Breaststrokes Team on the Lake
You may have heard the sound of the drum or seen the long boat filled with paddlers clad in red
this summer on the lake. That energetic and dedicated group of paddlers you see on the lake on
Tuesday and Thursday evenings are the BreastStrokes Dragon Boat Team.
Established in 1998, BreastStrokes team members are celebrating more than two decades of
promoting healthy life and laughter after breast cancer. The team consists of both survivor and
supporter paddlers, who love to train and race together. The recognizable dragon boat
(DragonFly) transports this energetic, floating support group around Puslinch Lake from May to
Survivor dragon boating began in British Columbia (circa 1995) due to the research of an
amazing Canadian, Dr. Don McKenzie. A University of Guelph graduate, Dr. McKenzie
conducted ground-breaking research to support vigorous physical exercise (dragon boating),
after breast cancer diagnosis and treatment. Before his work, survivors were told to avoid
physical activity, due to increased risk of lymphoedema (swelling of the arm). The mental and
physical health benefits of dragon boating are supported by the thousands of survivors who now
compete in regattas world-wide. Dr. McKenzie is a humble rock-star at these events!
BreastStrokes’ team members paddle to support each other and to stay strong. While they do
enjoy racing to win, they are a very inclusive team and believe all who wish to paddle with them
should have that opportunity. Survivors who are finished treatment and supporters are welcome
to join after completing a health screening form and liabilit y waiver.
Throughout the years as a team, members have competed in many regional regattas (including
Cambridge, Guelph, London, Stratford, Toronto, and Woodstock) and international survivor
dragon boat races (New Zealand, Canada, Australia, Ireland, USA, Italy). The team moved
their dock to Puslinch Lake from Guelph Lake in 2010, thanks to the McClintock family’s kind
offer to host.
We have had our own residents join the team in the past as a survivor or supporter!
BreastStrokes is continually building its team, seeking adult female paddlers. In the off seasons,
BreastStrokes team members enjoy year-round camaraderie and participate in fundraising
For more information on this inspiring organization, you can check them out, follow them, or
wave your support when you see them on the lake.