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Linda in Aurora uniform[24819]

BCS Paddler’s ‘Road to Thailand’ Posted on: 07 August 2023

I am still amazed that I was selected to the National Dragon Boat team and can now call myself an Aurora.  It’s been a few years of grit and determination to get to this level and what an honour it is. My dragon boat career commenced when I joined Missabittatitti (MBT) around April 2015.  That was six months after reconstruction-related surgery.  In June I did the Brisbane River 12.5km challenge – I had to stop paddling so many times but have improved so much since then.  Later in the year I started training with Brisbane River Dragons (BRD) sports paddlers for Club Crew World Champs, which was held in Adelaide in April 2016.  MBT won gold in the 2k race.  This gave me the confidence to continue training with the BRD Sports crew and I gradually stated competing with them in local regattas along with MBT.  In 2018 I was recruited by Sydney Dragons Abreast to go to another Club Crew World Champs in Szeged, Hungary.  The team won gold medals at this event.  Since then, I have competed at many more local regattas, Qld State regattas and AusChamps (the last two years on the Senior B Qld State Team).  I have had plenty of fun along the way including participating in DAA Darling Harbour regattas, IBCPC events in Florence and Lake Karapiro.   

You may be wondering what brought me to MBT.  Following my surgeries, I decided that I’d like to participate in some medical research programmes.  One that I signed up for was “Women’s Wellness After Cancer”.  It was a 12-week programme and included a handbook of various topics and tasks to do.  I learnt a lot from this program, including I needed to do more exercise and increase my social circle.  I came across Dragon Boating on the BCNA website, which fitted both criteria.  From the first paddle I was hooked! 

Before trying out for the Auroras team, I already have quite a full training schedule.  Three to four gym sessions a week, plus three on-water.  I have had a personal trainer for several years and have a supervised session fortnightly.  Other sessions I do on my own at a gym with his programming.  Having a good trainer to instruct the correct technique was game-changing.   When I was selected as an Aurora, I was quite concerned regarding how I would cope with the additional training. Now that I’m about to leave I can reflect that the quantity of training post selection hasn’t changed much, just the intensity and expectation of completing the mandatory scheduled program.  Everything we do relating to training and how we’re feeling must be recorded.  Thankfully all the on-water was completed as part of a Qld Hub, which means all local (Gold Coast, Brisbane and Sunshine Coast) trained together (Juniors through to Snr C) in the one boat.  I have been to Sydney twice, one for a two-day training session and one for a mandatory training camp.  It was good to get to know the other members of the team from around Australia.  We have also had to submit a 2k row result monthly to check on our fitness.   

I am of course very excited about representing Australia and hopefully winning gold for Australia is top of the list of experiences I’m looking forward to.  Mostly I’m looking forward to representing my adopted country, enjoying the experience and the whole excitement of being amongst the best in the sport from all over the world.    

Aside from dragon boat and work I like to relax by watching Netflix in the evenings after I get home from training.  Long series with short episodes are good so I don’t stay up too late.  I have several programmes in my playlist at any one time.  

As many would identify with, what keeps me going is an overload of determination.  I’ve had a few setbacks along the way, including a hip replacement, multiple breast surgeries and most recently a stage 1a Melanoma, but I love new challenges and by setting goals, I’ve had some amazing successes .