Nelson’s Kootenay Rhythm Dragons paddler Brooke Campbell made the Canadian National team earlier this summer.

Brooke Campbell makes national dragon boat team

The Nelson athlete and her teammates are training in Victoria through the winter to prepare for the 2016 World Championships in Australia.

What began with a paddle stroke has taken Nelson’s Brooke Campbell to the national club crew dragon boat team in Victoria. After less than one minute speaking to Campbell about dragon boat racing, it’s apparent that she is passionate about the sport.

A Kootenay Rhythm Dragons member since 2012, Campbell’s drive to elevate her skill led her to apply to train with the Canadian national team.

“I wanted to up my game,” she said, adding she had always been involved in sports, which she attributes to her upbringing as both her parents were very active as her father, a university professor, and her mother, a teacher, were always involved with varsity sports.

Campbell, who is in her 60s, travelled to Victoria last March for the 10-day tryouts. While her physical and technical abilities were tested she said it was also about how a person meshes with the team. One ability she figures was in her favour was her ability to paddle both left and right.

She passed the test and made the team which will represent Canada at the Club Crew World Championship in Adelaide, Australia in March.

Brooke Campbell (second from left with blue bandanna) racing with the Canadian National team. Anthony Gallaccio photo

The team qualified at the Canadian Nationals Dragon Boat competition in June. In Australia, they will defend their silver medal in the 500 m at the 2014 World Championship in Italy. They will also race in the 200 m and the 2 km.

“We are gunning for gold,” she said.

To prepare, Campbell is training with the team all winter out of Victoria.

“It is getting pretty cold on the water these days but the coach warms us up with our pretty darned fast with our training,” she said.

As a senior athlete she said she is humbled by the team’s efforts and history.

“They are all just awesome and great role models,” she said. “I am the newbie and just trying to keep up to this amazing bunch of athletes.

Campbell loves dragon boat racing. When she first joined the sport, she found it an amazing experience” as she was going though personal changes at her life.

“There’s a mental toughness,” she said, “that’s more about your focus on the stroke and timing.”

The team immediately after a race at the nationals this summer. Anthony Gallaccio photo

At the nationals she said the difference between medal winners were a matter of .05 of a second. She set the scene of 20 paddlers, and a drummer in the boat paddling.

You all have to work like one,” she said. “You can’t be a caterpillar. The water is going so fast.”

She said so far her experience training with the team has far exceeded her expectations.

The training…you have to push really hard.

The ever changing conditions of the water adds another element to the sport.

“The water is always different-the wind, the tide, she said.

She said the two kilometre races is like “watching the chuck-wagon races”.

“It’s a running start with paddlers bringing the boat around the buoy so tight, all in unison.”

The comparison for the potential chaos of the gladiator type rodeo sport becomes clear when she described the stormy weather conditions during one race that took them through 85 mm of rain and high gusting winds.

“It’s a living hell, and the adrenaline in the boat- it’s a grueling race at the national level.”

Campbell credits the Nelson club for her love of the sport and Kootenay Ryhthm Dragons coach Puleng Pratt for instilling in her the love of dragon boat racing.

“Sport is a really good thing to bring into the family,” said Campbell, who can see that legacy now being passed on to her two girls as well.

She believes there are so many great athletes” in this community because many parents are active.

Campbell is committed to dragon boat racing.

“It is my present marriage,” she said. “I love it so much, I think it’s a wonderful sport… great for grounding people and for a group of women to get together recreationally. We have a great team in Nelson.”

Just Posted

Selkirk College students protest proposed tuition increases

Sudents’ union says this year’s 2 per cent increase puts education out of reach for some

Nelson project funds rural schools in Nepal

Mountain trekker David Swain runs the Altitude Project

Trail area homicide investigation continues

Jan. 14 marked one year since Jordan Workman was discovered in the trunk of a burnt car

Leafs, Nitehawks settle for 4-4 tie

Nelson is now unbeaten in nine straight games

Former ski champ and MLA’s son hope to open Castlegar cannabis store next month

Felix Belczyk and Ben Conroy are in the approval process for local Spiritleaf outlet

UPDATE: B.C. legislature managers accused of excessive travel, personal expense claims

Clerk Craig James, security chief Gary Lenz call allegations ‘completely false’

9 brains, 3 hearts: Some wild facts about octopuses

Things to know about the giant Pacific octopus, which is naturally found in the waters of the U.S. West coast, the Aleutian Islands and Japan

Hollywood announces 2019 Oscar nominations

Netflix has scored its first best picture nomination, something the streaming giant has dearly sought

B.C. man fined $10,000 after leaving moose to suffer before death

Surrey man was convicted last week on three Wildlife Act charges

‘Blue Monday’ isn’t real, but depression can be

CMHA encourages people to prioritize their mental health

Anti-pipeline group wants NEB to consider impact of emissions, climate change

Stand.earth filed NEB motion asking to apply same standard to the project as it did with Energy East pipeline

B.C. man charged in 2014 snake venom death of toddler

Henry Thomas was taking care of the North Vancouver girl the day before she died

Parole granted for drunk driver who killed B.C. RCMP officer

Kenneth Jacob Fenton will be able to attend alcohol abuse treatment, nearly three years after crash that killed Const. Sarah Beckett

B.C.’s largest public-sector union wants inquiry into money laundering, drugs

Union officials say Premier John Horgan and Attorney General David Eby have not ruled out the possibility of a public inquiry

Most Read