Navy girl dons green and gold for World Cup in China

This article has photo gallery Published on LSIS Lee-Anne Mack (author and photographer)

Location(s): China

Topic(s): Dragon Boating

Leading Seaman (LS) Combat Systems Operator Carolyn Johnsen prepares for a dawn training session at Lake Burley Griffin in Canberra. (photo: ABIS Lee-Anne Mack)
Leading Seaman (LS) Combat Systems Operator Carolyn Johnsen prepares for a dawn training session at Lake Burley Griffin in Canberra.

Leading Seaman Carolyn Johnsen will represent Australia in Dragon Boating at the first International Dragon Boating Federation World Cup in China next month.

The Australian Dragon Boating Team, the Auroras, will travel to Macau and China between 29 May-15 June for the Asian Championships, the Macau Cup, the Hong Kong Cup and the International Dragon Boating Federation World Cup.

Dragon Boat Racing is a long-standing Chinese tradition that has emerged in modern times as an international sport. A Dragon Boat team consists of 20 paddlers, one sweep and one drummer. During a race a boat can reach speeds up to 19km per hour.

Leading Seaman Johnsen has been Dragon Boating for the past three years and this is her first time representing Australia.

“My love of Australia extends beyond being a serving member in the Royal Australian Navy and I am very proud to wear the coat of arms and represent my country as an athlete,” she said.

Leading Seaman Johnsen was recently posted to a shore based position in Canberra, which has allowed her to get really stuck into her training.

“Competing at this level is exciting and I feel very proud. It has been my dream,” Leading Seaman Johnsen said.

She regularly commutes between Sydney and her home in Canberra, rising before dawn to train four to six times a week on the water and six days a week at the gym.

“It has taken my training to a whole new level,” Leading Seaman Johnsen said.

She said one of the challenges she is faced with now that she is competing at the national level is managing her work and training balance.

Leading Seaman Johnsen is currently posted as Administration Staff Officer to Head of Navy Capability (HNC), Rear Admiral Mark Campbell.

“HNC is very supportive and I am very lucky to be posted here,” Leading Seaman Johnsen said.

Before leaving for Asia last Thursday, she said she was very excited, feeling fit and prepared to race.

“I love racing because it’s the culmination of your training,” Leading Seaman Johnsen said.

“You are always searching for that perfect boat run, for all your paddlers to be perfectly in time,” she said.

“When that happens and the boat is running really quickly, and it just feels amazing. I can’t even describe it.”

The Royal Australian Navy wishes Leading Seaman Johnsen the very best of luck for her Asian tour with the Auroras, and especially at the World Cup!

#MakeNavyProud,MakeAustraliaProud