Medal haul for Aussie paddlers in Canada
BLOODY awesome mate - the three words Sharyn Smith used to describe her time competing for Australia at the World Dragonboat Championships in Canada.
And in the same way Smith used a phrase her countrymen and women have uttered for generations, she, along with Jaz and Rhye Jones, performed like countless Australians who have gone before her.
With undying determination the trio shone on the world stage and returned to Bundaberg with a dozen medals.
All the preparation they did to become world-class athletes had them ready to compete, but before a paddle was put in the water Smith got a boost of adrenalin that surged through her body to give her a lift when it was needed.
The opening ceremony was held at one of the natural wonders of the world and Smith said she loved the experience.
"The opening ceremony at Niagara Falls was amazing," Smith said.
"We walked up the headlands of Niagara with the thunderous roar behind us.
"The power was very inspiring and inspirational. Just to be in that setting and to compete was amazing."
Adding to the amazing memories created by Smith before the world titles started was what happened during the racing.
Smith brought four silver medals back to Bundaberg (500m mixed, 2000m mixed, 200m women's, 500m women's) and was motivated to get even better and have the chance to repeat the once-in-a-lifetime experience at the next world titles in two years.
What she felt off the water was matched on it and Smith said knowing she wouldn't paddle with the same crew again made the event more special.
"It was a bit of an eye opener to be there and against the world's best - you were in awe of every competitor," she said.
"Just to be in the team and to have all these like-minded athletes all competing for the one goal.
"I would never be with that group of people again."
Jaz Jones's medal haul was impressive and she too was looking forward to the next world titles. Jaz returned with a gold, three silver and a bronze.
The gold came in the 2000m women's race; the silvers in 2000m mixed, 500m mixed and 200m women's; her bronze was earned in the 500m women's race.
Rhye was the drummer for the Under-18 men's team and he earned three silver medals in a great performance.