The Cancer Society Wairarapa women's dragonboat team have done their club proud, placing fifth, sixth, and seventh in the Club Crews World Championship in Adelaide earlier this month.
Coach Ivan Karaitiana said it was "unreal" for CSW to compete against some of the best dragonboat club teams in the world, and he was "still trying to come off cloud nine" weeks later.
The CSW women's team consisted of 10 paddlers, one caller, one sweep, a manager, and Mr Karaitiana as coach.
"The biggest thing is that there were around 6500 competitors over the week, and we were racing against the fastest club teams in the world," Mr Karaitiana said,.
"To be able to be a part of that was just unreal."
Mr Karaitiana said the CSW crew were up against world-class sponsored teams including one from Dubai, which was sponsored by adidas.
"They were kitted out with shorts, tops, singlets, bags and jackets, and were basically like the All Blacks," he said.
"Then there were the top Philippines teams, who train nine times a week. With CWS, we tend to meet as much as we possibly can, which is like two times a week for an hour on the water."
The Wairarapa team placed fifth in the 2km race, sixth in the 500m and seventh in the 200m.
Mr Karaitiana also competed in the weeks prior in the Australian Transtasman Dragonboat festival as a paddler for Hamilton City Water Sports.
That team returned with 17 medals covering all distances.
"I always thought it would be awesome if I could just get one bronze medal, or any medal within a world championship," Mr Karaitiana said.
"To get four gold medals at a world championship, two silvers, and three bronze was much better."
Mr Karaitiana said although it was a very successful 10 months of training, one of "the biggest disappointments" was that Henley Lake had become too toxic over summer, which meant the team had to travel down to the diversion in South Wairarapa, an hour's drive.
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