Nick Barry ’16

Rowing at Harvard University
How did Groton prepare you to row at the collegiate level?

Collegiate athletics today are characterized by a previously unseen level of polish. A typical student-athlete devotes years of his or her life to a sport before even donning a collegiate jersey. Collegiate rowing is no different from basketball or tennis in the sense that the transition from high school competition to collegiate competition brings about an immense change in the caliber of athlete.
Upon arriving at Harvard, I was surrounded by athletes with remarkable credentials: national team appearances, Olympic top-five finishes, and a wealth of experience. Having rowed at Groton, I had mostly competed in the spring season, meaning that I had far less experience than most of my teammates.  Although one might think—rather wishfully, I might add—that this allowed me to train with more intensity than my teammates and rivals at other schools who had been rowing year-round for more than five years, I quickly found this not to be the case. However, I have found that I had developed a tenacity at Groton that has allowed me to surpass my opposition in other ways. Our rowing program at Groton was heavily focused on internal development and was characterized by a can-do attitude. Without a massive team with many athletes to take our place, the onus was on the individual athletes to implement the coaches’ changes if we wanted results on the water.

Rowing is a sport that rewards technical changes, and I found that my experience at Groton made it easy to internalize the coaching that I received and reflect necessary changes on the water, allowing me to vastly improve as an athlete in a very short period of time. Although my technique and fitness might be different from how it was in Fifth or Sixth Form, I have maintained my focus on bearing the burden of my own development with the tenacity that I found on the Nashua River.

What was your favorite memory of your Groton athletic career?
Without question, my favorite memory came in the spring of my Fifth Form year, when our varsity boats swept top-ranked Belmont Hill on the Charles River for the first time in nearly twenty years. I had just been moved up to the first boat that week, so the Belmont Hill race was my first in the top boat at Groton. We came into the race as massive underdogs and with a completely new lineup. My boat ultimately won our race by a decisive margin, and we were greeted at the finish line by the stunned faces of several Belmont Hill rowers who had never lost a race before that afternoon.

What advice would you give to kids seeking to participate in college athletics?
College athletics are demanding. Sometimes even the most talented athletes fail to reach their full potential because of a lack of resolve. My advice would be to surround yourself with individuals and institutions that align that resolve with their very mission. I was able to find a community like this at Groton.
List a summary of your athletic accomplishments while at Groton (i.e: All-ISL, your captaincies, Prize Day awards, etc.), and any current acknowledgements (athlete of the week, academic honors, committees, other extracurriculars, etc) at your current school, or as many as you can remember.
Athletic Accomplishments while at Groton:
Five varsity letters
Crew and cross-country captain
Won 2015 NEIRA Overall Points Trophy
Athletic Accomplishments while at Harvard:
Winner of 2017 Jope Cup (Ivy League points trophy for lightweight rowing)
2017 Second-Team All-Ivy recognition
Rowed in first boat for all races, earning a varsity letter for racing Yale in the varsity boat

Nick's Harvard athletic profile