Australian Masters Games

Day 2 - Dragon Boat Girls Simply Irresistible

6 October 2013

Day 2 - Dragon Boat Girls Simply Irresistible

Mark Beretta says that he has done much in sport but the former world water ski champion found his involvement in today’s Australian Masters Games’ dragon boat competition irresistible – and completely fulfilling. The only male in the Gippsland Dragons Mixed Masters 10s, the Sunrise sport presenter was in awe of his team mates’ performance.

“I’ve done a lot of things in sport I’ve really enjoyed over the years but I’ll always treasure this – that was just a golden moment,” Beretta said.

“When you slash 20 seconds off your personal best, that sums up what the Masters Games is all about. But the other thing that got me about these girls is that they are all breast cancer survivors and that this was their first time in competition together.

“Our instructions were – don’t look at anyone else, don’t look at another boat, just do your job. We didn’t care we were fourth from four. We didn’t know that. It’s just so much fun.”

Beretta, like so many others on site, was stoked by the team’s delighted reaction to its achievement, letting out repeated squeals of joy as their time was announced.

“Absolutely priceless. You’ve just got to go back to where these girls have come from as breast cancer survivors. Just a few years ago, they were just grateful to be alive. Now here they are out there with their friends competing and doing something they’d never imagined they’d do.

“And that’s the beauty of sport – living the dream – that’s gold.”

They were not the only ladies with a story on the water today, as revealed by Deni Schimana, captain of the Geelong Juggernaut and coordinator of Dragon’s Abreast Geelong. The retired nurse is herself a 10 year survivor of breast cancer and is emphatic in her belief in dragon boating as a critical component of the recovery process.

“Dragon boating allows us all a chance to get fit, have fun and some camaraderie in a team sport.  I think we are a great advertisement for recognising there is a life after a diagnosis of breast cancer and that you can be fit and healthy and enjoy yourselves.

“Cancer brought us all together.  We’re all survivors and for a bit of a pun we’re all in the same boat. 

The women had a first and second in the heats today and are looking forward to tomorrow’s finals.


In other day two highlights:


  • the Leisuretime Centre hosted four Games sports but none more colourful than the two hour spectacular presented in drilldance. The seven competing teams engaged in battle in two medal events – with United DrillDance (technical drill) and Classic Collection (thematic dance) coming out on top.


  • the Games swimming competition was completed at Waurn Ponds with the star performer being Olympic star Linley Frame who collected five golds from her five Games appearances, recording a still impressive short course time of 1:12.80 in winning her pet event, the 100m breaststroke


  • in an important recognition for the officials and volunteers who ensure the Games tick every day, 25 North Geelong Secondary College students, all from refugee backgrounds, became fully qualified technical officials after completing the required practical components during the swimming competition


  • an exciting two days of hillclimb competition came to a conclusion at the Games’ most remote venue – Mt Leura in Camperdown with outright victory to Cockatoo’s Peter Minahan, 55 with a best time of 31.27 over the event’s nine runs


Monday brings the third full day of competition, with 25 sports on the day’s program including:


  • the second and final day of dragon boat action at Barwon Terrace with the Geelong Juggernauts again taking to the water including in a race restricted to breast cancer survivors


  • the only day of track cycling at the Church Street track in North Geelong


  • the sound of 180 calls starting to ring out as the darts tournament begins at the Geelong Darts Club at Corio


  • the appearance of former Socceroo Alan Davidson for his VPSC team in the 2pm match at the Myers Reserve


  • Commonwealth Games archer, Dawn Nelson-Furnell beginning her Masters Games campaign in the FITA target competitions at the Lovely Banks venue


  • 83-year-old Arthur Ince (as the next leg of his 11 event Games program) and 1986 Commonwealth Games shot put bronze medallist, Stuart Gyngell, 49 both taking on the taxing weight pentathlon in the athletics competition at Landy Field


Competition also begins in AFL football, netball, tennis and beach volleyball fours.


The Australian Masters Games will be staged until Saturday 12 October and is one of Australia’s largest multi sporting events.

For further Australian Masters Games information and to register, visit -

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