This past weekend’s 11th Annual Dragon Boat Races was both my first event with ACEL, as well as my first time competing on the water. The weather was warm, the water was cool, and the day was absolutely gorgeous. After two practices underneath our belts, I was excited to join the ACEL team and give it my best.

Before the starting line on Saturday, I tried to hone in on everything we had practiced as a team in my head and visualize taking first. My ears were at attention, my eyes were squarely set in front and my heart was pumping with race day adrenaline like our coach Jeff Mendoza said it would. When the horn sounded, we took off and gave it everything we had, attacking the water and making sure our timing was in sync. We competed all day Saturday, and made it to the finals on Sunday.

At the end of the weekend, we didn’t place, but I came away thinking how far we had come as a team, and as another ACEL member joked “at this pace of improvement, we are definitely going to place next weekend!” I had a great time hanging out with everyone under the canopy and competing together. I can’t wait for next year when the Dragon Warriors race again! Special thanks to Jason Wong for organizing everything, Jeff Mendoza for coaching, and to everyone that came out to make it a great event.

By Thomas Chiang