Tag Archives: strongerfasterharder

Paddler Profile: Jeff H.

jeffRacing Class: Premier

Why do you dragon boat?
I love being on the water, and I’m a competitive person. Combining the 2 just makes sense. Dragon boating is a great challenge – physically and mentally. You have to trust your teammates and work together in unison to really excel. I love my team – we’re a diverse group of people that just works really well together. We’re an eclectic mix of young and old, male and female, experienced and inexperienced, but it just works. I love this team and wouldn’t trade it for anything. One of my favorite sounds is the sound of 20 paddles slicing in to the water in unison on a calm day, and feeling the boat shoot forward with every stroke.

What motivates you?
I want to win, and I want to feel the love from my teammates. Knowing that any of them would help in pinch is a great feeling, and I would do the same for them.

How did you get into the sport?
A friend and co-worker was talking about the sport to a few of us at work a few years ago. I remember seeing the boats on Lake Champlain, and thought “that would be fun – how can I join?” I ended up going to an early season BBQ – it poured so we couldn’t get on the water, but everyone was very welcoming. Once I got in the boat, I was hooked. I didn’t really know what I was doing, but it was so much fun.

What would you say to others considering trying or joining Malia?
See above – we are an incredible mixture of motivated, fun loving people. Everyone is welcoming, and willing to help out. We also have a great end of season party each year.

Who are you?
I’m married, and have been in Burlington since 1999. We live in Colchester, and I’m a Business Analyst for a rather large IT company in downtown Burlington – you can’t miss the large, painted silos on Pine Street. I snow board in the winter (when there’s snow) and paddle in the summer. My wife and I also chase our rambunctious two year old around all the time – she’s the team mascot, and maybe a future paddler. When we’re at home, I love to fire up my smoker (year round), and relax with my family.

Accept the challenges so that you can feel the exhilaration of victory.
~ General George Patton

A (paddler’s) case for strength training

It’s All Connected

I’ve always been an endurance sports kind of girl – biking, running, nordic skiing, hiking.  And while I’ve occasionally made New Years Resolutions about going to the gym, they’ve never really stuck.   “Weights just aren’t my thing,” I said.

That was before I started dragon boat paddling.

It was clear right from the start that our coaches expected us to do strength training beyond the paddling practices.  So I was diligent (well, fairly diligent) about doing core exercises a couple of times a week during that summer.  Then, as my paddling form improved, I began to realize how much each paddler’s strength matters to how well the boat moves forward.  I started working out at the gym during the fall and winter months, when we couldn’t paddle on the water, to get ready for the coming paddling season.

Weight training still wasn’t my thing.  But every time I started to falter, I’d think about my teammates.  How we all had to work together to paddle well.  How we love to do well at races.  How I’d be letting them down if I didn’t get stronger.  And so I’d add another rep.  I’d finish the workout.  I’d come back again a couples days later, to do it all again.  I got stronger.  And I liked it!

Now going to the gym is part of my weekly routine, all year round.  I’m a better paddler every summer.  And those endurance sports I love – especially nordic skiing (though this season there’s a frustrating lack of snow!) – have benefited too: I ski faster, stronger, and longer than ever before.  It’s all connected – the satisfaction and smiles of a good paddle mirrors the smile on my face as I skate-ski up a wintry mountain trail.

Thank you Malia!  For the paddling, of course – and also for helping me become a better athlete, all around.

Thanks to Barb L. for this guest post. As coaches, it’s always great to hear affirmations like this from our athletes. Keep up the good work!