Its 7AM, 2 hours before the 1st heat, and numerous teams are already out on the sand next to the water, setting up their tents. Among them, still waking up, is UC San Diego Dragon Boat Team. The sky is slightly grey, inducing some nervous thoughts on how water conditions will be as the day progresses.
The Long Beach Spring Dragon Boat Festival, or “Baby Long Beach”, has long been regarded as the regatta where the new recruits, paddlers who joined the UC San Diego Dragon Boat Team at the beginning of the year, are officially initiated to veteran-hood, responsible for guiding and inspiring the new recruits to come. And surely enough, the day was a challenge. Both Blue Boat’s and White Boat’s 1st race pieces were rough, though Blue Boat – the boat with the greater majority of new recruits- ended up in Division C, while the White Boat went on to Division A as planned. But, not to be discouraged, Blue Boat reflected on what had gone wrong and pulled things together, and ended up placing 1st in both the semi-final and final heats by over 2 seconds. Meanwhile, White Boat built on their races and achieved 1st in the Division A semi-final, and then 3rd in the final a whole second faster than their semi-final time.
Once the 500 m races – the main course, the races everyone prepares for – were out of the way, both boats breathed a little easier, knowing that the 200 m races would be pure, stress-free fun. In fact, both boats ended up in the Division A semi-final, inducing friendly jeers and making the heat feel not much different from weekend practice back in Mission Bay. It was almost as exciting as one boat crashing into another and capsizing in the middle of Blue Boat’s first heat, so that Blue Boat had to paddle over and help collect the team’s paddles and pfd’s. In the end, only White Boat moved on to the Division A final to take 2nd place, but seeing the smiles everyone shared after the regatta was over, it was undeniable that the day, with its sky turned clear and blue, was a success. Now, until our next recruitment, we have no “new boat” and “vet boat”. Just vets.
The end of winter quarter usually means a much deserved relaxing break from the turbulent times of completing projects and finals, but this was not the case for the UC San Diego Dragon Boat team as they were immediately thrown back into the deep end, competing in the 14th Annual Arizona Dragon Boat Festival.
It had been two years since the UC San Diego Dragon Boat team last participated in the Arizona Dragon Boat Festival, but after ten weeks of intense practice and preparation, the team traveled to Arizona to take part in the festival on March 25. Many teams participated in the event: adult teams, youth teams, high school teams, and college teams. Among the college teams there were some usual names in the University of California system such as UCLA, UC Irvine, and UC Riverside.
As per tradition, the first day of the festival is dedicated to having the teams compete to be placed in the respective A, B, and C divisions in the Open, Collegiate, Mixed, or Women categories. Once the teams are organized into the appropriate categories and divisions, the competitors rest up and return the following Sunday to perform for gold. After rigorously battling for the best placements possible, The UC San Diego Dragon Boat team placed in the A division for the 500 meter Mixed, Open, Women, and Collegiate race categories and B division for the Mixed race category as well.
For the final day of competition, the UC San Diego Dragon Boat team collected themselves to achieve a sharp, pointed focus for every member to align themselves with as they each recalled what every minute of practice was spent on. For these moments alone, everyone knew what they had to do to get to the top.
Once the race heats were near set and done, the UC San Diego Dragon Boat team placed fourth in the B division and third in the A division for the Mixed category. In the A division, the team fell behind UCI in second and UCLA in first. This inspired the team for the following heats as the placements for the Mixed category were determined by only fractions of a second. At the end of it all, the team earned first place in the A division for the College, Open, and Women race categories, bringing home the gold for UC San Diego. The team also placed third in the 250 meter Division A race.
The 14th Annual Arizona Dragon Boat Festival was a great success for the team, but they remain focused with the upcoming Baby Long Beach Spring Race in mind. Now, the team looks forward to preparing and refining themselves for the next competition on April 23rd.
As we thanked and celebrated our country’s military veterans for their service to the nation this Veterans Day weekend, the UC San Diego Dragon Boat team geared up for competition at the 12th annual CDBA College Cup Championship. The team traveled to the Bay Area for the event which is held at Lake Merced in San Francisco. College Cup is the first real dragon boat race for the members recruited this fall quarter. This experience of seeing the many other college dragon boat teams competing against each other out in the water, surrounded by the beats of the drum and the calls of their team members, is truly an exciting one.
