2013 USDBF Club Crew National Championships
Congratulations to our paddlers who competed this past weekend September 14-15 at the 2013 USDBF Club Crew National Championships at Lake Mercer, New Jersey!
Team Name: Wicked Tuna
Paddlers: Rachel, Nikki, Sophie, Risha, Claire, Susie, Isaac, Judi, Martha, Mike G., Friso, Jim, Chris W., Bob, Alice L., Dan T., Ashley, Mike Me., Mike Mu., Kevin "Original Recipe", Sam, Mildred.
Drummers: Risha (all distances except 200 meters), Sophie (200 meter distances)
Race Coordinator Extraordinaire: Kati
Race Day Team Manager: Ping L.
Race Day Logistics & Equipment: Susie
Kudos: Thanks to Dan T. for bringing hard-boiled eggs for team breakfast. Thanks to Bob and his car (Judi, Mike G., Mike Mu.) for getting us coffee every morning!
This weekend marked a major milestone for DBCB: 12 years after our club was founded in 2001, DBCB was represented for the first time at the USDBF Club Crew National Championships. In the club's first appearance at USDBF Club Crew National Championships, DBCB placed in the Premier Mixed A Division Grand Finals ranking 5th out of the 12 teams who competed.
The team arrived on Friday afternoon ready for practice on Lake Mercer. With exactly 60 minutes on-water time to adhere to, the team did a great job of loading quick and getting warmed up. Getting a feel for the water, we executed a brief but intense practice running through a 500 meter race piece and 2 x 200 meter race pieces. It was very windy and choppy on Lake Mercer that Friday afternoon and we left the practice completely soaked, hoping for calmer conditions on race day. After practice, we gathered in the parking lot so everyone could collect their new DBCB uniforms. It reminded me a little of Christmas day when family gets together to open presents! It was very cool to see everyone trying on their new gear. After most had left for the hotel to get ready for dinner, we had a small incident where Friso's car keys went missing. After about an hour of searching high and low through our cars and the parking lot, including the parking lot drainage holes, "Eagle Eye" Martha spotted them deep inside Friso's trunk below the spare tire. Amazing!
On Friday evening, while many of us were at dinner, Kati sent us happy news of Baby Imogen! Kati and Joey's ears must have been burning as we ooohed and aaahhhed over the future dragon boater's baby photo.
On Saturday, the weather was chilly and cold, and we searched for the sun all day long. The race format called for 6 races total. On Saturday: 2 x 500m, 1 x 1000m. The 1st 500m seeded the teams for the 2nd 500m heat which was also the Final for that distance. In additional, the 1st 500m also seeded the teams for lane placement in the 1000m. Similarly on Sunday: 2 x 200m, with the 1st 200m seeding the teams for the 2nd 200 meter race / also the Final for that distance. 1 x 2000m with the team order determined by the 1000m times from Saturday. The team with the slowest 1km time starting first and the fastest going last. 20 second staggered start between the teams.
Our first 500 meter race was bumpy. We didn't quite connect together when our drummer yelled commands for a Sprint. Despite the snafus, Wicked Tuna placed 2nd in our heat (2:10.43). During our debrief, we acknowledged the lack of unison execution and made adjustments for our next heat. Our 1st 500 meter heat ranked us in the top bracket with the other top teams at Nationals. In our 2nd 500 meter race/500 meter final, Wicked Tuna fought hard this time executing a clean race plan, and placed 5th (2:11.01). In the 1000 meter race (straight course, no turn), we were in our element using our arsenal of Rockets and Engines, Sprints, Power 10 calls, racing for time and placed 5th (4:24.09) overall.
Our team dinner on Saturday night was another memorable event with lots of laughter, noise and cheer. Martha was surprised with yummy birthday cake and we sang Happy Birthday for our super woman :)
On Sunday, DBCB ran solid 200 meter races ranking again in the top 5 teams at Nationals. First heat: 53.22 seconds. Second heat: 52.94 seconds. We did have another memorable incident after our first 200 meter race when massive wake from our just-completed heat hit us from the side as we were about to head back to the docks. We almost lost Jim and Nikki overboard and capsized the boat. Luckily our team reacted fast and prevented a capsize, with Friso losing his paddle while he and the other Right paddlers lunged for the right to prevent the boat from tipping over to the left. Ah, what a memory! We can't wait for the footage from Sophie's head-cam!
In our final race of the weekend, the 2 km (3 turns), DBCB came alive like no other race...there must be something about chasing down other boats that really fires us up :) Timing box cut the heavy water setting our distinctive DBCB 2 km pace. Engines gave us every ounce of power. Rockets were on fire the entire 2 km being called upon every 5 strokes. Risha commandingly yelled her lungs off. Phil expertly steered us to an excellent Start, then clear and clean through 3 turns, avoiding collisions with other boats. We executed Sprints in a 2 km and finished strong (10:01.53).
Memorable quotes from this weekend: Wicked Tuna, please feel free to reply/share any more!!!
- After spotting Friso's car keys, Martha yells "What do I win?!! What do I win?!!" Friso: I owe you a beer. Martha: Yay...but back in Boston after Nationals :)
- Nikki as she was falling overboard "What the F@#%!!!!" Jim: "All I could see was Nikki's a** while my head was about to go into the water"
- As we recounted the near capsize, Phil: I have yet to race with Rachel where she doesn't say "No, this can't be happening!"
- Words cannot express how proud I feel of DBCB right now. On Friday, I had already felt a sense of team accomplishment even before the weekend had begun. DBCB was going to Nationals for the first time ever in the club's history. A major milestone. It was an incredible feeling 2 years in the making.
- Since October 2012 when I returned from Japan and Nikki asked me to return to DBCB, I had hoped and prayed for team success. To me, the journey is always worth a thousand times more than the destination itself and the past 2 years have been an incredibly special journey with the club. Hands down, there is no better experience than paddling with my DBCB family.
Rachel @ DBCB proud