THE Nowra Waterdragons grand masters mixed team recently raced to their fifth straight title at the NSW State Championships at Sydney International Regatta Centre.
The Waterdragons entered a tough field, with rival clubs making it known that they were out to take the trophy from Nowra.
The weather was threatening throughout the morning, with swirling wind gusts alternating with dead calm.
Storm clouds gave way to clear blue skies only to reappear bringing thunder and pelting rain during the finals in the afternoon.
The race distance was 500 metres and eight teams from all over NSW raced in two heats to make the finals in this event.
Nowra won their heats in almost exactly the same times at 2.14 seconds, two seconds faster than strongest rivals, Central Coast.
However, as Central Coast traditionally keep their best for the finals, Nowra were experienced enough to be wary of them.
Over 3000 spectators jumped to their feet as the boats came towards the finish line.
Nowra were in the lead but were nudged at the 400 metre mark, and as they drew level in front of the grandstand, the noise of the crowd cheering them on seemed to reach them.
As Central Coast forged ahead Nowra lifted, and that same dogged determination kicked in and the boat surged within 50 metres from the finish line to take the win by a third of a boat length.
Nowra shaved four seconds off their heat times to win and the team received a standing ovation for their effort.
In other events, Nowra teamed with Penrith Pendragons men to form the Nowra Pendragons Opens team.
They worked hard in the final but were beaten by Central Coast.
In the masters mixed event the Nowra team fought valiantly against much younger rivals of over 12 teams but failed to make the finals. The masters women’s team was undermanned and underpowered in the finals to relinquish its previous years of dominance in that event.