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This Is Cicely Madden

The Brown-educated oarswoman and former U23 national teamer invites us into her home club in Cambridge, MA

We love our friends. They are artists and adventurers, scholars and sportsmen, renegades and rogues.

Cicely Madden is a recent graduate of Brown University whose accomplishments in the sport of rowing include placing fourth in the 2016 and 2017 World Rowing Under 23 Championships, earning back-to-back silver medals for the USA at the Junior World Championships, and being selected as Brown’s NCAA Woman of the Year Award nominee. We photographed Cicely at Cambridge Rowing Club in Cambridge, MA and chatted about how she got her start in the sport and the best advice she's ever received.

Name: Cicely Madden
Age: 23
Education: Brown University    
Hometown: Weston, Ma

Rowing Blazers: Tell us a little about your rowing career.

Cicely Madden: I was first introduced to rowing when my older sister traded in her ballet slippers for an oar. Like any little sister, I wanted to follow in her footsteps and began rowing at Community Rowing Inc. I appreciated the teamwork and focus. Training with the Cambridge Boat Club masters in high school fueled my passion for sculling. My love for rowing carried over into my college career with Brown Women’s Crew under John and Phoebe Murphy. The program taught me how to be a tough racer. Collegiate highlights include the Ivy championships, NCAA’s and the U23 world championships.

RB: Favorite or biggest accomplishment so far?

CM: Racing for Cambridge Boat Club at the Head of The Charles 2018 in the Women’s Championship Single is one of my favorite races, not only because of the home course venue but also the third-place finish. This was my first race after graduating from Brown University in May so it was exciting to enter into the senior category post-collegiate.

RB: What are some of your hobbies when you're not rowing?

CM: I enjoy oil painting, skiing, and hiking.

RB: How often do you travel for rowing? Do you have a favorite place or travel story?

CM: Summer races have taken me to incredible places such as Trakai, Lithuania; Rotterdam, Netherlands; Plovdiv, Bulgaria, and Henley-on-Thames. Coaches and rowers from boathouses around the world are always welcoming and not enough can be said of their generosity. I love the sense of community that rowing offers. Rowers can be away from home, racing or training and always have a place to connect with people who share their passion.

RB: What's on your pre-race playlist?  

CM: Definitely Taylor Swift and Imagine Dragons.

RB: Any post-race rituals?

CM: I celebrate or reflect depending on the result and then it’s onward and upward.

RB: What is the best piece of advice you've ever received?

CM: Some of the best rowing advice I have received is not to focus on the end result or medals, but to focus on the race itself or more importantly, to just have fun.

RB: Are you currently training for any upcoming races?

CM: I am currently training for Senior Trials in April.

RB: Favorite book?

CM: The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

RB: Favorite movie?

CM: Anything James Bond.

Photos by Molly Kirk