Maddie O'Brien Recruited by Columbia After Rowing Less Than a Year

Meet Maddie O'Brien, Captain of the 2015-16 Columbia Women's Rowing Team.  

When did you hear about crew? Did you row in high school?
A family friend said I should look into rowing. I didn't start rowing until the end of my junior year, after being recruited for volleyball didn't work out.

When did you start thinking about being recruited to row in college?
Immediately. The whole purpose of me starting to row was so I could play a D1 sport.

How did you feel about the recruitment process?
It was much easier than volleyball. However, it was stressful sometimes being forced to make decisions that could affect the rest of my life.

When did you know for sure you were coming to Columbia?
At the end of my visit I knew that I needed to spend four years at this amazing place. I officially was accepted in December and received a likely letter in November.

What has your experience been like as a recruited athlete at Columbia? Incredible. I have grown so much as an individual. My perception of hard work has been completely altered.

How have you interacted with recruits since you’ve been at Columbia?
My best friends are recruited athletes. I have so much respect for them. However, I have even more respect for walk on athletes who got in on their own!

What advice would you have for high schoolers who are interested in rowing/being recruited at the Collegiate level?
Never give up. If you want something don't stop until you get it. If you let one coach telling you 'no' get you down, then you won't ever make it. Rowing is a numbers game and if you don't have the numbers change that! Rowing is incredible because as much as it is a team sport on the water, on the erg everything is in your control. Whoever can handle the most pain wins. So win.

Mitchell Broadwater
Mitchell Broadwater


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