Both the NUS dragon boat men’s and women’s teams rowed their way to glory at the Prime Minister Challenge on 8 July, with the women’s team taking champion and the men’s team in third place.
The Challenge is an annual race which sees dragon boat teams from local universities rowing a 22-member dragon boat across 1,000m.
NUS President Professor Tan Eng Chye and Associate Professor Peter Pang, Dean, NUS Student Affairs, encouraged both the men’s and women’s teams before their respective races and also spoke with the supporters. The supporters — some 60 of them consisting of former NUS dragon boaters who have since graduated, as well as friends and family members of the athletes — turned up in full force to cheer on the athletes.
For the women’s team, who last won the Challenge in 2013, it was sweet victory wresting the trophy from the defending champion. Said Nicole Low from NUS Arts and Social Sciences who will be starting Year 4 in August, “Finishing first is an immense joy in itself, but finishing first in the Prime Minister Cup after experiencing defeat is a joy unlike any other. The knowledge that all of the blood, sweat and tears we’ve shed was not for naught is incredibly vindicating. This win was proof to both ourselves and others that if you have faith and you are willing to put in the time and effort, victory will be yours.”
Following the races, Prof Tan congratulated the women’s team for their performance, where they beat the second place winner by four seconds. Prof Tan also consoled and encouraged the men’s team. The men’s race was a close-run one, with only one second separating each of the top three teams.
Year 2 NUS Engineering student Daryl Chew shared that the team had been training almost every day since end May to perfect the correct pull phase and velocity in the water for their maintenance stroke. “Our coach set gruelling training regimes for our men’s crew, such as paddling for 2km as well as for 10 minutes, in order to increase our stamina and capacity to last the entire 1,000m Prime Minister Challenge race,” he said.
The Challenge is part of the Singapore Dragon Boat Festival and took place at Bedok Reservoir.