CCA Previews ’18: Dragonboating

By Shermaine Loh (18S03D), Girls’ Captain, Loo Zen Yee (18S03M), Girls’ Vice-Captain, Lucas Cheng (18S06Q), Boys’ Captain, John Fu (18S06E) Boys’ Vice-Captain

If you have ever taken a walk around the Sports Hub at Kallang, you might’ve seen long dragon boats glide through the calm waters, with rowers moving and chanting in unity. Have you wondered what it might feel like to be the one on the boat? Well, ask anyone in the team and they’ll tell that you that while it’s fun, being a dragon-boater definitely isn’t easy.

With the sun relentlessly beating down upon our backs, perspiration dripping into our eyes, every training pushes us beyond our limits, but we do it anyway. Why? We do it for the person next to us, and the person next to them. We do it for our team, our family.

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The first team photo.

Dragon boating is a sport new to Raffles Institution and just entering its second year. On top of all the tough trainings, we have also had to face challenges unique to a developing CCA as we try to find our footing in this unfamiliar environment. It is through these struggles that our team has turned from a group of strangers into a tight-knit family that supports each other no matter what. As a sport founded on teamwork, our belief and trust in each other has been paramount to our team’s success.

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The team after our first National Schools Dragonboating experience.

With CCA trainings three times a week, two of the three sessions being at the Water Sports Centre, it is definitely a demanding sport that requires a high level of commitment. On top of that, we are also expected to fit in self-training sessions on off-days, and even possibly extra training sessions closer to competition season. But don’t let this scare you off, because with hard work and perseverance, the lessons learnt are well worth it.

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The boys’ team during school training.

Unlike what many may believe, our trainings do not merely consist of raw strength training. Instead, we focus a large part of our training on perfecting our paddling technique so as to improve our paddling efficiency. It is during these tough trainings that we mature and become stronger not only as athletes but as people. It is when you have been pushed to your absolute limit, that your teammates will give you the motivation to push on and persevere.

With trainings requiring us to stay focused and give our all, we may seem like all work and no play, but that’s far from the truth. Trainings are peppered with jokes, laughs and encouragements between teammates, and the high spirits often extend past training. Your teammates will quickly transit from strangers to close friends that you trust and believe in.

Besides preparing for dragon boating competitions, members of the team will also get to attend 1-Star and 2-Star certification courses, as well as try out canoe-polo, and even race boats, such as the kayaks and canoes. There are no prerequisites to join the CCA and students of any fitness level may join us. If you are willing to put in the effort and work with the rest of your team to reach greater heights, then Raffles Dragon Boating warmly welcomes you to come join us!

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