Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Yearbook Photo shoot

Yearbook photo for all Cougar Dragons - both last year and this year- will be Monday December 3 @ 2:05

Alcan winners: be sure to bring your medals. If you have a KDBRC T-shirt be sure to wear it that day. Cougar Dragon team shirts will be available for the photo.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Paddling ends until spring

Cougar Dragon paddling has ended for the season. Dark, rainy, ever shortening days signal the coming of winter. Time to keep warm and think of the sunnier days of spring when we will be saying 'Paddles Up' once again. Winter conditioning will begin in January for the really committed, and paddling will recommence in March. Our thanks to Coach Todd and Coxswain Steven for coming out and supporting our autumn paddles. Look for more updates as the winter progresses. Check back often.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

New Cougar Dragons Make a Splash

At our first practice we had 8 new paddlers try out the sport of Dragon Boat racing. Welcome! Since our award winning inaugural season last spring word has spread about how much fun DB racing is. The Killarney Dragon Boat Racing Club is the THE place to be! We welcome and encourage all Cougars, from grades 8 to 12, to join us and give DB a try.

Coaches Todd Wong and Steven Wong are back with us and Modern Languages teacher Ms. Greer has also volunteered to help out on the water. Ms. Greer is a very experienced Dragon Boat racer who paddles with the Abreast in a Boat club.

Anyone interested must see Mr. Mackinnon in rm A226 before paddling. Waivers, parental permission and information forms must be signed before anyone can go on the water.

We will be paddling regularly on Wednesday afternoon for the fall season. 4:15 @ the Dragon Zone. Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Autumn Splash for Cougar Dragons

Killarney Cougar Dragons dive into autumn paddling this Thursday (13th September) at 4:15 @ the Dragon Zone. Everybody is welcome.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

September 11 meeting

All Cougar Dragons and those interested in paddling with us should attend an organizational meeting to talk about fall paddling:

When: Tuesday, 11 September @ Noon
Where: Room A226 - new wing beside the staircase (Ms. Jaye's old room/next to Mr. Reppenhagen's)

Friday, August 24, 2007

Calling All Cougar Dragons!

I hope everybody is having a great summer. August just seems to be rolling along a little quicker than I had we won't be getting together until school starts. Coach Todd has agreed to take us on for the autumn season and prepare us for a couple of events. Our first meeting will be in the 2nd week of school and hopefully we can get on the water that week as well. Keep a watch out for an e-mail detailing the times.

In the meantime, I hope you can all get down for the Taiwanese races. There is a need for volunteers at the festival too. Why not give them a call and do something fun for the end of summer. See the posting below for links and more information.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

2007 Vancouver International Taiwanese Dragon Boat Races

The 2007 Vancouver International Taiwanese Dragon Boat Races will once again be held at False Creek. This will be the Fifth Annual Vancouver International Taiwanese Dragon Boat Races held in conjunction with the Taiwanese Cultural Festival Sept 1-3, 2007. More information on the Taiwanese Cultural Festival can be found at their website

The Vancouver International Taiwanese Dragon Boat Races feature dragon boat racing with a mixed fleet including Taiwanese Dragon Boat Racers. Always great prizes and awards. Coming back this year will be the popular Fun Races including the ever popular barrel racing first introduced to Canada during the 2004 Vancouver International Taiwanese Dragon Boat Races.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Crouching Cougars, Hidden Dragons

Back row: Steven Wong (coxswain), Deborah Gee, Irene Peng, Linda Chen, Michele Shi, Taylor Yee, Sally Chan, Dipa Barua, Eddie Ha, Cherry Chen, Garry Ly, Wayne Li, and Garvin Pang.

Front row: Mr. Mackinnon (Manager/coach), Chi Hsi, Justin Yee, Christine Chin (den mother), Aleck Pham and Justin Chow.

Missing: Coach Todd Wong, Caitlin Allum, Jenny Tan, Jordan Lee, Jordan Wong, Krystal Han and Stanley Tsia.

Just 12 weeks ago I had the idea of a Dragon Boat Racing team at Killarney. Less than 2 weeks later we had enough interest to put a team together and form the Killarney Dragon Boat Racing Club. With amazingly generous support from KPAC we were able to start practicing in April and eight short weeks later entered Killarney’s first team, the Cougar Dragons, in the Alcan International Dragon Boat Festival—one of the world’s premier Dragon Boat events.

