DRAGON Ladies – including three Stratford paddlers from the same family – became national champions after the play-off finals in Liverpool.
Four wins in their six matches in the final round of the GB Ladies Division One was enough to secure the title at South Collingwood Dock.
The team features three Stratford canoeists – Nicole Brain, 21, who works as swim manager at the leisure centre, her 17-year-old sister Danielle, an A-Level student at King Edward VI School and their mother Tina, who works for the district council.
The other members of the team come from South Wales – Louise Saxon, her sister Amy and Bethany Littlewood.
Dragon Ladies defeated Dufbra (8-1), Aberfan (8-0), Avon (8-1) and Viking (9-1) but lost to Scottish team Scarlet (2-0) and Kent-based Meridian, whose 5-2 victory secured runners-up spot and both Dragon and Meridian earned places in the European Club Championships in Hungary later this year.
Dragon men needed two wins to avoid demotion to Division Two but won five of the six they played on the Saturday.
The team, which included Stratford-based ex-Olympic canoe slalom paddler Chris Arrowsmith, a support specialist with IBM, ended the season in fifth place.