Some mentions. Captain David had probably his toughest season, having to stand people down for virtually every event; its not a pleasant task. When we were in danger of letting the season drift into mediocrity he read us the riot act (Caldicott) and the team hasn’t looked back since.
Our Newbies - I think we had seven debutants this season and they have fitted in brilliantly, adding a breath of fresh air and enthusiasm to the club, not to mention some gadgets for tracking calories. There are several more paddlers who have started training but not yet summoned up the courage to race; see you in a Hurricanes shirt next year though.
The Pacers - For reasons of injury and variety our traditional seat one pairing has been dismantled and several new pacers were thrust into the limelight. Every single one of them did sterling work with “control” being the watchword. At the forefront was Sam O in his final season before heading off to university – we wish him well and look forward to welcoming him back as guest at any time.
The Management - With Les S moving on to a role as BDA Official the mantle of team manager fell on the shoulders of Sue W. While Sue doesn’t yet quite have Les’ poker face when it comes to announcing results, the switch has been otherwise seamless – great job Sue.
Coaching - thanks to everyone who took sessions when I was on sabbatical, working or holiday, you have kept the unit working well. Well done Robert for managing the O1 sessions, four out of four of your juniors made the cut for GB.
Helms - although we have two cracking race helms in Jim and Nigel, their changing circumstances meant that we had to rely on others to cover training, particularly on two boat days. Several youngsters qualified under the tutelage of Sue M last year and have risen to the challenge of helming this season, some going so far as to helm in BDA events. Well done guys and thanks for keeping us in a straight line.
The Paddlers - several new faces out on the lake (and river for that matter, thanks Wraysbury for hosting us) have allowed us to have two boats on many occasions – always more fun. I heard very few grumbles, it was very positive all year and there was a real JFDI spirit.
Other Halves - yes I know we are away a lot, train a lot and our trainers stink. Thanks for putting up with us.
The Future - next stop the GRR, two boats for the first time in 10 years and a plethora of race virgins – can’t wait. Then the quadrathon, I believe plans are afoot to make this even better than last time so other Dragonboat clubs please get involved.
The Conclusion - a really good season on and off the water, lots new friends, great experiences, lessons learned and ways we can become even better. And did I mention we won the Nottingham event?