It was a busy day for rowers on Quidi Vidi Lake in St. John's on Monday, as the green flag was raised and regatta hopefuls got their boats back in the water for the first time since 2019.
Practices began this morning, and the regatta committee began their preliminary steps of bringing teams back to the pond; beginning with a traditional first-spin from the committee members at 6:15 a.m.
Committee president Brad Power called it a great morning to get back out on the water.
"It's just cool enough so that the rowers don't get too warm out in the boat," he said. "It's a beautiful day on Quidi Vidi Lake."
Crews were eager to return and resume their daily practice ahead of what they hope will be the first races after the cancellation of the 2020 Royal St. John's Regatta due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"They certainly were very excited this morning, because they were here on the dock ready to go 10 minutes in advance," Power said.
Power said the committee has implemented some new procedures to ensure the safety of the teams: all boats and life-jackets get cleaned after each use, rowers must assess themselves before using the facility, and hand-santizing and mask-wearing are enforced.
Great day on the water
The return of daily practices is only the first phase of the committee's return to rowing, with a decision on racing and time trials set for Phase 2.
Whether the regatta itself goes ahead, however, will be determined by public health restrictions and recommendations.
Jennifer Brown, among the first rowers to get on the pond this morning, said it felt great to be back.
"Actually getting in the boat and being able to row was a bit of a surreal feeling, but an amazing feeling," she said.
Though the new COVID-19 precautions are an adjustment, Brown said, once she and her crew are in the boat they're no issue.
"You're in that bubble of your crew, and that's who you're going to be with hopefully all summer," said Brown.
Brown said the precautions are a welcome solution for those who are just happy to be back on the water.
"The regatta committee has done a great job of providing that safety, and allowing us not to intermix with the other crews," she said.
"It went pretty smoothly this morning. It was great."