LINDSEY MAGUIRE, named last week in the crew for the British Olympic rowing eight, is simply adding a further chapter to a remarkable family sports history.

Based at Wallingford, near Oxford, she is seen as a shining example of the GB rowing scouting system, but much of it was in the Edinburgh woman's genes.

It's 42 years since her mother, the teenage Moira Walls, won Commonwealth bronze for Scotland in the long jump. Mum was a multiple Scottish champion, as was her father, Kevin, while her sister Kirsty (another multiple national title-winner) pole vaulted in the Commonwealth Games. Her grandfather, Ian Walls, a celebrated horticulturalist, was a record-breaking cyclist until into his seventies.

Maguire has been selected in a Team GB squad of 10 from which the Olympic eight will be chosen. She has been in Britain's world championship eight for the past three years, taking bronze last year in Slovenia. She holds World Cup gold, silver, and bronze medals, the most recent being third in this year's Belgrade World Cup. She has also won European silver and bronze in the eight.

Maguire was a regular athletics medallist and internationalist in Scottish age-group events during her teens, and when she won the Scottish Schools pentathlon title in 1996, her name joined that of her mother, inscribed on the same trophy some three decades earlier.

But when Maguire grew dramatically, she suffered ankle problems and stress fractures, and drifted out of athletics. At university in Birmingham it seemed a high-level sport career was over as she turned to recreational basketball. "It was fun, and satisfying," she says. Such fun, in fact that she resisted approaches from rowing talent scouts.

Despite these modest beginings, she is now, at 30, following in the footsteps of her mother who competed in the high jump at the Montreal Olympics in 1976.

Modest is the operative word. "Mum and dad's athletics was not a huge topic of conversation at home," she says. "I never even knew she'd beaten the Olympic champion until now."

Maguire holds a first in maths and psychology, but her life changed dramatically during her masters degree at Durham. Her height – almost 6ft 2in – and prowess in the weights room, had rowing talent scouts salivating as they tried to tempt her to take an ergometer test. "I'd played about in a boat at freshers fair, because friends were doing it. I said I wasn't about to give up basketball and commit to a single sport, but eventually I gave in."

That was in 2004. Test results were away above average and she was promoted to the World Class Start programme.

She made the GB A squad soon after the Beijing Olympics, and has been on lottery funding since 2009 as a full-time oarswoman.

"Mum kept asking when I'd get a proper job. I was lucky to get a good part-time one, but you are not the first to ask why a woman with a first wants to spend years in a boat. Actually, it's pretty cerebral."

Citing her fellow Scot Katherine Grainger, the multiple Olympic medallist who has an honours degree, a masters, and is heading for a PhD, she observes: "A lot of very bright people row. It is very satisfying, and the more you get into it, the more intellectually stimulating it becomes. You realise technically there is a lot more to making a boat go faster.

"Katherine is an inspiration to everyone in the squad: a lovely person, approachable and helpful." Maguire is coy about prospects of making the final crew. A stroke of masterful creative friction means two of the 10 will ultimately be reserves. "We probably won't know until we are on the starting line," admits Lindsey.

However, she has no doubt that the GB eight is capable of winning. "We were third last year behind the US and Canada at the worlds, but are certainly capable of taking gold. We did not put all the bits together correctly then, but our crew is stronger now, and can improve a lot."

Maguire's mother, Moira, was by any standards Scotland's most precocious and prodigious female athletics talent approaching the 1970 Commonwealth Games. The previous year, while still a Glasgow schoolgirl, she had won the senior hurdles, high jump and long jump at the Scottish championships. She finished ninth in the senior European Championship long jump in Athens that year. Selected for three events at the European juniors in Paris, she opted for the long jump and won silver. But perhaps her greatest achievement that year was victory in a GB international at Crystal Palace where she beat the Romanian Viorica Viscopoleanu, the 1968 Olympic long jump champion and world record-holder. In Bucharest, Moira jumped 6.43 metres, which would have been a Scottish record, but it remained unratified because of a faulty wind gauge. Small wonder that Moira Walls shared the podium with golfer Bernard Gallacher at the 1969 Scottish sports personality of the year awards.

She also competed in the 1976 Olympic high jump: "I was a bit over-awed by the scale of it," she recalls, and won high jump bronze at the 1970 Commonwealth Games. She was also in a medal position in the pentathlon in Edinburgh but slipped to fourth, and had the frustration of knowing that her pentathlon long jump, had she replicated it in the individual event, would have taken another bronze.

"I achieved the pentathlon standard for the 1980 Olympics, but got injured while training in Arizona," she told me. Typically, she omitted to add that her qualifying total surpassed any of the GB trio in Moscow.

Maguire's best high jump came after the birth of her second daughter and she was still in contention for a Los Angeles place in 1984.

She set Scottish senior high jump records over three decades, the first aged just 15 (1.62m). She was first Scottish woman over six feet and when she quit had increased it to 1.87m. More than a quarter of a century after retiring, she is still third on the national all-time list, fourth in the long jump, and remains the only Scottish woman ever to win a a Commonwealth Games jumps medal. The pentathlon record she set was never beaten, surviving until the event was extended from five events to seven.

She remains active in the sport, as chair of the Scottish track and field commission. Like her husband, retired PE teacher Kevin, she still coaches. All three women on the high jump podium at the Scottish championships last weekend were coached by the Edinburgh languages teacher at one time or another.

Kevin was Scottish high jump and decathlon champion. He steered daughter Kirsty to the Scottish pole vault record and a Commonwealth Games place. A paediatric surgeon, Kirsty had to undergo heart surgery last year, but does not rule out trying for the 2014 team.

The family sports affair shows no sign of cooling. Lindsey's boyfriend, Duncan, is the brother of athlete Hannah England, world 1500m silver medallist last year and leading contender for an Olympic track place.

Maguire's mother admits to having had a ferociously competitive instinct. "In fact, I tried desperately not to communicate it to the girls," says Moira. "I was always asking if they'd enjoyed their day, never how they'd got on, so they'd be sure I was not obsessed with winning," she said yesterday.

"Well she sure fooled us," laughs Lindsey. " 'As long as you enjoyed yourself, that's fine'. She always seemed pretty laid back."

We suspect that may be different come the Olympic regatta at Eton Dorney.