Hi my name is Maddie Wanamaker and I can’t stop rowing. I’m in too deep. I’ve been keeping a blog about it since 2015, if that gives you a feel for my level of obsession.
I didn’t row in high school. There isn’t a competitive juniors program in Northeast Wisconsin, but my parents, who met rowing at Wisco, nudged me into considering doing crew in college.
I immediately knew I found my people when I walked into Wisconsin’s Porter Boathouse for the first time. Here were some unapologetically tall women who were buff and laughed a lot. Seemed like an ok crowd to kick it with.
Here’s a pic of how that turned out for me (I’m wearing the cat shirt). Squad goals achieved.
Rowing is great because it filters out those who can’t handle the grind that the sport demands. The kids mean mugging in this pic seem unassuming, but we’ve been through the ringer together. I’m constantly surrounded by tough people who will always find a way to get sh*t done on and off the water. It’s a good community to be a part of.
During the summer of 2016 I had the opportunity to further embed myself in that community by attending under 23 national team selection camp in Princeton. I met amazing people and did some crazy things. I lived my best-case-scenario plan of the summer and made the quad that got to represent the US at the World Championships in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.
We got last.
It was a huge bummer. I was ready to finish my senior year at Wisco and move on to the next chapter of my rowing life as a coach. I sat in on a class at the Institute for Rowing Leadership at CRI after the Head of the Charles and loved it. I was ready to pack up my things and move to Boston.
I realized that I just really, really love rowing. I seriously can’t stop. I just got past the point where I’m not the person that coaches pick apart on technique rows! So I looked into places where I could keep rowing. I pondered. I considered. I weighed the options and then I filled out the application for ARION Rowing Program.
I’m giving myself a year to see how it goes. If I am at the bottom of the national pack and it looks like I have no chance I’ll go to IRL in 2018. I honestly don’t know what will happen if it goes well. Tokyo 2020???
That’s the long and short of the rowing part of me.
ALSO. I am an aquarius, love cats, enjoy spending afternoons in art museums, am willing to pay extra to add bacon to a sandwich, believe in equal rights, claim moose as my spirit animal and can rant about almost anything.
Here’s a lil more shameless self-promotion if you want to know more about my life! Who doesn’t?!?!