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Humber Valley women’s rowing crew on a mission at Royal St. John’s Regatta

Members of the Barry Group women’s rowing team out of the Humber Valley Rowing Club, with coxswain Jeff Griffin, pose for a team photo on Quidi Vidi Lake in St. John’s after the Time Trials for the 2017 Royal St. John’s Regatta last month. Team members include, from front, Sarah Rowe, Meaghan Brown, Katie Allen, Jessica Johnson, Stephanie Brake and Amy Barry.
Members of the Barry Group women’s rowing team out of the Humber Valley Rowing Club, with coxswain Jeff Griffin, pose for a team photo on Quidi Vidi Lake in St. John’s after the Time Trials for the 2017 Royal St. John’s Regatta last month. Team members include, from front, Sarah Rowe, Meaghan Brown, Katie Allen, Jessica Johnson, Stephanie Brake and Amy Barry.

Amy Barry believes she’s more mentally prepared for this year’s St. John’s Regatta because the crew has already been in the spotlight on Quidi Vidi Lake, but she knows it won’t be a walk in the park to pull off a repeat.

Barry is a member of the Barry Group women’s rowing team out of the Humber Valley Rowing Club who won gold in the City of St. John’s women’s labour race at the 2016 Royal St. John’s Regatta in an impressive showing by a team that only had one year on the water before taking on the big guns.

The crew is back again this year with one slight change as spare Katie Alteen now has her own seat in the boat after Sara Squires couldn’t commit this season because of work commitments out of town.

The girls had a chance to get in a practice run Monday in a boat unfamiliar to them and Barry liked how things went so she’s heading into this year’s event with optimism.

The crew will be competing in the VOCM women’s commercial race this year, moving up from the seventh race on the schedule to the fifth. scheduled to get underway today at 10:40 a.m. at Quidi Vidi. The crew, which will hit the water today for a 10:40 a.m. start, posted the fastest time of the five boats in the commercial race at the Time Trials two weeks ago so Barry’s Group will take their position in Stake 1 for the race.

The goal for the race is to finish in six minutes, but Barry said there are a number of teams who were very close to them during the trials so it should prove to be an interesting showdown.

“I think it’s going to be a tight race, but we will see how we do,” she said.

The crew has had to punch a lot of time on the water this summer to get them ready for the next challenge for a team that hopes to be one of the best in the province sooner rather than later as they set lofty goals from the start of last season.

There has been some challenges as the girls had to work out their schedules to be together as much as possible and some of the girls had busy summers lending a helping hand to the sport in an executive capacity, but Barry believes the team is ready to hit the water with winning foremost on their mind.

Everybody has pushed each other to be better and all hands have bought in, according to Barry, who said she expects the adrenaline will eventually kick in and help the team find its way to the finish line.

“We’re definitely as prepared as we can be at this stage,” she said.

Coxswain Jeff Griffin likes how his crew has stayed focused on team goals and put in the work they knew had to be put in if they want to be among the best rowing crews in the province.

When Griffin got the boat in the water last summer the girls agreed to set goals. They wanted to get better every year with the hopes of being a serious contender for bragging rights in the championship race for the 2018 Regatta — which marks the 200th anniversary of the event.

It appears the team is heading in the right direction and doing it much faster than Griffin had envisioned so he admits expectations are high among the group.

“The girls have worked really hard and we put in a lot of time in the boat,” he said. “So after seeing what we’re capable after last year expectations are that we’re hoping to win. We’re prepared and looking forward to it. We can’t wait.”

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