For those of you unfamiliar with Dragon Boat Racing, this is a team sport where 20 paddlers, a drummer and a steersperson, race others over a distance of 500 meters. The boats are long and heavy, but brute strength isn’t what it takes to win. Teamwork is everything in Dragon Boat Racing. Synchronicity is more important than strength. A perfectly synchronized team will almost always beat a stronger, but less coordinated team. 20 paddlers, 10 on each side, paddling in complete synchronicity, paddles going up and down, in and out, in perfect harmony, will always beat a stronger boat that lacks the oneness.

22 Killarney students joined the team, and for eight weeks came out on Tuesday afternoons to the Dragon Zone (False Creek, just behind Science World) to learn about this ancient Chinese sport. We were blessed with the coaching expertise of Todd Wong, coach of two adult teams, and founder of the Gung Haggis Fat Choy multicultural dinner, and with the steering prowess of Steven Wong, a member of the Gung Haggis Dragon Boat team.

Like any new endeavour the learning curve was sharp. None of us had very high expectations, for after all this was our first year. Of the 22 students, none had been in a Dragon Boat before, and very few had been on the water at all. But with hard work and determination, we were going to put Killarney on the map and prove to everyone that we were a team with heart.

Dragon Boat racing is a lot like life. It takes heart, grit and teamwork to succeed. We would need to keep our focus inside the boat, not worry what anyone else is doing, and remember to do what we love, and love what we do. The 22 members certainly had all three of these essential ingredients.

We were seeded towards the bottom as we entered the Alcan. We would compete in four races over two days, and in the final heat would race for honour and medals. As expected on Saturday the more experienced teams pushed ahead, but the Cougar Dragons were not despondent. The team kept their heads and focussed their hearts on the goal. We were finally seeded into the ‘D’ division final on Sunday afternoon. And now the little team that knew they could, put all of their heart, all of their grit and all of their teamwork into one final race. I can’t describe the whole race here, but suffice it to say it was one of the most exciting races I have ever seen. The team sprang out of the start and pushed ahead. The race was tight from beginning to end. With 100 meters left to go, Killarney was in third place but catching up fast. Somehow the paddlers found that reserve from within and gave it their all and passed their nearest rivals just before the finish line to place an amazing 2nd. Many teams come to the Alcan for years without ever earning a medal. Killarney came home with silver at our first!

Congratulations and thank you to Aleck Pham, Caitlin Allum, Cherry Chen, Linda Chen, Chi Hsi, Deborah Gee, Dipa Barua, Eddy Ha, Garry Ly, Garvin Pang, Irene Peng, Jenny Tan, Jordan Lee, Jordan Wong, Justin Chow, Justin Yee, Krystal Han, Michele Shi, Sally Chan, Stanley Tsia, Taylor Yee, and Wayne Li for showing the world what it means to belong to Killarney. Thanks to Coach Todd Wong and Steersman Steven Wong for your help and support. An extra special BIG thank you to the KPAC—without you we couldn’t have done it. We all look forward to a new season and more successes on the water and off as the Cougar Dragons prepare for the future.

For more pictures of the KDBRC go here.

And a final word... I would like to personally thank the KPAC, Coach Todd, Coxswain Steven and especially all the Cougar Dragons for their heart, grit and teamwork. This is why I became a teacher. You are the BEST!

Stuart Mackinnon, Sponsor/Manager
Killarney Dragon Boat Racing Club

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Bling! Bling! Cougar Dragons win Silver Medal at Alcan

Killarney's own Cougar Dragons won a Silver medal in the Junior 'D' Final on Sunday. The final was everything a spectator could have asked for, with Killarney coming from behind to finish second. Heart, grit, determination and a team spirit gave Killarney the advantage. Pictures and a full report on the Alcan International Dragon Boat Festival to follow.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Cougar Dragons Race @ Dragon Zone

We hit the Dragon Zone at 8:00 on Sunday morning. Everybody was excited but just a bit apprehensive. What would the first race be like? Could we paddle in time? Would we paddle deep and paddle hard?

With Justin Yee in the drummers seat and Coach Todd Wong steering, the Cougar Dragons hit the water for the first heat.

