Row, John, Row!

| 12 Jul 2012 | 11:48

WEST MILFORD — John Madura of West Milford recently graduated from Worcester Polytechnic Institute, but he didn't have much time to bask in the glow of receiving his degree. That's because Madura, who graduated West Milford High School in 2008, is currently in Trakai, Lithuania competing in the World Under 23 Championships, representing the United States in the men's double sculls rowing competition.

The championships began on Wednesday, July 11, and continue through Sunday, July 15. The Under 23 US Rowing Team is considered a precursor to future Olympic team membership.

The road to a championship Madura's road to represent the USA in rowing began with four years of collegiate rowing for Worcester Polytechnic Institute from 2008 to 2012.

He started rowing as a freshman at WPI and when he returned home the following summer, he learned how to scull with the Highlands Rowing Center on the Monksville Reservoir. He continued to row throughout college and set many training records at WPI.

“John has a natural ability and the physical capability to go very far in this sport,” said Highlands Rowing Center coach Jeff Friedrichs, “With dedication and hard work, he could become an elite rower.”

Madura is the son of Edward and Nancy Madura and brother of Kevin of Upper Greenwood Lake.

His rowing career accomplishments include a fourth place collegiate 8 finish in 2009 at the Head of the Charles Regatta, a 2012 third place Men's 8 at the New England Rowing Championships, a 2010 first place collegiate 4 at Head of the Charles Regatta, and being named to the 2010-2012 ECAC All-Academic Rowing Team.

In international competition, along with the Head of the Charles Regatta, Madura has made the grand finals in the Canadian Henley as well as rowing in the Royal Henley Regatta in England with WPI Rowing.

Originated in 1965, the Head of the Charles Regatta draws the world's best crew teams to the bank of the Charles River for a two-day rowing competition. The event attracts over 9,000 athletes and 300,000 spectators.

Madura was accepted into US Rowing's 2012 Scull Camp held at Maritime Boat Club in Norwalk, Conn., with his rowing partner, Matthew Schanck of Northeastern University. They qualified for the Under 23 US National Team during the trials held June 25 to 27 in the Men's Double Scull.

On June 29, in West Windsor, N.J. at Lake Mercer, Madura was one of the four athletes crowned as the 2012 Elite National Champions in Men's Quad Sculls.

Champions need funding Amateur athletics at this level is not a cheap venture and is self-funded for the most part. Madura and Schanck look to their friends, families and communities for donations for the trip to Lithuania. The cost of equipment, traveling, and coaching is significant. Team fees for Lithuania are $1500 and does not include travel expenses. Highlands Rowing Center has committed to support Madura and has set up the “RowJohnRow” account to accept donations towards his expenses. To make a tax-deductible donation to RowJohnRow, visit the Web site or mail your check, made out to Highlands Rowing Center, 118 Wayside Road, Hewitt, NJ 07421.

For more information on the Highlands Rowing Center, email or go to the Web site. To follow Madura's progress, go to