Batch23 @ Burlington, VT

Caution: Longer-than-usual post with some substantial feels.

Catch22 can't thank the DragonHeart family enough for all the amazing experiences we had during the mini-camp the weekend of July 13th. In attendance was 22 Catch22 paddlers, Boston One, DragonHeart Vermont, and USA National Senior B and C team paddlers. We paddled some intense practices in boats made up of all paddlers in attendance. On Saturday and Sunday we paddled and raced with and against Boston One which is how Batch23 came into fruition. There may have been another version of our name but you'll have to check our Instagram for that.

Catch22 showed up with 22 paddlers - some old and some new - all who were ready to paddle hard.

With video review between the two practices on Saturday every paddler had a chance to receive feedback and then the opportunity to use what was learned on the water.

New paddlers got the opportunity to paddle with a different team. They were able to experience other techniques and different coaching styles. Older paddlers got the opportunity to fine-tune their techniques while also learning new types of water training. Everyone got to paddle on breathtaking Lake Champlain and soak in the beautiful mountain backdrop.

It was the true Catch22 spirit that made the weekend what it was. We trained hard under the leadership of DragonHeart Vermont's Bret, Boston One's Lilly, and Senior C's John but we also spent Saturday night overtaking a large section of an outdoor space sharing tidbits about ourselves and what we find inspiring in each other.

One of our newbie paddlers, Alexis, had a few words about her experience at camp:

"Attention please! Knees weak, arms are heavy. We're nervous but on the surface we look calm and ready (reference for any Eminem fans out there). Coming into my first dragon boat outing, I had no idea what to expect other than coming out feeling like I'd just been hit by a truck. By the end of the first warmup, I had already witnessed the clanking of many paddles and the huffing and puffing of my teammates as we braced ourselves for what was going to be hell for the next two days. It was my first time in a race environment and being surrounded by paddlers from other teams aiming for the same goal - that unofficial first place and short period of bragging rights. What I didn't expect to happen was the relationships that were beginning to form, a connection you wouldn't get from a two hour practice back at home. When you spend a whole weekend and an eight hour commute with a crew like Catch22, you see how genuine everyone is and how much they really want to see you succeed, get stronger, be more CONFIDENT. The overwhelming amount of encouragement, the constant push to be better, and the love this team has for each other makes the early mornings, the seven races in four hours, and all the hard work worth it."

Catch22 grew stronger on and off the water because of this camp. We are forever grateful.


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