The 2019 Arizona Dragon Boat Festival on March 30th and 31st at Tempe Town Lake Marina was the first race of UC San Diego’s Dragon Boat season due to the cancellation of College Cup in November. It is a very exciting race because it is a 2-day event in which 13 collegiate teams, 35 mixed teams, 8 open teams, and 20 women’s teams compete in their respective divisions for placement.
This was the first race experience for many of our new recruits this school year and a good foundation for the rest of the season. While we didn’t perform as well as we have in year’s past, we still had some very solid race pieces where we came together, channeled our energy and pulled the boat together across the finish line.
We entered two teams: The UC San Diego Whitey Tighties and UC San Diego Blue Boxers. On Saturday, both teams competed in mixed seeding rounds, collegiate seeding rounds, open and women’s. The UC San Diego Whitey Tighties moved onto the mixed A semifinals, and the UC San Diego Blue Boxers moved onto the mixed B semifinals. However, only the top 3 teams from each semifinal make it to the final round, meaning that both UC San Diego teams missed out in qualifying for the mixed division finals. All the races were very close within seconds to fractions of a second of each other. The Whitey Tighties Men’s open boat did make it to the Open finals, where they placed in 5th with a time of 2:04.43, less than a second away from taking 3rd place. The UC San Diego Blue Boxers placed 4th in the collegiate B semifinals, which was an unfortunate .2 seconds away from taking 3rd. Although the UC San Diego Whitey Tighties placed last in the collegiate A division finals, it is an accomplishment to be competing with the top college teams in division A.
Though we did not place as well as we had hoped, we gained some valuable race experience and will use what we learned to improve in the future. This was a good opportunity to finally see where we are as a team and how the competition looks so we can focus our training for our upcoming races.