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australian rowers profiles and history

Linda Skidmore

Yarra Yarra Rowing Club (VIC)

In retrospect, it wasn’t inevitable that Linda took up rowing.

She joined Yarra Yarra Rowing Club in October 1988, at the age of 14. At that time she was a keen swimmer, but found she could avoid Sunday morning church by going rowing with her Dad (Jim Skidmore, YYRC Club Patron). 

She had a very successful 12-year career in junior, under 23, and open-age crews, representing Victoria in the VIS Youth 4- in the summer of 1992 / 1993. She rowed in VIS Youth squads for several years in the Trans-Tasman series, and rowed with Australian representatives in the VIS Youth 4-.

After several years of training for and narrowly missing selection for the Australian team, she was burnt out. At the age of 26, she took a ten-year break from rowing. 

During this time she worked full-time in the fashion industry; played touch footy; ran the Great Wall of China half-marathon; competed in Olympic-distance triathlons; cycled; and took up surf-boat rowing. 

“Why did I say yes to the George Bass Surfboat Marathon?” she asked. “Stingers, tides, weather; but at least our boat had sliding seats. 192km, five days from Batemans Bay to Eden. Hard core.” 

The Head of the Yarra brought her back to rowing. One of the things she values most about rowing is the lifelong friendships she has made; and one of those friends visited from Canberra for HoY. After cycling the course alongside her friend’s boat, Linda promised to row HoY the following year. 

It felt like coming home.

Since returning to YYRC, Linda has represented Victoria in the WM8+, with a national win in Adelaide in 2014, and has built a career in coaching. She is now the Junior Coordinator at Genazzano, coaching Learn to Row, Junior and Intermediate squads. After some study in human movement and sport psychology, she really enjoys helping crews to prepare for racing, and to manage their emotions on the start line.

“Coming back to rowing, I have enjoyed the friendly rivalry as well as the community spirit and achieving my own goals,” she said. “Some of the funniest things in rowing have happened on start lines; water pistols and water bombs, even the very very serious crews getting involved.”

“And even the worst things, like narrowly missing out on the green-and-gold zootie, have taught me resilience and that every person’s contribution matters. Now I have a leadership role, I have learnt that you can’t please everybody, but that everybody has something valuable to offer.”

Alison Hallahan
September 2020

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