Young Australian rep Isaac Sewak has returned from the International Dragonboating Federation World Championships with a swathe of medals, a whole load of new friends and memories of what he labelled the 'best time of his life'.
The Orange paddler travelled to Thailand with the Australian side and picked up a staggering seven medals from team events.
Sewak claimed silver in the 2000-metre mixed, 500m mixed and junior B categories for 2000m, 1000m, 500m as well as bronze in junior B opens 500m and 200m.
But he hasn't taken a backward step since returning, heading virtually staight out to Lake Canobolas and back onto the water.
It was amazing, probably the greatest experience of my life.Dragonboater Isaac Sewak
"It was amazing, probably the greatest experience of my life," he said of heading to Pattaya.
"The races were quite intense but what I didn't expect was an awful lot of waiting.
"You'd be in two or three races a day, the majority of your day was eating or lining up for your next race or lining up for medals."
And while there was plenty of lining up for medals, if you'll forgive a horrifically overused cliche, Sewak said the real medals were the friends he made along the way.
"My favourite parts were definitely the racing or just the camaraderie of the team, paddling with your friends who are the same age of you," he said.
"After those two weeks away I felt so much closer to my friends and made a couple of extra friends."
And as for his gruelling preparation routine, which included training six days a week and travelling to Sydney ever weekend, was "worth it".
"I got there and it was all worth it, I have no regrets with it," he said.
Sewak is now aiming for the state team in 2020 and returning to the international scene in 2021 when the IDBF heads to Hong Kong for the world championships, but he's also looking to become a sweep - the head honcho cracking the whip at the back of the boat.
The move to become a sweep - involving hours logged and a test - has been inspired by Pearl Butcher, who he thanked along with all the Australian and Sydney-based coaching staff, as well as family.
"[Their support] has helped so much and I don't think I could have done it without them," he said.
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