As for the others, the veterans approached the competition with the same intense fervor they approach every competition. Many family members came to spectate their loved ones’ accomplishments. Alumni from the team also came to reunite with the team they once raced with. The atmosphere was one of celebration; still, the UC San Diego Dragon Boat team never lost sight on what they came to do, there at Lake Merced.
Their months of training for the event were greeted with clear weather and an equally determined group of other college crews, all racing for gold. Crews from UCLA, UC Irvine, and UC Berkeley are three of many other crews from different colleges that came to compete and celebrate sportsmanship in dragon boating.
The championship held heats for both open divisions and mixed divisions. At the end of the day, the UC San Diego Dragon Boat team’s Open Division crew took 3rd place in the Open Division, and the Women’s Division crew took . The UC San Diego Dragon Boat team’s mixed crews, “UC San Diego Dragon Boat Blue” and “UC San Diego Dragon Boat White,” placed 5th for the Mixed Division B and 4th for the Mixed Division A, respectively.
With the end of the championship, the UC San Diego Dragon Boat team reflected on their efforts. They were truly satisfied in that they put forth all they had for themselves as individuals, for their desire to support their team members, and for their upholding of sportsmanship as athletes in the dragon boating community. What an incredible weekend this was, for the celebration of dragon boat and for that of the service of our nation’s military veterans! Now, the team prepares for the holidays for a much needed time to rest, form their resolves, and establish their goals together.
With the end of Week Zero here at UC San Diego and Week One coming around the corner, many excited students of UC San Diego as well as the veterans of the UC San Diego Dragon Boat team have signed up to try out for their spot on the team. This weekend was reserved for the new recruits and veterans to demonstrate their hard work as well as enjoy each other’s company in the festivities planned by the team’s social chairs.
On Friday, the social chairs held a beach bonfire mixer at Mission Bay for the new recruits and veterans to interact and find common ground with each other in being part of the same UCSD community.
This Saturday and Sunday took an extreme turn when the group met again at Mission Bay for the water portion of the tryouts. Many of the new recruits boarded a dragon boat for the first time. The veterans got their opportunity to paddle alongside the new recruits and teach them how to paddle powerfully and efficiently. The new recruits found their opportunity to demonstrate their athletic talents in learning a new movement. There was also a section of tryouts where the coaches leveled the playing field by having the new recruits and a few veterans perform circuits by the shore.
Everybody knew that they were competing with each other to earn their spot on the team, but not once did a word of ill will leave the mouths of the athletes this weekend. Instead, everyone supported each other and strove to help their fellow colleagues as members of the UC San Diego community. The tryouts truly demonstrated the sportsmanship that emanates from these student athletes.
Tryouts are not over just yet. The recruits and veterans have a few more chances to prove themselves in the land portion of the tryouts that will take place in Warren Field this Monday and Tuesday at 8 p.m.. After this, the next UC San Diego Dragon Boat team will be selected to represent UC San Diego in the crew’s upcoming dragon boat competitions and races.
UC San Diego Holds Down The Bay
The UC San Diego Dragon Boat Team, just this weekend of April 9th and 10th, has come out to Mission Bay to demonstrate just how far the values of “Pride, Tradition, and Passion,” spelled on the back of their jerseys, can take a team in the 7th annual San Diego Dragon Boat Race. The last time UC San Diego competed for this particular race, namely, the 6th Annual San Diego Dragon Boat Race, they came out first in the College Division, second in the Mixed Division A, and first in the Mixed Division C. This time around, after volunteering all of Saturday, the team has shown their fervor for the sport by placing first in the College Division while also taking first in the Mixed Division A, second in the Open Division, and second in the Women’s Division. The forecast stated that rain would fall on the site, but instead, good weather blessed the entire race site for the duration of the competition, filling the team with spirit. At the end, the team definitely had something to be proud of, for they had something to show for all of their hard work and perseverance. With the veterans seeing how much further they can go while the newer recruits begin to affirm their growth as paddlers, the whole team remains filled with determination. The forecast stated that rain would fall on the team, but instead, good weather blessed the entire race site for the duration of the competition, filling the team with spirit. Now, the UC San Diego Dragon Boat Team gears up for the upcoming Baby Long Beach Race which is in just under two weeks away. Never complacent, the team remains humble and in preparation for more.
