Paddling (and drumming) to victory
24 July 2008
A team of 17 staff and students from across the University, with friends and family members, came second in the Bath Dragon Boat Race earlier this month. Two University teams – Bristol Allsorts and The Motley Crew – took part in the charity event, between them raising more than £1,000 for the British Heart Foundation.
The two crews of 17 – 16 paddlers and one drummer – were co-ordinated by Andrew Bond, Research Assistant at the Bristol Heart Institute. Runners-up Bristol Allsorts lost by only a second to last year’s winners, despite it being their first race and despite some of the crew never having been in a boat before.
Dragon Boat racing has ancient Chinese origins and its history has been traced back more than 2,000 years. Today Dragon Boat racing involves teams of up to 20 paddlers in a 40-foot boat with a drummer at the helm.
Andrew Bond said: ‘Prior to the race, few of us had even heard of Dragon Boat racing, let alone been in a Dragon Boat. We managed to arrange a couple of practice sessions with the Bristol Empire Dragons, a local Dragon Boat team, which really paid off.
Each of the 12 crews taking part completed three timed heats, and the two with the fastest times of the day went through to the finals. Throughout the day, both of our crews improved their times drastically and the Bristol Allsorts managed to make it through to the finals, narrowly losing out to the local Bath team, Dribble Dragon.
Everyone involved really enjoyed the day, and we shall definitely be back next year to try to go one better and win both gold and silver medals.’