JAMES Sheahan Catholic High School’s senior dragon boat team has qualified for the state championship in Penrith following a dazzling display of dragon boating in Sydney last weekend.
Tackling the Chinese New Year Dragon Boat Regatta in the junior open and junior mixed categories, a division that allows up to 23-year-olds, Sheahan made the final in both categories, finishing second to The Zodiacs.
Coached by dragon boat guru Pearl Butcher, the Sheahan team trains once a week and will ramp up preparations for the April-run championship in the coming month.
Sheahan Dragon Boat coordinator Kieron Hogan said despite the team set to be slightly depleted, with Year 12 exams scheduled for the same time, the team would still push hard for championship success.
“Unfortunately the state championships fall in the middle weekend of our Year 12 half-yearly exams and their studies are always the first priority. This will affect the team but with continued hard work at training, we are definitely in with a chance to win,” she said.
Last weekend’s Chinese New Year Dragon Boat Regatta was the third year the school has sent a team to compete.
So far, the school has achieved a place every year.
“The popularity of this sport has been continually increasing and we are lucky to have a wonderful resource like Lake Canobolas in which to train,” Hogan added.
“The students love the sport as it is something different and is one of the few water sports we have access to.
“The competitions are brilliantly organised by DBNSW and are always competitive but fun.
“It is definitely a physical sport but it creates a great sense of camaraderie without being gender or age specific.”
The state championship will be held at Penrith on Sunday, April 6.