THE Nowra Waterdragons Dragonboat Racing team are in training for an assault on the World Club Crew Championships in Ravenna, Italy in September.
They will compete in 50-years and over Grand Masters and 60 years and over Great Grand Masters events.
Nowra Waterdragons won gold, silver and bronze in the World Club Crew Championships in Hong Kong in 2012.
The teams, in order to be fit and competitive for their latest challenge, train rigorously for up eight hours per week on the river and anything from two to six hours per week in the gym.
The inspirational Hilary Brickhill is one of the crew members and will take part in her third championship.
Brickhill also represented Australia in last year's world championships and won gold.
She has been invited to attend the selection camp for next year's Australian team.
Brickhill’s commitment to fitness inspires those around her and she always takes on challenges.
Her wholehearted approach to sport was displayed while she was at school.
"My sporting interests in my youth were wide ranging,” she said.
"I liked participating in all school team sports and swimming though I excelled at none of them.”
She did not let age stand in her way.
“As an adult I did much less sport for a number of years except for cycling, mostly to work,” she said.
“However, I did cycle round Northern Europe in my 30s and in my 50s took up tae kwon do, in which I have a black belt.
“I was a high school teacher for 40 years and still do occasional casual teaching because I enjoy it, especially the social aspects and the interaction with the students.”
She loves her current sport.
“I've been paddling for five-and-a-half years and my gold medal count with my team is eight gold in NSW Championships, four gold in Australian Championships, and two World Championship gold medals,” she said.
“I could not, however, do anything without the whole team.
“I have a tolerant husband, Mick, who refers to himself as 'the athletic supporter'.”
As an elite athlete she follows a training routine.
“I train with my team usually four times a week on the beautiful Shoalhaven River,” she said.
“In addition I do pump, body balance and boxing classes most weeks and I have a routine at home of weights.
“I also run three or four times a week, mostly up and down the steep hills of Brogers Creek.”
She has a great philosophy when it comes to aging.
“I mostly don't remember that I am growing older, except when I need new reading glasses,” she said.
“I generally carry on as if I were 25, except that I probably eat a lot more healthily and exercise much more.”
Brickhill has been nominated in the Shoalhaven Sportstar of the Year awards.
Her team along with all of the Nowra Waterdragons supporters wish her success with the nomination.