Arata, rowing on a team of four with a coxswain, helped the U.S. team snag gold in a race that came down to mere seconds. Mailey, rowing for the second consecutive year on the Canadian team of eight with a coxswain, set the pace for a race that the team won handily.
The World Rowing Under 23 Championships are open to all World Rowing Federation member nations for rowers under the age of 23. The best university athletes are selected for the competition, which is held every two years, each year in a different city. This year’s races were in Poznan, Poland.
“Competing for our country, wearing red and white, and putting the maple leaves on our blades made me feel very patriotic and is an experience I will never forget,” said Mailey, a fourth-year business administration major. “That being said, I always felt pride putting on my Northeastern unisuit and racing with ladies that I went to school with for four years.”
In Mailey’s event, each of the eight rowers has one oar, so the whole team must work as a cohesive unit. Sitting in the seventh seat, Mailey was part of the “stern pair,” or the pair of rowers in the back that sets the rhythm for everyone else to follow.
Joe Wilhelm, the head coach of the women’s rowing team at Northeastern, said rowers who succeed at the highest level of competition must be born with the right physiology and have a strong work ethic.
“You have to be both psychologically and emotionally ready to reach the highest level,” he said. “And Madison has that.”
Mailey’s leadership pushed the Canadian team to finish the 2,000-meter race in 6:04.61, easily defending its 2017 world championship title.
“I really hope to inspire junior athletes to consider Northeastern, as it has given me such a strong foundation and a great opportunity for experience,” Mailey said.
Arata’s event came down to the wire. He was in a boat with three other rowers and a coxswain that trailed Italy’s team from the start. Steadily, however, the U.S. team narrowed Italy’s lead until, in the last third of the race, the Americans sprinted ahead. The time difference between the U.S. finish and Italy’s third-place finish was less than 3 seconds.
Wilhelm said both Mailey and Arata are poised to compete for spots to represent their countries in the 2020 Olympics.