Madison Mailey from Lions Bay and Team Canada’s U23 rowing team have once again taken the world championships in the women’s 8. This year’s win in Poznan, Poland, was a podium repeat of last year’s world championships in Plovdiv, Bulgaria.
In their heat, Canada recorded the overall fastest time. But in the final competition, the United States took an early lead with the Canadian team following behind them in second place. It wasn’t until the third 500 metres that the Canadians picked up their speed and were able to overtake the U.S. team. They defended their 2017 world championship title with a time of 6:04.61, just a few seconds behind their world record last year of 06:00.130. In the end, the U.S. team dropped to third place with the Netherlands taking the second spot.
“Since last year we had set our goal to come back stronger as a group,” Mailey said in an email interview. “Throughout the year, we made improvements individually and were then able to make huge strides during our month together. I rowed with some of my best friends who are all amazing athletes and it is incredible to see all our hard work come together.”
Mailey said the team, with eight rowers and a coxswain, had a “game plan” and they knew if they stayed strong mentally and stuck to this plan, it would work.
“There was not a point in the race that I didn’t trust the other eight girls in my boat and that gave me all the confidence in the world that we could be victorious,” she added.
Mailey started with the Canadian junior development team in 2013/14, and she has been rowing with the U23 team for the last two years. She was recently chosen for the senior national rowing team, and she hopes to be training with them starting in January.
Mailey started rowing at the Deep Cove Rowing Club nine years ago, but after two years, when she was in Grade 11, she started with the Burnaby Lake Rowing Club. It was her coach Cinda Ewton in Burnaby who helped her get connected with Rowing Canada.
At the Burnaby Lake club, Mailey rowed by herself as a single, but later, as a junior, she rowed as a sculler, that is, using two oars.
At Northeastern University, where Mailey is on a rowing scholarship, she learned to sweep, that is, to row with just one oar and since then she has mainly rowed in crew boats.
Being a rower takes “dedication, resilience and the ability to process and push through pain,” Mailey said. Getting first to the finish line is important, but to succeed, a rower has to be detail-oriented.
“Rowing is about 70 per cent legs and as a rower you need to have a lot of explosive power and be able to push through high levels of lactic acid pumping through your veins,” Mailey said. She added that nothing in the sport of rowing is comfortable, “and if it is, you know you are doing it wrong.”
Mailey, 21, is a native of Lions Bay and a Collingwood School graduate. She is currently attending Northeastern University in Boston, Mass., on a full athletic scholarship. In addition to studying entrepreneurship and management in the D’Amore McKim School of Business at Northeastern, Mailey is studying classical voice, a joint certificate program with Northeastern and the New England Conservatory of Music.