After a 3-year hiatus, the Clare Crewsaders came back stronger than ever for the 2022 Chicago Dragon Boat Race on June 25 in Chinatown’s Ping Tom Memorial Park.
In fact, the Clare Crewsaders had fewer paddlers and averaged many years older than competing teams, but they proved competitive and managed to improve on races from past years.
Teams for the 2022 races generally consisted of 20 paddlers and one drummer. This year, 13 residents participated in the event, along with four employees of The Clare. The weather also posed a unique challenge, as it poured rain for the majority of the day.
But the downpour didn’t prevent residents from giving their all. On race day, the Clare Crewsaders completed their time trial race in 1 minute and 42 seconds. During their second race, the group shaved 6 seconds from their initial time, crossing the finish line in 1 minute and 36 seconds.
“We pitched in and worked together like a real team,” says resident Roberta Weisberg. “I loved that feeling of fellowship and camaraderie.”
Leading up to race day, the Clare Crewsaders met once a week for a month with Fitness Manager Kim Chalekian. She conducted various workouts for the residents, including range of motion, strength, timing and high intensity cardio in the form of Tabata.
“I believe the timing drills and Tabata training in particular helped with their overall success,” Kim says. “I’m proud of them and their commitment.”
Ultimately, the Clare Crewsaders finished in last place, with their time just 1 second behind the team ahead of them. Despite the ranking, residents loved participating and proving what they can do.
“It was a really fun event,” says resident Betsy Kennedy. “The enthusiasm and dedication of each and every paddler made it memorable. It is amazing that a group of seniors were able to compete.”