A good effort, especially as the Cougar Dragons were racing against older and more experienced teams. Re-grouping, captains Chi Hsi and Garvin Pang, encouraged the team, while Coaches Todd Wong and Mr. Mackinnon offered sage advice and refocused everyone.

Refocused and re-energized the Cougar Dragons showed their mettle and improved tremendously in the second heat. Michele Shi had taken the drummers chair and inspired the Cougar Dragons to stay focused and finish fast.
An incredible effort in the second heat gave the team the incentive they needed. After a very brief break it was on to the 'D' division final.

A fabulously exciting race from start to finish, the Cougar Dragons exceeded all of our wildest dreams, gaining 7 seconds on the previous race and placing an unbelievably close second.

Well done Killarney! We have shown what we are made of. We have practiced and been successful. Can we improve? Sure, but we can now proudly bear the honourable title of a Dragon Boat Racing team.

Congratulations Aleck Pham, Caitlin Allum, Cherry Chen, Chi Hsi, Deborah Gee, Dipa Barua, Eddy Ha, Garry Ly, Garvin Pang, Irene Peng, Jenny Tan, Jordan Lee, Jordan Wong, Justin Chow, Justin Yee, Krystal Han, Michele Shi, Sally Chan, Stanley Tsia, Taylor Yee, and Wayne Li. Thanks to Linda Chen, and all the parents who came out to support us. An extra big THANK YOU to coach Todd Wong-- without you, we wouldn't be here!

On to Alcan June 16/17.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Dragon Zone Regatta

Well this is it! Our first big test. Are we a team? YES!
Will we paddle in time? YES!
Will we paddle deep and paddle hard? YES!
Will we keep our heads up and our minds focused? YES! YES YES!

I am very proud of all of you. Your hard work, commitment and dedication makes it all worthwhile. Have a great Saturday. Don't over do it Saturday night. Be sure to have a good dinner, a great sleep and a light but nourishing breakfast Sunday morning. Bring water, bananas, fruit, water, nuts, sunscreen, water, sunglasses, a hat, and...did I say bring water?

I know all of the Killarney community is with us. Know that when you paddle, and you will have that much extra power.

Remember: Sunday 8:15 meet at the Dragon Zone
8:30 registration
8:35 Warm-up
9:00 Marshaling for the race

See you on Sunday

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Pre-Race schedule

Tuesday: Practice 4:00 @ the Dragon Zone. All racers should be there!
Thursday: Meeting @ lunch in rm B109. All racers MUST there.
Sunday: Race--more info to follow

Friday, May 18, 2007

Cougar Dragons on the Water

Arrival after a hard practice on False Creek. The Cougar Dragons are training for their first race, June 3rd in the Dragon Zone.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Killarney to Race June 3rd

Killarney Cougar Dragons will compete in their first race ever on June 3rd. This 500 m. race in the Dragon Zone, (False Creek near Science World), will be a good practice run for the Alcan Festival to be held later in June. Stay tuned for information.

Friday, May 4, 2007

Random thoughts on a sunny day

Sun's up, uh huh, looks okay
The world survives into another day
And I'm thinking about eternity
Some kind of ecstasy got a hold on me

(Bruce Cockburn from Wondering Where the Lions Are)

Another beautiful day and it got me thinking about Dragon Boat racing and how fortunate we are to be able to do this sport in such a beautiful place. Next time you are on the boat, take the time to stop and look around. Vancouver is so beautiful. This is my first year paddling--just like you--and I am amazed how much this sport has impacted my life. I love the sport and the people who do the sport and the changes in my body, mind, and spirit that I have noticed after just a few weeks. Indeed, "some kind of ecstacy got a hold on me".

Speaking about beautiful days...don't forget to bring and USE sunscreen. 30 SPF is best, but certainly a minimum 15 SPF. On sunny days you will also want a bottle of water. Tea, cola, or other 'sugar' drinks are not good on the water. Good ol' water is the best for rehydrating.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

May Day practice

Yesterday's practice was terrific. We had 16 paddlers out. Thanks Stanley and Jordan for making the effort and getting down in time to get out on the water--it wouldn't have been the same without you. I think we all had a good time and learned lots. Dipa and Taylor were great leads, Debora and Daphne were also great first time paddlers. I hope that those of you who could not make it today will be at the next practice. We only have a few weeks to get ready for Alcan. St. Thomas More has challenged us for next week, so we might be able to have a mini race.

