Tyndale Christian School's students have scored a valuable win against their teachers on the waters of the River Murray.
A boatload of pupils whooped and hollered as their dragon boat crossed an invisible finish line, a length and a half clear of another boat filled with staff members, at Mannum on Thursday.
The day was low on formalities – the two teams raced over about 250 metres, measured between a stand of trees and a clearing on the far side of the river, having only picked up their oars for the first time that morning.
But the stakes were high after a recent shellacking the teachers gave the students on the football field.
By the time the boats were pulled out of the water and the marquees were packed up, there were smiles on faces – and that had been the ultimate aim.
The day's events were organised by year 12 student Esther Gutteridge as part of her integrated learning subject.
She obtained consents for all the teenagers who took part, helped rope in the Lions who cooked lunch, liaised with the Mannum Paddle Steamers Dragon Boat Club and Mid Murray Council, and even secured clearance from the Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure to close the river to traffic.
Dragon boater Colleen Walker invited students to join the Mannum club, and members of Adelaide Survivors Abreast, another dragon boating club, also spoke to them on the day.
Teacher Tim Howard said he hoped the school's students would return for an annual dragon boat race day, perhaps around April or May.