I do write this every year but what a ride the past 12 months have been. We have had to endure another lockdown, our festival trainings got throw in the air when the regular times didn’t coincide with social distancing and our beloved Nationals 2022, that’s the crew had been training since October got cancelled.
At the start of the season we had some changes to a few of our teams. Our newest team, VDC TBC had some fresh faces coaching and managing the crew. We welcomed Liv as the TBC manager who took it in her stride to wrangle a team of 20 new and familiar faces. Only three paddlers from the previous season in TBC returned this year however we did have paddlers move across from our women’s teams, VDC Heat and Force who wanted to jazz things up and move into a mixed team this season. Joe Sione, a familiar face within the club was new to our coaching committee this season for TBC. He brought the team to winning bronze in the open final for the second year in a row as well as coaching our mixed crew for Nationals 2022. New to TBC this season too was Amanda as their sweep. Amanda not only swept for both TBC and HEAT, she had corporate teams too that she was also jumping between for trainings and race days.
Ewen McDonald joined our club from sunny Australia. With many years of experience behind his belt he took on the challenge of coaching our master’s team for both Nationals and Festival. I say this was a challenge as the team previously had about 4-5 coaches within the boat so I commend him for bringing some structure. He too also coached outside of the club with corporate teams.
Green Machine started the season with 24 paddlers and come race day they were the only team to have a full team and not need subs on the day
The highlight for this season would have to be our fabulous wahine who took out GOLD in both the women’s A and B finals. VDC Heat with a time of 1.25.48 beating the Wairarapa Dragonboat club by .52 of a second to claim GOLD once again for 2022. However the highlight of the festival would have had to be the Womens B Final where our very own VDC FORCE took out gold and beating CanSurvive with a time of 1.29.50 – winning by .21 of a second
Some key achievements and highlights for the 2021/2022 season:
- 93 affiliated members for 2021/2022 season
- Five VDC Teams competed in the Wellington Dragon boat Festival. Three medals won. Heat = GOLD in Women’s A Final. Force = GOLD in Women’s B Final. TBC = BRONZE in Open Final
- Festival Final Race times:
- VDC TBC – 1.19.27
- VDC Silver Dragons – 1.22.67
- VDC HEAT – 1.25.48
- VDC Green Machine – 1.26.00
- VDC Force – 1.29.50
- A donation received to the club that allowed us to purchase a brand new set of paddles and life jackets. (Getting some smaller life jackets for the females in the club)
- VDC Paddlers competing and working closely with other teams within the RSO
- Working continuously with Wellington Dragonboat Festival to drive and increase numbers in the sport locally
- Paddlers selected for regional rep teams for Nationals 2022
- 2022 Nationals squad formed with three teams – unfortunately these teams couldn’t compete due to Nationals being cancelled
- Got approval to start night time training in the winter months (Underway)
- All year club training sessions now in full swing along with new fee structure announced
- Participated in Nationals Virtual Challenge so far winning – Silver in 200m Small Boat Prem open. Bronze in 200m Standard boat Prem mixed and Silver in the Standard Boat Prem Open in the 2km racing
- New coaches to VDC this season – Joe and Ewen
- Established a coaching unit for our club so we can align our paddlers
- Kathryn Park now Vice chair for CRDBA
- Sam Wilson Treasurer for CRDBA
We have many people within the club that have done fantastic things throughout the season. Steph managing and controlling our festival subscriptions. Kathryn working tirelessly to get Nationals off the ground once again, and the coaching unit who have been working quietly behind the scenes to make all year training happen. Special shout out to Dave Lundon who as resigned from Sponsorship and Fundraising position this year and Erin Webber who has been our Treasurer for the past few years. She wasn’t paddling this season but was still able to keep everything in line from behind the scenes.
Finally, I am excited to continue to help drive and progress the sport, not only in Wellington but in our wider region. We are making some changes this season, big changes that will shape the future of our club for many years to come. Our focus is going to shift away from festival teams as we plan to be more club focused and provide all year training to our members. Our clubs goals have grown and we want to be the best club within our RSO. We want to bring the best teams from around the country to compete in our back yard and we want to take our club and compete at a Nationals level in both New Zealand and around the world. I and the committee can’t do this alone so along this road we need the help and support from our members.
I’ve been the President of our club for the past three years now. Since taking this on I have worked with the committee to try and help grow, develop and change the sport the way we see it today. We have seen the biggest increase in interest as well as members in this sport for some time. We need to adapt and change the way we do things and this year is when we will do it. I want to thank the committee and all club members for their support and effort throughout the season as the success couldn’t have been achieved without any of you.
Great things are coming to Poneke and we are very excited
Rachel Sommerfield (Calvert) | President/Chair