Selkirk rower Maddie Arlett just missed out on a medal at the World Under-23 Rowing Championships when competing in Plovdiv, Bulgaria, at the weekend.
The 21-year-old Edinburgh University student and her GB teammates came second in Thursday mornings heat, putting them straight through to Saturday’s A Final.
“If somebody told me at the start of the year I would be racing for GB at the Under-23 World Championships I would have never believed them,” she said.
“I felt strong going into the first race. I had no expectations and didn’t underestimate any crew around me. All I know is that my crew is hard as nails and we have worked hard to get where we are. I trust them all with my life.”
A product of Selkirk High School, Maddie only took up rowing after attending the university as a sports science student, but has been making waves since. One of her most recent endeavours saw her and her team take the honours in the elite lightweight quad section at Henley Women’s Regatta.
Following their heat last Thursday, the GB team qualified in fifth position and with the other women’s heat being faster, Maddie and her team knew they would have to fight hard if they wanted to challenge for a place in Saturday’s final.
“The fear for me was mostly based around the feeling that I knew I would have to push myself over and above any physical limit I have reached in my time rowing,” she confided.
“To race amongst the best in the world means there is no other option but to do that.
“We knew we had a lot of work to do in the final on Saturday, but I was willing to go to that unknown physical limit. I was thinking to myself, ‘If not now, when is right?’”
And push herself she did – the quad of Arlett, Ellie Lewis, Flo Pickles and Lucy Cruxton finished just outside the medals, in fourth place, in their final.
Italy were clear winners after a powerful performance, but the British crew were in touch with Germany and France throughout in the battle for the podium places.
They were closing in on third place around the 1,250m mark, but France responded to the threat and went on to pip Germany to silver, with the British crew fourth in 6:56.08.
“Looking back at the race, if we were to do it again there was nothing we would have done differently,” said Maddie.
“We didn’t get the result we wanted, but we put everything into it and weren’t quite quick enough on the day.”
Maddie arrived back in Scotland on Tuesday and will now take time out to “chill” before starting back at training in November.
She has been overwhelmed by the interest that has been shown in her progress back home and is now aiming to push herself further with a view to selection for the 2020 Olympics.
“I appreciate all of the support I have been getting back home. It means a lot to me,” she added.
The local rowing star still has next year at Under-23 level – definitely one to keep an eye on.