She admits that she didn’t always look forward to going to the boathouse. Rowing is a sport that tests grit and toughness. “The mental challenges this sport puts us through is like no other. There were times where I wanted to quit or stop, or maybe just even rest but I think it was having the support of friends and teammates that kept my there. I wouldn’t want to go back and change a thing. I do feel honored to have had the opportunity to be stronger because of SRA not just physically but also emotionally,” Barry explained.
One of her favorite memories came after a particularly tough point. She and her boat were getting ready for the Portland Fall Classic and were feeling pessimistic about how they might place. Just the weekend before they had a poor performance at the Head of the Charles Regatta, and one of their main competitors, Green Lake, had placed top ten at the Charles. Barry remembers her coach, Kelley Pope, urging them to forget about the race results of the prior weekend and to focus on what laid ahead. Pope knew they had a tough challenge ahead but encouraged them to rise to the occasion.
Barry reflected on that day’s results, “I think looking back at it now she taught us all we can’t change the past so don’t worry about it, just look to what is ahead. She said along the lines ‘If you’re going to do something today, surprise me.’ We all sat with this thought in our head up to the race line and we laughed about how true those words were and decided to race with a “you only live once” mentality. We ended up beating Green Lake that day. I think we ended up surprising ourselves more than anything.
As an involved student Barry had plenty of extracurriculars to draw on for personal growth. She served as orchestra president, was a member of the DECA Executive Board at her high school, worked at a YMCA, and volunteered with the Mountain to Sound Greenway. Despite all those other areas of involvement, Barry credits rowing with the most personal growth. “Rowing has giving me strength and confidence. I think mentally it has given me a drive no other sport could offer. In academics it actually boosted my GPA senior year because it kept me on task with having such a loaded schedule and it’s given me the opportunity for higher education.”
Now at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, Barry continues to row. She has been loving her experience as a D1 athlete. She said, “College is insane with rowing to put it simply. I don’t think this should scare anyone from trying it in college though. Its given me lifelong friends and I’m a D1 athlete which was kind of my childhood dream. I’ve been given a lot of opportunity with academics too through rowing. I get a lot of help with tutoring and applying for classes. Also, it’s a huge honor to represent your school with sports.”
Her offered piece of advice? “The secret to surviving rowing is... after a crazy hard practice you go buy a bag of Hostess doughnuts and eat all of them.” Great advice from a great SRA alumni. SRA wishes the best to Anna as she continues her studies and stays devoted to the sport of rowing- making a point of giving back to the community that has given her so much.