Paddling her way to the top

Brooke Campbell won 3 gold medals and a bronze with Victoria's Gorging Dragons at the IDBF Club Crew World Championships earlier this month.

Nelson's Brooke Campbell poses with her medal haul shortly after competing at the IDBF Club Crew World Championships in Adelaide

All the vindication Brooke Campbell needs for months of grueling training now hangs around her neck.

The Nelson native won three gold medals and a bronze at the IDBF Club Crew World Championships in Adelaide, Australia, April 1 to 7. Campbell, who competes with the Victoria-based dragon boat team Gorging Dragons, is still riding the high of an exhilarating trip.

“It was pretty tear-evoking to be standing on the podium, singing O Canada, getting the medals around our necks …,” said Campbell. “It really was a sweet moment.”

Campbell won gold and bronze in the 2,000-metre and the aggregate 500 senior C women’s division events, respectively. She was also one of three women chosen to paddle in the senior C men’s open category, which led to two more golds in the aggregate 500 and 200 events.

Teams needed a few days of practice to adjust to new boats before the races began. After that, Campbell’s inclusion on the men’s team meant she was hustling between races.

“I would have to jump out of the boat I was in, sprint across the sand, have the officials check my badges, jump into the men’s boat and immediately go and race again,” she said.

Campbell started rowing in 2012. She decided to try out for the Gorging Dragons, but didn’t tell her family what she was up to in case it didn’t work out.

“It was a personal challenge that I wanted to see if I could do,” she said. “Rather than come back and have to explain to people that I didn’t get on, I wanted to tell people my own way.”

Of course, it did work out in the end. Campbell made the team in February 2015 and began commuting between her home in Nelson and Victoria to train.

Campbell was in the boat with the Gorging Dragons when they competed at the Canadian Dragon Boat Championships in Welland, Ont., last June. That trip qualified them for the Club Crew World Championships, for which Campbell said the team trained six or seven days a week for two months prior to the flight to Adelaide.

“I’m really proud. To be part of such a committed team of people, you’re only as strong as your weakest link and it’s certainly true in dragon boating,” she said. “It’s actually the beauty of this sport. … You can’t compete against one another, you’ve got to compete with one another. That’s the power of being in the boat. When it clicks, when it’s working and you’re all pulling together and supporting one another, it’s the kind of thing that can happen.”

Now that she’s back home, Campbell is taking some time to decide what she does next. The national team has reached out to her, and she also hopes to stay on with the Gorging Dragons.

“Who knows what’s going to happen?” she said. “There’s always more challenges and life continues to evolve and be interesting.”

Just Posted

VIDEO: Happy birthday Kaslo

Village marks 125th birthday with reopening of city hall, sealing of time capsule

B.C. declares state of emergency as more than 560 wildfires rage

This is only the fourth state of emergency ever issued during a fire season

Nelson council gives next council a raise

Size of increase disregards advice of appointed committee

Four-storey development slated for Hall-Front intersection in Nelson

Building will be mixed commercial and residential

Interim GoFundMe payments approved in Humboldt Broncos crash

$50,000 to be given to each of the 13 survivors and each family of the 16 people who died

Altidore nets 3 as Toronto drubs Whitecaps 5-2

Vancouver falls 7-4 on aggregate in Canadian Championship final

Ottawa intervenes to get B.C. ball player, 13, to Little League World Series

Before immigration issue was resolved, Dio Gama was out practicing the game he loves Wednesday

Pet goldfish invades small B.C. lake

Pinecrest Lake is located between Whistler and Squamish

Mounties deployed to help B.C. communities affected by wildfires

RCMP officers heading to places particularly within central, northern and southern B.C.

Chinese medicine practitioner in B.C. facing historical sex assault charges

71-year old Kit Wong practiced acupuncture from his home during the time of the assaults

Quebec sets aside $900 million for companies hurt by U.S. tariffs

Premier Philippe Couillard says his government will make $863 million available over five years

Ex-B.C. teachers’ union leader among latest pipeline protesters to get jail time

Twelve people have been sentenced for violating court order to stay away from Kinder Morgan terminal

Most Read