Updated: Aug 3
Welcome to the Fast Five Series, where we chat all things dragon boating with some of the club's members, in five short questions.
This week, we caught up with one of the powerhouses of the engine room, Allan. Not only is Allan a machine in the boat, but as one of the club's seasoned paddlers, he's a friendly face who is always happy to offer guidance, inspiration and free hugs!
Allan (left) and Ken (right) finishing back-to-back races at the Bei Loon 8km Challenge Race
What are you best known for among your crew members?
I think being competitive is the trait most would say describes me. Sometimes I'm quiet in my approach and sometimes I'm cheeky and outgoing but it's always lurking and I'm always up for a race so you can at least rely on me if I'm in your boat!
You have a reputation for being a beast in the engine room. What's the biggest motivator and what drives you to push through pain barriers?
I'm not sure if beast is the word but I am passionate about the engine room and its role for the team. I have 2 inner drivers - one is being highly competitive so whenever I lose I'll work out what to improve and start on it straight away. That explains why I'm about 10kg heavier than when I arrived at DSA 3 years ago - I realised I needed more muscle to contribute power so I had solid gym workouts in my off-seasons. The other driver is being surrounded by people I value and respect, so I train hard to earn my seat in the boat then make sure I don't let anyone down.
You're a regular at OC6 - what do you love most about it and how has it helped you take your paddling to the next level? Apart from improving paddle endurance, the OC6 provides a slower rate where I've learnt to improve my catch, understand the feeling of water behind my blade and how power can be lost, and also a better understanding of each paddler’s role and their dependence on each other. Together you work out the power-to-rate ratio that's going to work for your crew and that can change week to week. Back in the dragon boat you simply paddle with a higher rate but need to feel the same resistance behind your blade.
What is your funniest moment, proudest achievement, and biggest high with DSA?
Funniest Moment? I can't think of one in particular. I like to joke around with people and have laughs every now and then but nothing stands out. In saying that, I've attended as many sessions as possible in anticipation of a sweep falling off during training but they're all too good! Proudest achievement is receiving the Coaches award for Male Paddler of the Year last season. Winning a Club award was never on my radar so it was a really nice surprise. Biggest High was one of our Senior men’s races in Adelaide last year. We qualified fourth fastest for the finals and our time was well behind third place so we changed our tactics and raced with a rate we never thought we'd do in Seniors crew and it won us a medal.
What have you got out of dragon boat racing that you never would have imagined?
Firstly I didn't think it was possible to get back in shape at my age after a 12 - 14 year break from exercise, which makes George the cheapest personal trainer in Australia! I Initially joined DSA because it was on my bucket list to see if I can handle just one season, so I'm surprised how much I love it and I'm enjoying the friends I continue to make along the way. It's a great club with diversity, purpose and competition - internal and external - and the constant process of learning and improving keeps me interested. Training is tough but I honestly enjoy catching up with teammates and immersing myself into that team environment each week.
Eyes on the prize
Cockatoo Cup 2021 - 14km OC6 race (L-R: Ian, Allan, Kira, Ken, Raymond, Jim)
Enjoying having a little fun with the crew on Valentine's Day!