When Maddie Arlett and two Scottish companions were selected last week for their first senior World Rowing Championships, it was a defining moment, not only for them but also the Edinburgh University programme which helped develop them.
There was already a hint that Maddie, from Selkirk, might be included in the GB rowing team headed for Sarasota-Bradenton in Florida next month (September 24-October 1).
Along with close friend, Robyn Hart-Winks (24), of Kirriemuir, she made her senior debut this summer as part of Britain’s silver medal winning women’s lightweight quad at World Cup 2 in Lucerne.
But, now the ladies know they’ve made it on to the plane to the USA, they believes they’re capable of medalling. They will join forces in the women’s lightweight quadruple scull at the world championships.
Maddie (23) only started rowing when she began studying at Edinburgh.
Understandably, was thrilled to be chosen for the senior world event.
“To achieve something I thought was slightly beyond my capabilities is an amazing feeling,” she said.
“My family will be travelling to Florida to watch, which makes it even more special. I am honoured to be representing my country but my ultimate dream is to be standing on top of the podium and hear our national anthem playing loudly.
“Dream big, train smart and dig deep.”
Since its beginnings, the Edinburgh University programme has developed quickly, becoming Scotland’s first GB High Performance Programme in 2015, and a go-to rowing university for students north and south of the border.
“This is a fantastic milestone reached, both for these young athletes and our rowing programme,” said Edinburgh University head coach, Colin Williamson. “We have been working over the past four years to build a system which allows any young athletes with the necessary drive to fulfil their potential in the sport, including if they come to us as complete beginners, as was the case with Robyn and Maddie.”