AS a small regional paddling club, Nowra Waterdragon’s has succeeded in competitions within NSW, went on to win at national level, and last year became world champions in the World Club Crews Championships.
This year the club has produced another individual champion to compete
in the Australian team to go to Hungary in July.
Hilary Brickhill is not the first from the club to be selected for the Australian team, but she is the first woman from the Nowra Waterdragons to represent Australia in the over 60s category, the Great Grand Dragons.
In order to be selected, Brickhill had to pass some daunting physical trials that at the age of 65, a lot of women would dismiss as overwhelming.
Brickhill has been dragonboating for four and a half years.
“I was invited by a work colleague to join a corporate team for the Nowra club’s corporate regatta in 2008. I had a ball and decided I wanted more of the same so I joined the club,” she said.
“The Nowra Waterdragons club was invited to compete at the world club championships in Hong Kong last year and I came back very enthused. The women had a gold medal in the 200 metres race and the club had a silver and six bronze medals as well.”
Brickhill said that she was feeling fit when she heard that the world championships were trialling a new age category, the Great Grand Dragons.
“I decided I had nothing to lose by trying out,” she said.
To be invited to go to the selection camp, Brickhill had to do three fitness tests, which included chin-ups, a beep test, and bench pressing half her body weight 10 times.
She admitted that she spent three months getting fit enough to do the tests.
Brickhill then attended a three-day selection camp where the final choices for the Australian team were made.
Brickhill will head to Szeged, Hungary, in the second half of July.
“As for my goals after that, who knows. I might rest on my laurels, except that the next world club championships are in Italy in 2014. That sounds tempting,” she laughed.
If you are 14 years old or 70, and want to enjoy the passion of paddling in either a dragonboat or an outrigger canoe, visit the Nowra waterdragons website on www.nowrawaterdragons.com.au