Northeastern senior Madison Mailey stroking the Husky Varsity 8+ at the 2017 NCAA Championships
This week's row2k Interview is with Northeastern senior rower Madison Mailey, who came to the Huskies from British Columbia and won the W8+ event at the 2017 U23 World Championships.
row2k - How did you get your start in rowing?
Madison Mailey - I started rowing in Grade 8. It was 2009, and I was thirteen years old. At that time, I had been spending about fifteen hours a week on dance and vocal studies, so my family encouraged me to get outdoors on a school team. I took their advice and followed in my older brother’s footsteps, joining West Vancouver’s Collingwood School Rowing Team. Rodger Wright was the school head, Chris Jacoby and Dave Poole were our coaches, and our crew was small but mighty! We were all taught to scull in Deep Cove, BC, and raced at many regattas including Shawinigan Lake School Regatta and Brentwood College Regatta. My most memorable race from Collingwood was winning the Junior Women’s 2x with Annabel Irwin at the CSSRA’s in 2012.
After Grade 10, I joined the Burnaby Lake Rowing Club. Our coach Cinda Ewton really helped me improve my sculling technique, and I gained valuable regatta experience. The highlight of my final two years of high school rowing was qualifying for the Canadian Junior National Team on the CANAMEX crew in 2013, and again in 2014. Both years of competing against the US and Mexico we were extremely successful, and it was a sweet way to finish off my junior rowing years.
row2k - You’re now a senior at Northeastern, how did you end up in Boston from BC?
Madison Mailey - I’ve lived in Boston, MA for the last four years attending Northeastern University. NU was not originally on my college radar, but I am so happy with my decision in every respect... athletically, academically, socially and as an individual who wished to live in a city with incredible natural beauty, rich in history and in the arts. Nothing beats learning and living on this urban campus, and rowing on the Charles River!
How I got to Boston is quite a surprise! As a high school senior, I raced at the 2013 Head of the Charles Regatta the month before the NCAA Signing Week. A commentator met my parents and suggested we go meet “Joe”! So, just hours before our flight departed to Vancouver we dashed over to the campus. Needless to say, I returned to Boston two weeks later on an “official” and really connected with Coaches Joe Wilhelm and Andrew Weiler. I left knowing I had a difficult decision to make (as my other offers were to leading schools in NC and CA), but I chose from my heart, and now I am so glad I did. Joe and Andrew have been incredible coaches for my athletic development over the last four years. In addition, Adrienne Martelli (two-time US Olympian) joined our coaching staff last year and has been such an inspiration to me and my fellow Huskies.
row2k - You had successful summer last year with the Canadian U23 Team, including winning gold in the women’s eight. Tell us a little bit about how that regatta went.
Madison Mailey - This summer was incredible to say the least! I was successful on the world stage with a group of determined, strong women who are now my best friends. Immediately after the 2017 NCCAs, I flew to London, Ontario for five arduous weeks of selection and training. The U23 Team then flew to Greece to acclimate to the weather and the time zone before heading to Bulgaria.
Once we got to Plovdiv I was immediately in love with the course and the country itself. It was so interesting to listen to all of the coxswains speaking in different languages during practices and to meet athletes with the same interests as me from all around the world. The 2017 Under-23 World Championships ran from July 19 to 23, with eight nations competing in the women’s rowing eight division. We went into our heat not knowing exactly what to expect, but trusted in our conditioning and kept our heads in the boat. It was only after the race, in fact, when we got to the dock that our coach announced that we broke the world record U23 time.
Mailey (front center) and the CAN W8+ on podium at 2017 U23 World Championships
After coming off the high of the heat we knew we had to get our focus back for the final. We all had the right mentality, the conditions were perfect, we stuck to our race plan, trusted our coxswain and it worked! It was a race I will never forget and can’t thank my coaches Lesley Thompson Willie, and Dave Thompson, and teammates enough for making the experience possible.
row2k - What did you learn at U23s that will help in your senior season this year?
Madison Mailey - I learned so much during my time trying out, training, and competing with the Canadian U23 team. Specifically, I learned that it is all about keeping a healthy mindset and pushing yourself in the sport of rowing. It is very easy to get caught up in the results of every workout, but if you do that you will make yourself go crazy! Understanding you will have days where you do not perform as well as others is all a part of athletic development and growth. Being surrounded by Olympians and other extremely successful athletes really helped to push me this summer, and I hope that I can help inspire other people on my team this year. From a racing stand point, one of the most important things I learned was how imperative it is to have a race plan that works for all nine people in the boat.
I am very excited for our spring season this year. I can honestly say that I love being on the Northeastern Women’s crew, and will miss my teammates and specifically the other seniors and my captains next year. We have a great team chemistry where everyone is competitive but extremely supportive which I think will lead us to success.
row2k - You’re also taking classes at the New England Conservatory, what are you studying there and how does that impact your school and training at Northeastern?
Madison Mailey - I started studying classical voice when I was ten years old. My grandfather was a big inspiration in my life due to his passion in music (and was my piano accompanist for all recordings and competitions until I left for college). I knew when I left Vancouver that I wanted to keep music a part of my life so I applied for the Joint Certificate Program between Northeastern and the New England Conservatory of Music. In December when I graduate, accompanying my NU BSBA will be my NEC certificate of Merit in Music Performance. I believe that this program has helped me become a better rower… which may seem silly because it does take up time and impact my sleep schedule. However, music brings me happiness and is a tremendous emotional release.
row2k - What are you studying at Northeastern and do you have any plans yet for after college?
Madison Mailey - I am in the D’Amore McKim School of Business and am pursuing a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Business Management and Entrepreneurship. I finished a Co-op during my time here at NU and worked for Charles River Associates' Boston office in the Human Capital Division from July to December 2016.
After college I hope to train with the Canadian National Team if the opportunity presents itself, and then pursue a career in the investment industry. I am pretty excited for my future on and off the water.