Sian Reynolds

LLB Law. Class of 2002. Sailor. Solicitor.

What made you choose Swansea University for your studies?

When I was looking at Universities, I knew I would pick a prestigious university, but it was paramount that I felt safe and loved the place where I was to spend 3 years studying.

I grew up in Cardiff and my parents used to take me and my brother on day trips to Swansea as young children to visit the Marina, and the swimming pool (it has a tidal wave machine and hydro slide which was quite the attraction in the 1980’s!). I then spent a lot of time in Mumbles competing at sailing events and loved the outdoor lifestyle Swansea offered.

Swansea University has a great reputation and when I visited during an open day, I was not disappointed! I loved the campus, with the law facility, library, sports facilities and beach being so close.

Swansea is still my favourite place in the world!

"I have so many fond memories of studying at Swansea University, and it’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made."

Do you remember any advice, experience or role models from your time at Swansea University that have stayed with you throughout your career?

I think role models were everywhere at Swansea University.

Stan Addicott – was amazing. He was in charge of the sports scholars and was such a supportive, positive and wise person. I never wanted to let him down, but at the same time, I was never under any pressure, as he only ever wanted you to be the best you could be.

Ruth Costigan is beyond incredible. She is so passionate and knowledgeable and has a naturally relaxed and unstuffy teaching approach. She is really engaging and such an asset.

I have so many fond memories of studying at Swansea University, and it’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Swansea is one big happy supportive community and it set me up for life. I made lifelong friends and memories to last a lifetime!

Can you tell us a little bit about your sporting achievements

I am fortunate in that I was selected to represent Wales and Great Britain (GB) at sailing for over 15 years.

I have won many Welsh National sailing events, won the Nations Cup, and captained the Welsh National Sailing Team and even the Swansea University Sailing Team!

Having sailed competitively for many years, there are quite a few achievements that I am proud of, including:

• Coming in the top 9 in three World Championships (1st Girl);⁣
• Finishing 2nd at the GB Women’s Match Racing Championships;⁣
• Finishing 2nd at the GB Women’s Keel Boat Championships;⁣
• Being selected for Team GB at the Commodores Cup;⁣
• Winning Cowes Week;⁣

One achievement and experience that I will never forget, is when I took part in an around the world yacht race, where we came third overall!

Have you always had a passion for law? Where did your interest come from? 

I have always had a driving passion for kindness, being fair and helping others. My parents raised me to work hard so I suppose my natural attributes made my journey to becoming a lawyer quite a natural one.

Tell us a little bit about your career

I have been qualified as a solicitor for 15 years now. I’ve worked for international and national law firms and dealt with high-value complex commercial property transactions.

I was shortlisted for Young Solicitor of the Year (Wales) 2004/5 and I have also been recommended in The Legal 500 for the past two years, due to the calibre of work I have been undertaking.

I also captained the Law Society Sailing Team in 2008.

"As long as I am trying my best and giving back, I am happy."

Sian Reynolds - Toe in the Water

Tell us about your biggest success so far

That's hard to answer! The around the world yacht race was beyond incredible, but when I walk past sailing trophies in the house and they all make me smile too. Whether it’s a world championship, national trophy or the trophy for winning the sailing series at my local club (yes I am still racing), they all hold such fond memories for me and I cherish them all.

I think because I am so passionate about giving back, one of my greatest successes would have to be the seven years I spent as part of the core crew for a sailing initiative called Toe in the Water. It was a tough selection policy and I put my own sailing on the back burner for the seven years I devoted to the initiate, but it was an honour to train and compete with injured servicemen and women at competitive sailing events.

We did not adapt the boats in any way and the injured servicemen competed against teams of able bodies sailors.

I had the pleasure of meeting some incredible people and some of the injured service men and women have gone on to become Paralympic sailors. Being able to give back to the men and women who have given so much to our country, by sharing my passion for competitive sailing with them, was such a privilege.

As long as I am trying my best and giving back, I am happy.

What is the most rewarding aspect of your role?

Helping people achieve their commercial goals, and finding solutions to complex commercial and legal matters.

What is next for you? 

I passed my RYA Sailing Judge exam at the beginning of the year, so I am looking forward to returning to international sailing competitions as a sailing judge.

For the past three years, I have been the South Wales Regional Ambassador for RYA Cymru Wales (RYA CW) Only Girls Afloat project. Through the project, we hope to engage with and encourage more women and girls to take up sailing. I relish being able to share the passion I have for sailing with others and helping them access a sport, which I hope they will enjoy and continue. I have a lot more work to do with this project and I look forward to building on the progress we have made so far. I am also on the Board of Directors and the Performance Committee for RYA CW, so helping the association navigate through COVID, and bringing on the next generation of performance sailors, is top of my agenda.

I am also on the Board of Directors and the Performance Committee for RYA CW, so helping the association navigate through COVID, and bringing on the next generation of performance sailors, is top of my agenda.

On a more personal level, I still race competitively and love it. I plan to do some more sailing competitions and offshore sailing when the COVID restrictions ease.

I have a small yacht so I will spend my summer evenings sailing that single-handedly (with my dog!). I cannot imagine a day when I am not sailing.

Who is your inspiration?

Tracy Edwards, who skippered Maiden in the Whitbread Round the World Yacht Race 1989/90, is certainly one. Maiden made history, as they were the first all-female crew to circumnavigate the globe. They came second overall in class and finished as the best British boat in the race since 1977. As a child, watching this incredible achievement was not lost on me, but recently a film has been released about the race and seeing it again through the eyes of a woman has added so much more depth to the story. Tracy has recently set up the Maiden Project, which works with community projects all over the world to empower and enable girls into education. Her passion to give back and share the magic of the legendary Maiden team in such a positive way just continues to inspire me.

Michelle Obama also inspires me, for her positive and astute approach to many of the issues facing our world right now.

Then there are my family and friends. They are all so supportive and inspiring. I consider myself blessed to have so many wonderful people in my life.