Baby Long Beach Dragon Boat Festival
The 2019 Baby Long Beach Dragon Boat Festival on April 14th at Mother’s Beach in Long Beach, CA was the second race of UCSD’s Dragon Boat season. There was not much turnover time from our last race in Arizona only two weeks prior. This is always a fun race because local California teams- adult, collegiate, and high school- compete at this miniature version of a larger race (“Big Long Beach”) that occurs during the summer. Unlike other major races, these are no gender’s races. This is a short, quick-paced race day because the only two divisions are Mixed 500m and Mixed 200m races, both of which we competed in.
This was the second race experience for many of our new recruits this school year and a good opportunity to build off of things we had learned from our previous race. With the race mentality still fresh in our heads (having just recently competed in Arizona), we were able to set our race jitters aside and focus in our efforts on pushing ourselves together and paddling for our teammates across the finish line. While we didn’t quite make it to the finals in most of our races, we pulled together and produced some of our best race pieces of the season.
Our two boats: UCSD Blue and UCSD White started the day off with 500m seeding races. These determined which semifinals the boats were placed in, ranging from A-E. The top two teams from each semifinal race would then move onto the finals. The Blue boat placed 4th in their seeding round, which put them in the C semifinals. However, they did not move onto the finals as they placed 3rd by a mere .3 seconds away from second. The White boat placed 1st in their seeding round, which put them into the A semifinals. However, they placed 3rd in their semifinals so they did not move onto the finals. This proved to be a very emotional experience for many of our senior paddlers, many of whom have been paddling for all four years throughout their college career. Though it was one of the White boat’s best race pieces of the season, it wasn’t quite enough to move them onto the finals. It was very disappointing for many seniors who view this race as their last chance in college to compete against other collegiate rivals, especially our fellow UC’s- Berkely, Irvine, and UCLA.
Despite the initial disappointment with the 500m races, we were able to make a bit of a comeback with the 200m races in the afternoon. Blue boat placed 2nd in their seeding, placing them in the B semifinals, where the finished 4th. The White boat placed 1st in their seeding, placing them in the A semifinals, where they again finished 1st and moved onto the A finals. This was a huge success, as the White boat was able to compete against other high caliber rivals in the Mixed A division finals, where they placed 2nd overall. This was a very exciting race as the top 3 teams finished within 1 second of each other.
Though we were unable to compete in the 500m division finals, we still managed to place 2nd overall in the 200m sprints. This was a good opportunity to see our improvement from our last race and also a chance to acknowledge our new recruits as veterans of the team.