Henley Dragons kicked off their BDA league events by attending Typhoon Dragon Boat Club at London Regatta Centre on Sunday (21 May). An event Henley Dragons were due to compete in 200m and 500m sprint races against teams from across the country. Henley entered the “mixed“ league and “ladies” league for this event.
Having trained hard (on and off the water) over the Winter period avoiding all the fast running red waters which nature delivered us over the Winter and Spring months, Henley were ready to race.
Focused and determined, fielding a strong but limited squad of 18 paddlers, drummer and helm. This was due to be the squad all day. Kicking off the day as they meant to go on, Henley smashed their first 200m heat in 52:88, with St Neots behind in a time of 56:70 and Windy Pandas in 57:27. This got Henley past the reportage straight into the semi final. Following stronger teams into this round, Henley fought hard in the semi final four boat race to come 2nd. Sadly the BDA (British Dragonboat Association) classed the open crews in the same competition as the mixed (50/50 men/women) races which pushed Henley from 3rd position (excluding “open”) to 5th place. Henley won their Minor Cup in a time of 53:08, closely followed by Notts Anaconda in 53:63, Soaring Dragons in 54:66 and St Neots in 55:17.
Over the lunch period, Henley ladies teamed up with neighbouring Wraysbury Dragons to form a composite team called Hensbury. Having huge admiration for each other’s clubs but not having raced together previously, Hensbury stormed their first race in a time of 57:86, leaving Kingston Royals 58:48, Soaring Dragons 58:91 and St Neots 1:02:23 in their wake. Lining up in the finals, Hensbury put on a great performance coming third in the Major Final, sadly unable to hold off Kingston and Secklow 100. Teams who train together every week.
Lastly Henley faced the 500m. The team now slightly jaded from the unexpected heat and sunshine were now starting to feel the day’s racing. Sadly Henley had no reserves to rest and refresh the squad. Undeterred, Henley pushed on coming 2nd in the heats, which then necessitated Henley having to rep. A rep Henley won strongly. In the Cup Semi Final, Henley came in behind Soaring Dragons, Typhoon and Thames. Henley now competing against rested squads who had the luxury of being able to rotate the crew. Finishing boldly and with only 17 paddlers in the last few races, Henley came 5th in a time of 2:20:53 for the 500m.
Henley put on a determined, strong and competitive performance at LRC. Competing with crews with larger numbers, Henley showed their resilience and hard working nature with limited numbers. The team shone in their team work both on and off the water. Henley now look forward to competing in Milton Keynes on the 3 June. Henley are always recruiting new members, get in touch with Henley Dragons if you’d like to have a go!