Determined Sinéad Jennings pursuing her Olympic dream

If she and Claire Lambe finish in the top 11 at Aiguebelette they will have qualified for Rio

Sinead Jennings won silver in the Women’s Lightweight Single Sculls in 2008. Photograph: Inpho/Getty

Sinead Jennings won silver in the Women’s Lightweight Single Sculls in 2008. Photograph: Inpho/Getty

 
She’s a doctor, a mother-of -three, and a holder of a burning desire to get to the Olympic Games. Her husband, Sam Lynch, did it twice, early and late in his career; Sinéad Jennings is determined to do it nearing the end of hers.

Lynch has been “really, really supportive” Jennings says, and the family has moved to Cork, with Lynch, who is also a doctor, working in Cork University Hospital. Jennings returns to Limerick to work each Friday.

Child care is a logistical achievement, with grandparents playing an heroic role. Clodagh, the eldest girl is four (Molly is two and Hannah 13 months), and begins school just as her mother will be midway through her campaign in the World Rowing Championships in Aiguebelette in France.

A family

“We hoped to bring them all out, experience it as a family, but she would miss her first week (at school). So Sam will stay at home. He might be able to fly out for the finals.”

Aiguebelette is crucial, because if Jennings and her partner in the lightweight double, Claire Lambe, finish in the top 11 they will have qualified the boat for the Olympic Games.

The vibes are very good after a B Final win (seventh overall) at the World Cup in Lucerne, and Jennings, who was a world champion in the lightweight single in 2001 but could never gel perfectly in the Olympic-class double, says Ireland coach Don McLachlan “is the best doubles coach I’ve ever had”.

The 38-year-old is already looking at Rio and seeing “a really good chance of a medal”. To qualify she thinks they need to aim for “a medal or an A Final” in Aiguebelette.

The Ireland team will be named the weekend of August 15th. Three Ireland boats have a test race that day. The men’s lightweight pair, the women’s four and the lightweight single sculler Denise Walsh are all on track to travel but will have to prove themselves.

Ireland high performance director Morten Espersen has said that Ireland might send a heavyweight men’s crew to the Olympic Qualification Regatta in May in Lucerne. The Ireland double of Andrew Griffin and Sam McKeown impressed Espersen at the World Under-23 Championships. There will be a camp for heavyweights in Cork on the weekend of August 22nd.

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