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.