Thanks to Coach Todd Wong for his great teaching and inspirational speaking. Today was my first time steering, and so it was a pretty sharp learning curve for me too.

Don't forget to drop by B109 and drop off your $20.00 to me this week. I look forward to seeing all of you soon.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Coach Wong writes...

21 people all signed up and ready to go!
Thank you for getting your waivers signed.

But... we need 20 people to paddle a boat + a drummer + a steersperson.
A dragon boat roster usually includes 24 paddlers. This way we can rotate paddlers if people need a rest, or somebody is sick or injured.

So please... tell your friends about the great experience you had paddling dragon boats on that sunny Sunday 2 weeks ago.

The "Killarney Cougar Dragons dragon boat team and paddling club" could be the COOLEST club at Killarney!!!
the most AWESOME club at Killarney!!!
the MOST FUN club at Killarney!!!

Paddling skills will enhance your life experiences. You will be a quick learner to hop into a canoe, kayak or outrigger canoe... I have canoed on Burnaby Lake, Stave Lake, English Bay, Kalamalka Lake in the Okanagan, and I have kayaked in Deep Cove, Hornby Island, English Bay, and Kyuquot Sound on the west coast of Vancouver Island.

Team skills will take you even farther, and can be applied to any group effort... and can make any group more effective for both performance and communication.

Swimming ability is not necessary to join the club. Everybody will be provided with a pfd (personal floatation device) / life jacket. Dragon boats are relatively stable... I have never tipped over in a dragon boat.. ever!

I look forward to seeing you on Tuesday 4pm at Dragon Zone!

Coach Todd Wong

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Teamwork is everything...

"Teamwork is everything in Dragon Boat Racing. Synchronicity is more important than strength. A perfectly synchronized team will almost always beat a stronger, but less coordinated team" from the Great White North website.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Killarney's Own Cougar Dragons

Congratulations to the new Killarney Dragon Boat Racing Club team:
Caitlin Allum, Dipa Barua, Sally Chan, Cherry Chen,
Linda Chen, Justin Chow, Deborah Gee, Daphne Guan,
Eddy Ha, Krystal Han, Chi Hsi, Jordan Lee, Wayne Li,
Garry Ly, Garvin Pang, Irene Peng, Aleck Pham,
Jenny Tan, Stanley Tsia, Jordan Wong, Taylor Yee and Justin Yee
Coach/Sponsor: Mr. Mackinnon; External Coach: Todd Wong

Thank you to everyone who came out to the meetings and showed interest. Maybe you will be able to join us next year.

Our first full practice will be Tuesday, 4 pm @ the Dragon Zone. Please be on time and remember, we practice rain or shine. If you need an ED please see Mr. Mackinnon in B109.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Will we paddle?

A bit of a hiccup on Tuesday. Not enough people had waivers/could come out to the practice and so it was cancelled. We must have at least 20 paddlers signed up by Thursday. Please hand in your waivers--signed by your parents--to Mr. Mackinnon by Thursday. Check back here Thursday to see if we have a team. We need 100% commitment.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Team Meeting and First Practice: Tuesday

All Cougar Dragons must attend a noon hour meeting in Mr. Mackinnon's room (B109) on Tuesday. Team members must bring their waiver forms, signed by their parents, and $20.00 to help pay the coaching costs. Students who have not brought their waivers cannot practice on the water. We will be on the water later in the afternoon. We will meet at the Dragon Zone at 4:00 for warm-ups and instructions. Warm-ups are mandatory. We will only have 9 practices before the Alcan Dragon Boat Festival, so everyone's full committment is important. We need 100% committment and 100% participation. See you Tuesday at noon.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Todd Wong to coach Cougar Dragons

Killarney Cougar Dragons are very lucky! Todd Wong coach of the Gung Haggis Fat Choy multi-cultural team and UA Dragons corporate team has agreed to coach for Killarney. Coach Todd Wong has over 12 years of experience including novice, recreational and competitive levels, with both community and corporate teams. In the 2005 season Todd led the Gung Haggis Fat Choy team to a Bronze medal at the Vancouver International Taiwanese Dragon Boat Race as well as receiving the David Lam Award for being the team that best represented the multicultural spirit of the Alcan Dragon Boat Festival. The Cougar Dragons are very lucky indeed!

