Chiswick Girls Become National Schools Champions

Beating the best in the country in their double scull

Gigi Lynch and Xanni Von Guionneau

Tideway Scullers School

Sign up for our free weekly newsletter

Sports in Chiswick

Local girls, Gigi Lynch and Xanni Von Guionneau, from Tideway Scullers School in Chiswick have just become the National Schools Champions at J14 (Year 9) in their double scull, beating the best in the country.

Following their success at the National Junior Sculling Head where their quad scull took silver in their age group, despite having two crew members from the year below, they improved on that result by not only being selected for the Thames Downriver region, but by winning the Junior Inter-Regional Competition in the double scull.

With this win under their belts, they proceeded to train hard but approached the National Schools with some trepidation as, although they had raced previously at the National Rowing Centre at Holme Pierrepoint near Nottingham, the competition would be the best in the country.

Following qualification for the semi finals in a comfortable style, the girls ‘upped the anti’ in the semis and finished some distance ahead of the 2nd crew and way ahead of the rest of the field. The finals were a much closer run thing, but the girls raced a fantastic race to finish ahead of all competition.

Tideway Scullers had a presence in nearly all of the sculling finals at the National Schools regatta, and the Year 10 girls (WJ15) in quadruple scull raced to a fantastic 3rd place. Once again a superb result and a much improved placing from the National Junior Sculling Head and the Junior Inter-Regionals.

The TSS Junior squads have much depth at each age group, and have proved themselves serious contenders on the national stage, against the traditionally successful rowing schools such as Lady Eleanor Holles and Headington. The future is looking very bright for the girls at TSS.

Gigi said, “Winning the Junior Inter-regionals at Nottingham in March gave us valuable experience in the course and conditions but also put pressure on us to raise our game for the upcoming National Schools. We won easily in the heats and semi-final but the final proved to be extremely challenging and the win was very sweet.”

Xanni said, " It was by far the most nerve-racking event I've ever been to and waiting at the start for our time-trial was the worst part: there were 17 other doubles around us, with matching blades and all in ones. The time trial went smoothly; we kept a good rhythm and tried to conserve our energy, but apparently, we didn't need to, as all our nerves would translate into huge amounts of energy later!..

"The semi-final was a different matter altogether, with Headington ahead of us the whole way, and us just overtaking them at the end- the looks they gave us on the landing stage were enough to get us geared up for the final! We got boated behind Headington and rowed up to the start for the 3rd time that day, only to have to wait for ages as the J14 octos straightened up time and time again.

"When we finally reached our stake boat and everyone was lined up, the wind picked up we and we were off! Staying with the pack for the start was our plan and we managed to stick with it, until two other crews pulled ahead. At 500m to go, we were considerably behind Norwich RC and Headington and at 200m were started gaining on them... For the last 150m we were level and just before the finish line, we managed to pull ahead by half a length! Thankfully, this time we didn't crash into the prize-giving pontoon, as we did at Inter-regionals!"

Judith Behan
TSS Junior Coordinator

June 7, 2009