“IT has been a fairytale ride - they just did not get to kiss the prince this time!” said Olympic women’s eight rower Tess Gerrand’s mum, Daintry, after the team could manage only a valiant last in the event final in London.
“What a day it has been here - the W8+ girls are disappointed not to have managed to have taken out a bronze or fourth or fifth place,” Daintry Gerrand, of Johns River, told the Courier.
“They were so close to having beaten Great Britain - having beaten them in two out of three races.
“The wind was not a help to our girls, who by the flip of a coin ended up with the most exposed lane - getting almost blown out of their lane not long after start by a gust of wind.
“They did however row the best race of their short time together - sixth in the world ain’t that bad!!!
“A very courageous effort from an inspiring group of young ladies,” a proud Mrs Gerrand said.
The team’s last placing in the final at Eton Dorney was a repeat of their performance at the Beijing Olympics.
Having secured a place in the Games only two months ago, the eight was thought to have an outside chance for a medal and at the very least the rowers were keen to hold off the British eight again.
However the home crew passed Australia at the finish line, gaining the upper hand by nine-hundredths of a second, in a race in which the dominant US team took out the gold.
The Australians were fourth after 500 metres and fifth at the next two stages, only losing that placing in the final strokes.
The team drew the worst lane, stroke Phoebe Stanley said.
“It was tough. The conditions were very blowy on that side and we did everything we could.’’
Phoebe, 26, urged schoolgirl rowers in Australia to take some inspiration from what her crew had achieved.
“I hope Rowing Australia keeps their eyes open and keeps the women’s team as full as the men’s,” she said.
“I suppose by making our crew a bit more of a public topic there are girls who will see a future in trying to row for their country.’’
Tess’ mother Daintry said the lead up to qualifying for the Olympics had been a roller coaster for
She praised her daughter’s dedication.
“We are very proud of Tess’ achievements and commitment. We are also intensely aware of the hard work that has gone into this level of achievement over 10 years - from junior high school, through year 11 and 12 and a four-year Yale University degree - juggling training and study.
“Since 2010 she has been working to pay the bills and training intensively - she was not part of the Australian Institute of Sport until she was named in the team in late May, 2012.”
Tess, daughter of Daintry and Ian, started her rowing career with Manning River Rowing Club.
“As a Schoolgirl she was National Single Scull and Double Scull Champion in the Under 17’s and Under 19’s and as part of Pymble Ladies College 8+ won the Schoolgirl 8+ two years running,” said Mrs Gerrand.
She went on to Yale University in the USA to study Liberal Arts majoring in economics. At Yale Tess helped the Varsity 8 win the National Collegiate Championships three out of four years, along with winning two World Championships at the Boston ‘Crash B’s’ World Indoor Rowing Championships. Tess returned to Australia in 2010 to row with Sydney Rowing Club.