Friday, April 20, 2007

Free Paddling at the Cherry Blossom Festival

Dragon Boat Cherry Blossom Friendship Regatta

Invite your parents and friends for free paddling lessons, and paddling demonstrations. Saturday from 2-4 pm at the Dragon Zone

Canadian International Dragon Boat Festival Society (Free)
21-Apr 2:00 PM-4PM "Dragon Zone" outside Creekside Park, south of Science World

For more info about the Cherry Blossom Festival:

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Thank You KPAC!

A huge thank you to the Killarney Parents Advisory Council (KPAC) for their support of dragon boat racing at Killarney. Their financial support means that the Killarney Dragon Boat Racing Club (KDBRC) will be racing this year at the Alcan Dragon Boat Festival--one of the premier dragon boat races in the world. Without the help and support of the Killarney community our dream would never have come true. This is just another example of what makes Killarney the best school in Vancouver. Cougar Passion + Cougar Pride = Cougar Dragons!

See you on Tuesday 24 April for our next KDBRC meeting in room B109

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Cougar Dragons Hit the Water!

10 members of the Killarney Cougar Dragon Boat Racing Club (KDBRC) hit the water on Sunday, paddling with the Gung Haggis Fat Choy multicultural community team. Cougar Dragon coach/sponsor Mr. Mackinnon and Gung Haggis coach Todd Wong led the Killarney contingent through a full practice. The Cougar Dragons performed admirably, especially considering it was the first time most of them had been in a dragon boat. Well done Chi Hsi, Aleck Pham, Taylor Yee, Jordan Wong, Jordan Lee, Dipa Barua, Justin Chow, Krystal Han, Sally Chan, and Linda Chen! Thank you to the generosity and mentoring of the Gung Haggis alumni. The students enjoyed meeting you and learning from you. We look forward to our next practice when we put a full team afloat.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Come out and Paddle this Sunday

The Gung Haggis Fat Choy team invites all Killarney Cougar Dragons to try out paddling a dragon boat this Sunday (15 April 2007). We meet at 1 pm in the Dragon Zone--Creekside Park, just south of Science World. Take Skytrain to Main st./Science World and follow the seawall around. You can't miss the Zone. Mr. Mackinnon and several members of the Gung Haggis team will be there to welcome and mentor you, including Coach Todd Wong. All interested Killarney students are welcome.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Dragon Boat Races April 14th

On Saturday 14 April there will be Dragon Boat sprints (200m) at False Creek. Races start at 10:00. Come on down and cheer Mr. Mackinnon in his first race. See what you will be a part of. Come down to the Dragon Zone (Creekside Park--just south of Science World). Bring your friends, bring your parents, bring yourselves.

Would you like to volunteer at this weekend's regatta? We are recruiting for enthusiastic volunteers for this regatta as well as the June 2/3 500M regatta and the June 16-17th Festival. If you have family or friends you'd like to have involved with this event, please pass this information on.

We offer training for all positions, a nice lunch, t-shirts, entry in our volunteer draws as well as the opportunity to work with a great bunch of people.

Finish line
Race Referees and boat drivers
Crew Marshalls
Dock Marshalls
General information person

The shifts are 8 am to 12:30 pm, and 12 noon to 4:30 pm.

Festival weekend positions on land are also available.

For more information please go to the ADBF website,

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Welcome to the Killarney Cougar Dragons team blog

Hey everybody. This is your source for everything dragon at Killarney. Practice times and messages will be left here for you.

Our inaugural meeting on Friday was terrific. Thanks to Coach Todd Wong of the Gung Haggis Fat Choy multicultural dragon boat team for coming all the way out to Killarney to help us get off the ground. 12 people came out for the first meeting but by the end of the day we had 19 people sign up. We will need a couple of more to make a team, but I am confident that will not be a problem. Stay tuned for more information coming up. Our first practice time will be announced here, so check back often. If you want any more info, please stop by room B109 and ask me.

Coach and sponsor
Mr. Mackinnon