SELKIRK rowing sensation Maddie Arlett is hoping to make inroads into the GB senior team when Caversham hosts the GB Rowing Team Senior & Under 23 trials this month.
The two times GB World Championships rower only took up the sport when she left home to start a degree at the University of Edinburgh.
But the highly ambitious 22-year-old progressed quickly and made the GB under 23 team for the last two World Championships.
This month the on-the-water part of the lengthy trials process reach the final stages at the Berkshire venue and Arlett is ready for the task after making progress this winter.
She said: “All training has gone to plan and I’ve definitely made improvements both physically and on the water.
“At the first trials I got a PB on the 2k on the rowing machine and did well on the water.
“Then I did extra winter trials in December which were a few 2ks and I did better than I thought I would there, so it was really positive.”
This season is different in one major respect as Arlett has moved up to senior level.
Although she is studying part time, allowing her to accumulate as many as 14 training sessions every week, her main rivals for a place on the GB team are all full time athletes.
She added: “Going for the senior team is the same process but I’m competing against girls who train full time in the squad.
“Usually at under 23 level everyone is at university still and we are still on the same playing field.
“So now is a big step up and it’s about beginning to close the gap on the girls in the squad.”
One year through her Masters degree in Strength and Conditioning, Arlett is amongst one of 150 students supported by Winning Students, Scotland’s national sports scholarships programme for student athletes.
Through the programme she receives funding support and the academic flexibility required to perform at the highest level in sport and studies.
A total of 18 Scottish universities and 25 colleges form the Winning Students network. Students at network colleges and universities benefit from a dedicated co-ordinator to ensure they can balance their studies and sport effectively.
Maddie will be joined at the final trials by six fellow University of Edinburgh, Winning Student-supported athletes.
Josh Armstrong, Matt Curtis, Gavin Horsburgh, Calum Irvine, James Temple and Oli Wilkes are all part of a 10-strong Scottish Rowing team, which will travel to the trials with the financial backing of Winning Students and for the first time with the additional support of an exercise physiologist and physiotherapist from the sportscotland institute of sport.
“Winning Students allows me to go to Strathclyde Park every week to train and go to competitions down in England to show my face more,” said Arlett.
“Without that financial support I definitely wouldn’t be able to do what I do, so it’s really helpful.
“This season all depends on these trials.
"If I can reduce the gap on the senior girls that would be great but I would love to do more than that.
“There are three World Cups leading into a senior World Championships, so it would be great to try and get my foot in and go and compete in at least one World Cup.”