Just a few days after the conclusion of recruitment, the UC San Diego Dragon Boat team brought their newly-formed team to the 6th annual San Diego Dragon Boat Race at their home site of Mission Bay. The race, which occurred on October 3rd and 4th, would not have been possible without UC San Diego students volunteering all day on Saturday, and then both volunteering and racing throughout Sunday.
UC San Diego proved to be the dominant college team at the race by earning 1st in the College Division, 2nd in Mixed Division A, and 1st in Mixed Division C. The Dragon Boat team also earned a trophy for the overall fastest 500m race of the day. This was a solid performance, which is notably more impressive after considering that tryouts had been held throughout the week before. Practices were held six out of the seven days before the race, and all the recruits were pushing themselves to the limit on each day in hopes of securing a spot on the team. They displayed incredible mental fortitude, pushing each other throughout the week and then continuing to push each other during the race.
Bursts of pouring rain interfered with other events throughout San Diego, but they proved to be nothing more than a mild inconvenience to the paddlers at the race. Theodore “OP Ted Man” Ochiai described it well on his feature with CBS 8 News: “We train through everything, so we’re ready for this.” For the next five weeks, UC San Diego Dragon Boat will be training hard for the CDBA College Cup Championship, and you can be sure they’ll be ready when it comes.
On the weekend of September 26th and 27th, the UC San Diego Dragon Boat Team hosted open practices as part of their annual Recruitment Week. Just over a hundred UC San Diego students came out to try the sport in hopes of earning a spot on the team. With only 55 spots available, the competition was fierce. The hundred potential recruits were incredibly diverse in their composition, including 1st years, 5th years, Masters and even PhD students. Over the weekend, first-time paddlers were evaluated both in their ability to pick up paddling and their physical fitness on land. Using boats from the San Diego Dragon Boat Team, the team was able to accommodate such an unusually large group. With such a huge turnout to recruitment events, the UC San Diego Dragon Boat team is looking to build a strong team this year. Tryouts continue to be held throughout the week, and prospective recruits endure workouts designed to test their limits and see how far they can push not only their mental barriers but also their teammates. With the San Diego Dragon Boat race coming up next week and the CDBA College Cup Championship in less than two months, the Dragon Boat Team will continue to push the new recruits and returning members alike to grow stronger like they have never been before.
College Cup Championship
This weekend, the UC San Diego Dragon Boat Team travelled 500 miles north to San Francisco to compete in the 11th annual CDBA College Cup Championship race along with the top dragon boat teams in California. After six weeks of intense training, UC San Diego showed their true strength and put on excellent performances throughout the day. The veteran crew won each of their races up until the finals, and the new recruits who just joined this quarter showed a dramatic improvement from the San Diego Dragon Boat race held just five weeks ago.
UC San Diego took 5th in the A Division College Championship Finals, 6th in B Division College Championship Finals, and 6th in Open Championship Finals. This in itself was an accomplishment worth noting; it has been many years since the Open crew made it to the finals.
Throughout the day, parents, friends, and alumni stopped by to show their support for the team. Some alumni from as far back as the graduating class of 2011, before some of the current paddlers were even in high school. The overwhelming support really showed the strong roots of the team and showed how being part of UC San Diego Dragon Boat has left a mark on each generation of paddlers.
5th in College A Championship
6th in College B Championship
6th in Open Championship
College Cup Championship 2015
UC San Diego took 5th in the A Division College Championship Finals, 6th in B Division College Championship Finals, and 6th in Open Championship Finals. This in itself was an accomplishment worth noting; it has been many years that the Open crew made it to the finals.
Throughout the day, parents, friends, and alumni stopped by to show their support for the team. Some alumni graduated as far back as 2011, when some of the current paddlers were not in high school yet. The overwhelming support really showed the strong roots of the team, and showed how being part of UC San Diego Dragon Boat has left a mark on each generation of paddlers.
New Recruits Make Their Debut
The Beginning of a New Wave
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