For a competitive paddler like me trying out for the NSW State team was not only a logical path but also one of the best things I’ve done since taking up paddling. I was pushed to my physical limits; made new friends (#paddlefamily); had huge amounts of fun and to top it all off, won the first bling I’ve ever won dragon boating.
I won’t lie, trying out for the State team is hard work, and maintaining the fitness once selected is just as hard. But I believe the reward was worth the blood, sweat and tears….mostly sweat.
The selection criteria is tough, but instead of setting my sights at the finish line (which seemed impossible to reach), I worked on smaller goals to improve my strength and fitness before the trials. This helped massively and made the goals seem more achievable.
After I was selected I was technically a reserve (based on my trial scores), so I kept working my butt off and turned up to every land session and (almost) every water session. By doing that I got off the bench and earned my seat in the boat.
They say it’s more about the journey than the destination. Considering the destination was just one day of racing
I’d agree with that. Along the way I met paddlers from other clubs, made some great friends and consumed a lot of watermelon (thanks watermelon fairy!!).
The land and water sessions are definitely challenging but everyone gave it their best shot. No one said “I can’t do that”. We all just tried our best at every stage. The upside was, because George Louie was the coach, I already knew what he wanted from my paddling technique!
Race day was incredible and the competition was tough. All that hard work and training came down to just a few minutes on the water. But we came through it surprising ourselves and our coaches alike. The prems team walked away with 3 medals and big smiles on our faces.
Would I do it again?… definitely!!!! If only for the watermelon!

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