Sweat wins final of dragon boat regatta

By Kiri Gillespie

Thirty dragon boating teams took to the water for the biggest fundraising regatta in the Tauranga event's history.

The Super 12 Corporate Challenge Dragon Boat Regatta, which began in 2007, is a key fundraiser to help cover the cost of local dragon boating teams travelling to regional and national championships.

It is also designed to encourage women who have survived breast cancer to take up the sport.

Fourteen local prominent people, including Tauranga City Council member and motivational speaker Tony Christiansen and artist Rob McGregor, took part in a celebrity race.

Bethlehem Stars team member Murray Smith was competing for the third year on Saturday.

Although his team, comprising staff from Bethlehem and Omokoroa Medical Centres, did not win, they made it to the second round and finished in seventh position.

"It's lots of fun for the staff and it's a very worthwhile cause," he said.

"One of our staff was involved with the Boobops ... a great bunch of motivated women with great team morale. We were very keen to support the cause."

The winners of the grand final were a Tauranga Hospital team named Sweat.

Mr Smith said the Bethlehem Stars trained for a few weeks beforehand, which helped synch team members' timing and strokes.

The regatta was formed by the Bay of Plenty Dragon Boat Club which has grown to two teams, including the Boobops who are breast cancer survivors.

Club committee member Bets Thomas said the regatta was highly successful.

"It was a beautiful day ... definitely the people who tentatively took part for the first time are coming back next year. Some even said, 'Why don't you have it twice a year'?"

Ms Thomas said it was too early to know how much money had been raised, but the annual regatta was the club's key fundraising opportunity.

Members hope to take part in the regional dragon boating finals in Auckland in March next year.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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