By: Sabrina Barutha
I have been watching Dragon Boat races since I was 7 years old, as that is when my dad started in the sport with DSA. I used to come and watch many races, and my family would occasionally even travel with DSA to Nationals some years. Thinking back to when I was younger, I clearly remember riding my scooter up and down the Penrith 500m strip and riding next to the boats for all the races. I would cheer for DSA as they paddled up to the start line and during the race, I would always think about how exciting it would be to actually be in the boat.
I was in a Dragon Boat the minute I turned 12, and I have been in the sport ever since – I am nearly 23. During this time, I have represented NSW in the Junior division 4 times (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016) and had the privilege to be the female captain of the Junior NSW team in my final year as a Junior (2016). From the moment I started with DSA, I was usually in all the teams on race day as I would either paddle or drum. However this clearly wasn’t enough for me as I became a sweep at the age of 14. Over the years I have swept all types of crews (mixed, womens, and opens) at club level within the Junior, Premier, and Senior divisions. I was selected for the first time to sweep for the Premier NSW team in 2020, however unfortunately the team didn’t race due to Nationals being cancelled (COVID). I have also swept for many corporate and social teams at the races at Darling Harbour.
My love and passion for the sport has kept me going over the years, even when completing the Year 12 HSC, a Bachelors degree, and a Masters degree. I hope I stay in the sport as I move into the next chapter of my life, and potentially could even introduce my own children to the sport. As cheesy as it sounds, I would like to think that I will still be in the sport when I become a Senior C!