Rowing for gold

She was a triple champion two weeks ago – now she has a Maadi medal in her sights.

“Getting three gold medals in a regatta’s pretty unheard of, so we were ecstatic with that,” said Peyton Barnard, who won gold for St Peter’s Cambridge in the U17 girls’ double, coxed quad and eight events at the North Island Secondary School Rowing Championships at Lake Karāpiro on earlier this month.

St Peter’s Cambridge’s girls U17 eight crew members celebrate their win at the Aon North Island Secondary School Rowing Championships at Lake Karāpiro. They are (from left) Brooke Weir, Olivia Henry, Sophie Hunter, Kellee Cryer, Molly McClintock, Peyton Barnard, Maia Calcinai, Charlise Davison, cox Letizia Hay and coach Kaylin Wren. Photo: Victoria Whitfield.

The 17-year-old can’t wait to test her skills  at the New Zealand Secondary School Rowing Championships in Twizel from March 18-23.

“I don’t know what the Olympics feels like to Olympians, but I feel like the Maadi Cup’s what it feels like to a high school rower,” said Peyton, who has lived in Cambridge all her life. It’s the biggest thing, it’s the only thing; you work for eight months just for this one regatta really.”

She has  been getting up at 4.30am to train at Lake Karāpiro four and five times a week this season, as well as hitting the gym.

“When I’m with the girls on the water I love it… and crossing the line and winning a medal is one of the best feelings I’ve ever felt,” she said.

“It’s a really cool place to be because everyone’s in the same boat; everyone’s worked all these hours and everyone wants to show what they’ve got out there,” Peyton said.

“My favourite thing about Maadi is the atmosphere; it’s such an amazing place to be.  I love watching the final eights races at the end of the regatta, with 2-3000 people all screaming at the top of their lungs.”

Well aware of how hard it is to achieve a Maadi medal, she would love to bring one home.

“It would be massive,” she said.

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