We thought we’d cinched a spot in the finals and were feeling pretty awesome about ourselves.

We got off the boat and went straight to check the standings. The wind and current had picked up considerably so we took a hit on our time finishing at 02:20:81. Yikes! We hoped the other boats would have this problem. They did, but we were in for a shock. We’d missed qualifying for the finals by 0.07 second! Two teams we’d beat earlier in the day made it. We were dismayed. Dragon boat can be a harsh mistress.

No matter what, we came together as a team and performed. We were certainly missing some key paddlers and I’m sure that made a difference. But now we are good and mad and hungry for a medal. Our next competition is Alcan Dragon Boat Festival in Vancouver, BC Canada. We will be ready.

  1. May 17, 2012 at 09:16

    Yeah, I would add that the eventual winners of the event, the Fire Dragons, had a time only 1/10th of a second faster than ours in the semi finals. They were clearly the fastest team there, but conditions change, they could have easily been eliminated like us. (They got the third spot) That’s why ignoring place and using time is silly. Especially times from different heats, they change wildly from heat to heat all day long, due to tides, wind, etc. Letting in a team that got second in their heat and booting two teams that got first makes no sense. (Especially given that we beat that team TWICE)

  2. meannie
    May 17, 2012 at 17:15

    tracy, maniacs are so glad to have you back. sorry we didn’t score a medal in place of missing the big race in israel. but ok, let’s crush at ALCAN!!!

  3. May 22, 2012 at 04:44

    You just might enjoy my dragon boating documentary: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLE3443DF25011054F
    Great article; you’ve got a great perspective on the teamwork side of things.

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