Tweed carries weight at the worlds
By HUGH KEARNEY
AUSTRALIA'S hopes will rest on the young shoulders of the Tweed River High School crew when the World Dragonboat Titles are contested in China next week.
The Tweed team, the reigning Queensland state champions, will represent Australia after a strong performance at the national titles in Perth earlier this year.
The 24-member squad finished a close second behind an ACT team who were unable to travel to Shanghai, elevating the Tweed crew to the world stage.
The team, that warmed up for their world title tilt with a narrow win in the final of the Tropicana Regatta on the Gold Coast at the weekend, flies out for China on Sunday night after applying the finishing touches to their preparations.
"We're really pleased with how the team has come together," coach Russ Wade said.
"They'll be up against some really experienced teams in China but if they dig deep and function as a team they might just have a chance."
With crowds of 100,000 expected to watch the championships, the Tweed squad is determined to do their best but face a series of daunting obstacles.
Chief among them will be racing conditions at Shanghai with the supplied boats much heavier than the crew's regular craft.
The Tweed boat weighs a mere 350 kilograms compared to the 600 kilogram monsters they will row in China.
Also, racing will be held on a freshwater lake at Qingpu as opposed to the more buoyant saltwater that the Tweed crew is familiar with.
The TRHS crew, that includes four female rowers, will compete in the open category with entry into the mixed division restricted to crews with eight or more females.
The championship format will requires crews to contest 200, 500 and 1000m races.
The team is: Peter Cunningham (Captain), John Wetherall, Cassie Boothroyd, James Taylor, Chayce McCubben, Blair Rands, Emma Sargent, Mikayla Couch, Greg Harlock, Blake Gilfillan, Paul Coffey, Martin Griffiths, Tameka Wetherall, Brad Mason, Daniel Wilkes, Aaron Ford, Naomi Barwick, Matt Jones, Rikky Saunders, Tim Wetherall, Chris Cole, Evan Jones, Chris Carroll and Karl Kuczynski. Coaches: Russ Wade and Rob Lewis, Team Manager: Pam Sinclair.