Langara alumni direct Canada’s dragon boat team to nationals

Twin brothers Aidan and Shamus Menard are hoping to spark interest in starting a new dragon boat team at Langara College

Paddlers practicing in False Creek Photo by: Kate Gardiner
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By Kate Gardiner 

Former Langara students will be representing Vancouver as the youngest ever coaches of the national under-24 dragon boat team in 2019.

Brothers in boating

Aidan Menard and his twin brother Shamus, 21, formed the Langara dragon boat team in 2016. The team disbanded when the brothers transferred to the University of British Columbia last year, but Aidan Menard, who believes team sports are essential for student engagement, hopes the team will rebuild.

“Langara needed more clubs and extracurricular activities, more school pride. We wanted to get people out and having fun, participating in activities under the school name, and just getting out there – getting out of their comfort zone.”

Fun to do and easy to learn

The twins currently coach Juice, a competitive under-24 team featuring several national team hopefuls. The young paddlers encourage anyone who’s curious about the sport to get involved, regardless of experience or, in national hopeful Jeffrey Fung’s case, physical ability.

“I am horrible with any sport that requires a lot of hand-eye coordination, and to just grab a paddle and start whipping it through the water is a lot easier,” said Fung.

“I think it’s just a really fun, easy, diverse sport. It’s something that doesn’t take a lot. You don’t need to have a necessary skill set in particular to join the sport, so it’s pretty easy for anyone to just pick up a paddle,” added Owen Li.

Connections on and off the water

Shamus Menard believes the most exciting aspect of the sport is connection.

“You get to learn how to work together with other people and you get to make a lot of friendships and connections with other people,” said Menard “It’s not just about the sport itself, it’s about making the connections with others and developing those relationships.”

Anyone interested in directing a new Langara team is encouraged to contact langaradb@gmail.com for more information.

 

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