KUCHING – The Swinburne Dragon Boat Club’s (SDBC) race team, Swinburne Dragons, made their debut at the recent Sarawak International Dragon Boat Regatta (SIDBR) 2023, qualifying themselves in the semi-finals while competing against 59 other teams from 20 countries.
Swinburne Dragons shone as a truly international team that reflects the diversity of the community at Swinburne University of Technology Sarawak Campus. The 32 members of Swinburne Dragons came from six Malaysian states (Sarawak, Sabah, Johor, Melaka, Selangor and Penang) as well as four other countries – Sri Lanka, Kenya, Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates.
The team took part in five of the seven categories at the three-day international race, which took place from 27 to 29 October 2023 at Kuching Waterfront. The five categories that the team participated in were the International Premier Mix 12, International Premier Men 12, International Premier Women 12, International Premier Mix 22 and the International Premier Open 22.
Swinburne Dragons achieved truly impressive results as a debuting team. Swinburne Dragons’ International Premier Women 12 crew paddled all the way into the semi-finals, after inching out multiple international teams, amongst them teams from China, Hong Kong, Spain, Italy, Qatar, Thailand and a few others.
At the same time, their International Premier Mix 12 crew missed qualifying for the semi-finals by a mere 0.09 seconds, while the International Premier Mix 22 crew was only 0.42 seconds short of qualifying for the semi-finals.
“We are a very young team; most of the members had only less than half a year of experience with the sport and our newest members had only held a paddle for the first time less than two months before the race,” commented Mr James Loi Chun Han, the team manager and club advisor of SDBC.
“Nonetheless, their determination, dedication and absolute tenacity have allowed them to paddle faster, harder and farther than many of the far more experienced international teams,” he said.
The team was coached by several Swinburne alumni, led by head coach, Ms Octavia Teo Siew Foong, who reflected, “It was a fulfilling experience as I saw the growth of the Swinburne Dragons members, from having only the bare minimum of knowledge in dragon boating to being race-ready in such a short time.”
Marc Harting Ajin and Rehvathee a/p Krishnan co-captained the team, and were both very proud of the team’s achievements. They are now planning for the 2024 campaign and Swinburne Dragons will resume training in a few weeks’ time, in which they hope to be able to push harder in order to go farther and faster, and ultimately bring home the coveted gold medals.
For more information on Swinburne Sarawak, visit its website, Facebook page (@swinburnesarawak), Instagram page (@swinburnesarawak), Twitter page (@Swinburne_Swk), TikTok page (@swinburnesarawak) or YouTube channel (Swinburne Sarawak).